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Technical Debt Reduction Using a Game Theoretic Competitive Source Control Approach

The management of technical debt and the use of productivity games are important aspects of developing software projects. A productivity game was created in the form of a competitive source control plug-in that rewards technical debt-reducing actions. The plug-in was tested by simulating source control usage with in a small sample project. Analysis showed that the plug-in appropriately assigned scores to developers for debt-reducing and debt-increasing actions. The plug-in has potential practical applications in the management of technical debt in workplace environments. The approach described in this paper is promising, and in future work we plan to test the Build Game plug-in with a wider variety of existing and simulated projects. Additional research is also planned to investigate the impact of the Build Game plug-in on workplace productivity.


S. Morrison-Smith, C. Marmon, S. Dighans, T. Daniels, C. Izurieta, Technical Debt Reduction Using a Game Theoretic Competitive Source Control Approach, Highlighted in the Council on Undergraduate Research, CUR Journal, Winter 2012, Vol 33, No 2.