University Students Collaborate with ESC Architects
Vol.8 Issue 4
Technical Debt diagram chart

Enterprise Architects from the Enterprise Services Center (ESC) teamed up with Capstone students from the University of Oklahoma’s (OU) Price School of Business Management Information Systems (MIS) last semester. The objective of the OU Capstone project was to provide analysis for IT technical debt. The research goals involved identifying technical debt, understanding how organizations manage technical debt, and exploring solutions that are available to manage technical debt. The scope was focused primarily on federal government systems however, some commercial systems were also considered.

The OU Capstone team examined three types of technical debt:

  • Deliberate debt - which is intentionally incurred to reduce time to market knowing that it must be reassessed in the future.

  • Accidental/outdated debt - which is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) update where custom modifications must be refactored.

  • Bit Rot debt - which is a system that slowly devolves into unnecessary complexity through many incremental changes.

Students in a classroom environment

This topic attracted so much interest from the OU teams that Dr. Bob Beatty coordinated with ESC Architects to form two different teams for research and analysis. Team 1 included Drake Detar, James Casey, Eliezer Wong, Anna Dowhower, Daniel Riecke and Dean Nerebeew. Team 2 included Grace Dennis, Brandon Pham, Caroline Dykstra, Johnny Domingo and Lane Sizemore. Findings from both teams were presented December 2, 2021.

The OU teams provided research, interviews, and reports on technical debt in various businesses situations using different types of software, discussing the challenges faced with technical debt and insight on how many people manage it.

Thanks to the research efforts from the University of Oklahoma students, the ESC will continue to be proactive in identifying and managing technical debt, utilizing the information collected and presented by the OU Capstone teams.

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