Date of Conferral



Doctor of Information Technology (D.I.T.)


Information Systems and Technology


Jon McKeeby


Inadequate software development collaboration processes can allow technical debt to accumulate increasing future maintenance costs and the chance of system failures. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore collaboration strategies software development leaders use to reduce the amount of technical debt created by software developers. The study population was software development leaders experienced with collaboration and technical debt at a large health care provider in the state of California. The data collection process included interviews with 8 software development leaders and reviewing 19 organizational documents relating to software development methods. The extended technology acceptance model was used as the conceptual framework to better understand the social and cognitive influences on the perceived usefulness of collaboration in reducing technical debt. An inductive analysis of the data was used for coding, triangulation, and identifying themes related to the use of collaboration strategies to reduce technical debt. Prominent themes included using collaboration at all stages of development, using continuous verification processes, promoting a participatory culture, and using tools to support distributed teams. The study findings showed an environment that promotes collaboration, a culture that encourages participation, and accessibility to collaborative tools that may reduce technical debt in software projects. The results of this study may contribute to positive social change by demonstrating how individuals with diverse backgrounds and different perspectives can work together to improve critical software that people depend on every day.