I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Commonwealth University, where I lead the Technical Debt Research Team, and a member of the Computer Science Graduate Program at Salvador University, Brazil. Previously, I was a visiting assistant professor at the University of University of Maryland Baltimore County and a visiting researcher at Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering, Maryland, from November 2011 to July 2012. I completed my PhD work at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
My general research interests lie in the areas of Technical Debt in Software Projects and Empirical Software Engineering. My research focuses on topics including: technical debt management, software quality assurance, software evolution, and software engineering education.
In 2021, I was cited by a study published in the Journal of Systems & Software as one of the Top 10 Most Impactful Software Engineering Researchers at the consolidators level. Also, I received the Research Productivity Distinction Grant from the Brazilian National Research Council, an award given to the most productive researchers in their research areas in Brazil.
Industry Expertise (3)
Areas of Expertise (5)
Empirical Software Engineering
Top 10 Most Impactful Software Engineering Researchers at the Consolidators Level (professional)
I was mentioned in 2021 by a study published in the Journal of Systems & Software as one of the Top 10 Most Impactful Software Engineering Researchers at the Consolidators Level.
CNPq Researcher Level 2 (professional)
In 2021, I received the Research Productivity Distinction Grant from the Brazilian National Research Council, an award given to the most productive researchers in their areas in Brazil.
David A. Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (professional)
IN 2019, I received the David A. Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. This award recognizes the trajectory of faculty members in the field of excellence and innovation in higher education teaching. Annually, only five professors from the Laureate Universities network (composed of around 25 institutions spread worldwide and 10,000 teachers) have their accomplishments awarded.
University of Maryland Baltimore County: Pos Doc, Software Engineering 2012
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro: Ph.D., Software and System Engineering 2010
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro: Master, Software and System Engineering 2004
Salvador University: Bachelor, Computer Science 2001
Selected Articles (5)
Prevalence, Common Causes and Effects of Technical Debt: Results from a Family of Surveys with the IT IndustryJournal of Systems and Software
R. RAMAC, V. MANDIC, N. TAUSAN, N. RIOS, S. FREIRE, B. PEREZ, C. CASTELLANOS, D. CORREAL, A. PACHECO, G. LOPEZ, C. IZURIETA, C. SEAMAN, AND R. SPÍNOLA
Context: The technical debt (TD) metaphor describes actions made during various stages of software development that lead to a more costly future regarding system maintenance and evolution. According to recent studies, on average 25% of development effort is spent, i.e. wasted, on TD caused issues in software development organizations. However, further research is needed to investigate the relations between various software development activities and TD. Objective: The objective of this study is twofold. First, to get empirical insight on the understanding and the use of the TD concept in the IT industry. Second, to contribute towards precise conceptualization of the TD concept through analysis of causes and effects. Method: In order to address the research objective a family of surveys was designed as a part of an international initiative that congregates researchers from 12 countries—InsighTD. At country level, national teams ran survey replications with industry practitioners from the respective countries. Results: In total 653 valid responses were collected from 6 countries. Regarding the prevalence of the TD concept 22% of practitioners have only theoretical knowledge about it, and 47% have some practical experiences with TD identification or management. Further analysis indicated that senior practitioners who work in larger organizations, larger teams, and on larger systems are more likely to be experienced with TD management. Time pressure or deadlinewas the single most cited cause of TD. Regarding the effects of TD: delivery delay, low maintainability, and rework were the most cited. Conclusion: InsighTD is the first family of surveys on technical debt in software engineering. It provided a methodological framework that allowed multiple replication teams to conduct research activities and to contribute to a single dataset. Future work will focus on more specific aspects of TD management.
Pitfalls and Solutions for Technical Debt Management in Agile Software ProjectsIEEE Software
FREIRE, SAVIO ; RIOS, NICOLLI, PEREZ, BORIS ; CASTELLANOS, CAMILO ; CORREAL, DARIO; RAMAC, R.; TAUSAN, N.; MANDIC, V.; PACHECO, A.; LOPEZ, G.; MENDONCA, MANOEL ; IZURIETA, CLEMENTE ; FALESSI, DAVIDE ; SEAMAN, CAROLYN B. ; and SPINOLA, RODRIGO
This article presents technical debt (TD) impediments, decision factors, enabling practices, and actions diagrams for TD management in agile software projects. By analyzing diagrams, professionals can avoid the pitfalls, and increase their capacity, for better TD management.
The practitioners' point of view on the concept of technical debt and its causes and consequences: a design for a global family of industrial surveys and its first results from BrazilEmpirical Software Engineering
RIOS, N. ; MENDONCA, M. ; SEAMAN, C. ; SPÍNOLA, R. O.
Context: Studying the causes of technical debt (TD) could aid in TD prevention, thus easing the job of TD management. On the other hand, better understanding of the effects of TD could also aid in TD management by facilitating more informed decisions about incurring and paying off debt. Objective: Create a deeper understanding, and confirming existing evidence, of the causes and effects of TD by collecting new evidence from real-world TD examples. Method: InsighTD is a globally distributed family of industrial surveys on the causes and effects of TD. It is designed to run as a large-scale study based on continuous and independent replications in different countries. The survey instrument asks practitioners to describe in detail a real example of TD from their experience. We present in this paper the design of InsighTD, which has the primary goal of replication at a large-scale, with the results of the study in Brazil as a small part of the larger puzzle. Results: The first iteration of the InsighTD survey, carried out in Brazil, yielded 107 responses. We identified a total of 78 causes and 66 effects, which confirm and also extend the current knowledge on causes and effects of TD. Then, we organized the identified set of causes and effects in probabilistic cause-effect diagrams. The proposed diagrams highlight the causes that can most contribute to the occurrence of TD as well as the most common effects that occur as a result of debt. Conclusion: We intend to reduce the problem of isolated TD investigations that are not yet representative and build a continuous and generalizable empirical basis for understanding practical problems and challenges of TD.
Status Quo in Requirements Engineering: A Theory and a Global Family of SurveysACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology
WAGNER, Stefan ; GREER, DESMOND ; LASSENIUS, CASPER ; MÄNNISTÖ, TOMI ; NAYEBI, MALEKNAZ ; OIVO, MARKKU ; PENZENSTADLER, BIRGIT ; PRIKLADNICKI, Rafael ; RUHE, GUENTHER ; SCHEKELMANN, ANDRÉ ; SEN, SAGAR ; FERNÁNDEZ, DANIEL MÉNDEZ ; SPÍNOLA, RODRIGO ; TUZCU, AHMED ; VARA, JOSE LUIS DE LA ; WINKLER, DIETMAR ; FELDERER, MICHAEL ; VETRÒ, ANTONIO ; KALINOWSKI, MARCOS ; WIERINGA, ROEL ; PFAHL, DIETMAR ; CONTE, TAYANA ; CHRISTIANSSON, MARIE-THERESE
Requirements Engineering (RE) has established itself as a software engineering discipline over the past decades. While researchers have been investigating the RE discipline with a plethora of empirical studies, attempts to systematically derive an empirical theory in context of the RE discipline have just recently been started. However, such a theory is needed if we are to define and motivate guidance in performing high quality RE research and practice. We aim at providing an empirical and externally valid foundation for a theory of RE practice, which helps software engineers establish effective and efficient RE processes in a problem-driven manner. We designed a survey instrument and an engineer-focused theory that was first piloted in Germany and, after making substantial modifications, has now been replicated in 10 countries worldwide. We have a theory in the form of a set of propositions inferred from our experiences and available studies, as well as the results from our pilot study in Germany. We evaluate the propositions with bootstrapped confidence intervals and derive potential explanations for the propositions. In this article, we report on the design of the family of surveys, its underlying theory, and the full results obtained from the replication studies conducted in 10 countries with participants from 228 organisations. Our results represent a substantial step forward towards developing an empirical theory of RE practice. The results reveal, for example, that there are no strong differences between organisations in different countries and regions, that interviews, facilitated meetings and prototyping are the most used elicitation techniques, that requirements are often documented textually, that traces between requirements and code or design documents are common, that requirements specifications themselves are rarely changed and that requirements engineering (process) improvement endeavours are mostly internally driven. Our study establishes a theory that can be used as starting point for many further studies for more detailed investigations. Practitioners can use the results as theory-supported guidance on selecting suitable RE methods and techniques.
Identification and management of technical debt: A systematic mapping studyInformation and Software Technology
ALVES, NICOLLI S.R. ; MENDES, THIAGO S. ; DE MENDONÇA, MANOEL G. ; SPÍNOLA, RODRIGO O. ; SHULL, FORREST ; SEAMAN, CAROLYN
Context: The technical debt metaphor describes the effect of immature artifacts on software maintenance that bring a short-term benefit to the project in terms of increased productivity and lower cost, but that may have to be paid off with interest later. Much research has been performed to propose mechanisms to identify debt and decide the most appropriate moment to pay it off. It is important to investigate the current state of the art in order to provide both researchers and practitioners with information that enables further research activities as well as technical debt management in practice. Objective: This paper has the following goals: to characterize the types of technical debt, identify indicators that can be used to find technical debt, identify management strategies, understand the maturity level of each proposal, and identify what visualization techniques have been proposed to support technical debt identification and management activities. Method: A systematic mapping study was performed based on a set of three research questions. In total, 100 studies, dated from 2010 to 2014, were evaluated. Results: We proposed an initial taxonomy of technical debt types, created a list of indicators that have been proposed to identify technical debt, identified the existing management strategies, and analyzed the current state of art on technical debt, identifying topics where new research efforts can be invested. Conclusion: The results of this mapping study can help to identify points that still require further investigation in technical debt research.