Tech Debt Tracking


Provide a basic policy for tracking and being able to reference tech debt related changes in TripleO.

Problem Description

During the development of TripleO, sometimes tech debt is acquired due to time or resource constraints that may exist. Without a solid way of tracking when we intentially add tech debt, it is hard to quantify how much tech debt is being self inflicted. Additionally tech debt gets lost in the code and without a way to remember where we left it, it is almost impossible to remember when and where we need to go back to fix some known issues.

Proposed Change

Tracking Code Tech Debt with Bugs

Intentionally created tech debt items should have a bug [1] created with the tech-debt tag added to it. Additionally the commit message of the change should reference this tech-debt bug and if possible a comment should be added into the code referencing who put it in there.

Example Commit Message:

Always exit 0 because foo is currently broken

We need to always exit 0 because the foo process eroneously returns
42. A bug has been reported upstream but we are not sure when it
will be addressed.

Related-Bug: #1234567

Example Comment:

# TODO(aschultz): We need this because the world is falling apart LP#1234567
foo || exit 0

Triaging Bugs as Tech Debt

If an end user reports a bug that we know is a tech debt item, the person triaging the bug should add the tech-debt tag to the bug.

Reporting Tech Debt

With the tech-debt tag on bugs, we should be able to keep a running track of the bugs we have labeled and should report on this every release milestone to see trends around how much is being added and when. As part of our triaging of bugs, we should strive to add net-zero tech-debt bugs each major release if possible.


We continue to not track any of these things and continue to rely on developers to remember when they add code and circle back around to fix it themselves or when other developers find the issue and remove it.


Core reviewers should request that any tech debt be appropriately tracked and feel free to -1 any patches that are adding tech debt without proper attribution.


Primary author:




Work Items

  • aschultz to create tech-debt tag in Launchpad.


Revision History


Release Name





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