Searching for Build Debt: Experiences Managing Technical Debt at Google
Abstract: With a large and rapidly changing codebase, Google software
engineers are constantly paying interest on various forms of technical debt. Google
engineers also make efforts to pay down that debt, whether through special Fixit days,
or via dedicated teams, variously known as janitors, cultivators, or demolition
experts. We describe several related efforts to measure and pay down technical debt
found in Google's BUILD files and associated dead code. We address debt found in
dependency specifications, unbuildable targets, and unnecessary command line flags.
These efforts often expose other forms of technical debt that must first be managed.