Monthly Archives: June 2016

Agile Alliance – Technical Debt Initiative workshop

Do you remember this post ‘Agile Alliance Technical Debt Initiative‘ I did  in April, in order to announce the publication of some deliverables or our group? Well, we had our 2016 workshop last week, and this has been both a great event as a productive work for some promising outcomes this year.

Let me first remind you about the Agile Alliance Technical Debt Initiative: you will find everything on the corresponding page on the  Agile Alliance website:

What, did I forget to tell you that our workshop took place in Madrid? Nice place for our three days meeting and some very creative exchanges.

Modeling the Technical Debt

I will not list everything we did and what we plan to work on in 2016, but we got some interesting presentation from Declan about System archetypes and another presentation from Dan about some works he did in this area. The idea is to identify patterns in the creation of technical debt and its evolution, based not only on theory but also on practical field experiences.

Thierry is working on a dynamic modeling of technical debt, where I see a lot of potential. Imagine being able to use a tool to evaluate the impact of your technical debt by changing settings and configuration in order to adapt it to your context, your project, your Agile practices, etc. This would make technical debt visible to your organization, and help understand how it may evolve in the short and long term, depending on the decisions you take to manage it.

MadriAgil meetup

We took advantage of our presence in the Spanish capital to organize an event with MadriAgil. Jean-Louis did a short presentation of our group, the objectives, the work already done and Tom presented some slides about technical debt.

MeetupMadriAgil_TomThen we quickly moved to a session of the Dice of Debt game, forming teams of four players who had to decide a strategy to deal with technical debt.

MeetupMadriAgil_DiceofDebtEverybody did enjoy it, lot of fun, and the feedback was really great.

MeetupMadrAgil_FeedbackThis was also a good opportunity for our group to learn some lessons:

  • On the almost 40 participants, a good proportion of them was attending for the first time an Agile meetup: technical debt is a subject which interests and attracts, probably because it is a real concern for many people.
  • Declan asked to everyone to evaluate how bad is the technical debt on their project, on a scale from 1 (good) to 5 (very bad): a majority of 3 and 4.


  • Maybe up to 80% of the participants were using Scrum practices on their project. This makes me think that there is some room for some operational ‘how-to’ manage technical debt on Agile projects.

We were all really enthusiastic after this event, and we hope that we will be able to hold it again, with other Agile communities in other cities.

There is also some work going on for an online version of the Dice of Debt game. And to create an online quizz to allow everybody to have a self-assessment of his knowledge about technical debt. There should be also a webinar, maybe more than one as there is so much to say on the subject.

It was great to meet again for this workshop, as everything cannot always be done with Hangouts, so let me finish with a photo of our group:

Agile Alliance Technical Debt Initiative Workshop – Madrid 2016

Workshop Madrid2016

Dan Sturtevant, Jean-Pierre Fayolle, Thierry Coq, Jean-Louis Letouzey, Declan Whelan, Tom Grant