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Understanding and Supporting Knowledge Management in Agile Software Development
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
2019 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

 Background. Agile Software Development (ASD) promises agility and flexibility in dealing with uncertainty by prioritizing interaction between people supported by informal communication and knowledge sharing. The lack of practices to manage the knowledge as a resource might jeopardize the application of knowledge in the production of goods and service. The utilization of Knowledge Management (KM) strategies can significantly support achieving and sustaining competitive advantage and brings several benefits to software development. However, how to manage knowledge in ASD is still not well understood or investigated.

 Objectives. The main objective of this thesis is to contribute to the software engineering field by providing a different perspective on directions that KM can take to improve knowledge-based resource (KBR) management in ASD. The detailed objectives are: (i) Understand the current ASD environment regarding KM; (ii) Identify KBRs in ASD and its implications for KM; and (iii) Provide an initial set of variables to evaluate knowledge criticality of knowledge items in ASD.

 Method. We used a mixed-methods approach to address the objective of this thesis. The methods selected to conduct the studies include systematic literature review, grounded theory, and improvement case study. The data collection comprised a literature review, semi-structured interviews, and practitioners’ feedback through static validation.

 Results. From our SLR we observed that that KM strategies in ASD promote mainly knowledge transfer through practices that stimulate social interaction to share tacit knowledge in the project layer, increasing the risk of losing knowledge by keeping the knowledge localized inside a few individual’s minds. When it comes to coordination, practitioners utilize KBRs in their routines, through social collaboration within teams’ environment/settings. However, this process is nonsystematic, which brings inefficiency to KBR utilization resulting in knowledge loss. It can generate negative implications to the course of the software development, including meaningless searches in databases, frustration because of recurrent problems, and unawareness of knowledge sources. To support decision making related to knowledge retention, we have developed an initial version of the method to evaluate the criticality (KCEM) of a knowledge item, which is divided into two categories, relevance, and scarcity.

 Conclusion. The current results of this thesis are of particular interest. However, we recognize that the work is unfinished. As a complement to this thesis, we have planned our long-term objective, which is to contribute to creating scalable KM solutions for companies adopting ASD.We divide this long-term objective into three studies: Carry out a complementary study to apply KCEM in different companies; explore efficient ways of storing codified knowledge in combination with the KCEM, and investigate how to define metrics to evaluate the outcomes of KM practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2019. , p. 144
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 10
Keywords [en]
Knowledge Management, Agile Software Development, Knowledge resource
National Category
Computer Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-18509ISBN: 978-91-7295-380-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-18509DiVA, id: diva2:1340069
Presentation
2019-09-11, Karlskrona, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
S.E.R.T.E.R.T. Research ProfileAvailable from: 2019-08-02 Created: 2019-08-01 Last updated: 2019-09-03Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Knowledge Management Strategies and Processes in Agile Software Development: A Systematic Literature Review
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Knowledge Management Strategies and Processes in Agile Software Development: A Systematic Literature Review
2019 (English)In: International journal of software engineering and knowledge engineering, ISSN 0218-1940, Vol. 29, no 3, p. 345-380Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Knowledge-intensive companies that adopt Agile Software Development (ASD) relay on efficient implementation of Knowledge Management (KM) strategies to promotes different Knowledge Processes (KPs) to gain competitive advantage. This study aims to explore how companies that adopt ASD implement KM strategies utilizing practices that promote the KPs in the different organizational layers. Through a systematic literature review, we analyzed 32 primary studies, selected by automated search and snowballing in the extant literature. To analyze the data, we applied narrative synthesis. Most of the identified KM practices implement personalization strategies (81 %), supported by codification (19 %). Our review shows that the primary studies do not report KM practices in the strategic layer and two of them in the product portfolio layer; on the other hand, in the project layer, the studies report 33 practices that implement personalization strategy, and seven practices that implement codification. KM strategies in ASD promote mainly the knowledge transfer process with practices that stimulate social interaction to share tacit knowledge in the project layer. As a result of using informal communication, a significant amount of knowledge can be lost or not properly transferred to other individuals and, instead of propagating the knowledge, it remains inside a few individuals minds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
World Scientific, 2019
Keywords
knowledge management, agile software development
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-17336 (URN)10.1142/S0218194019500153 (DOI)000462508200002 ()
Available from: 2018-11-26 Created: 2018-11-26 Last updated: 2019-08-01Bibliographically approved
2. Thinking strategically about knowledge management in agile software development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Thinking strategically about knowledge management in agile software development
2018 (English)In: Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Springer Verlag , 2018, Vol. Code 221089, p. 389-395Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Agile methodologies gave teams more autonomy regarding planning tasks and executing them. As a result, coordination gets more flexible, but much relevant knowledge remains undocumented and inside teams’ borders, due to informal communication and reduced development documentation. Since knowledge plays an essential role in software development, it is important to have effective knowledge management (KM) practices that contribute to a better knowledge resource allocation. Several KM practices have been reported in empirical studies in Agile Software Development (ASD). However, these practices are not evaluated regarding its effectiveness or how do they affect product quality. Besides, the studies do not demonstrate connections between the KM practices in the project level and the strategic level. The lack of connection between these levels can result in deviations from the company’s corporate strategy, wasted resources and irrelevant knowledge acquisition. This paper discusses how the strategic management can contribute to an integrated approach to KM in ASD; considering the organizational structure and the corporate strategy. Based on this discussion, we propose research areas that may help with planning KM strategies that can have their effectiveness measured and contribute to product quality. © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Verlag, 2018
Series
Lecture Notes in Computer Science, ISSN 0302-9743
Keywords
Agile Software Development, Knowledge Management, Product quality, Human resource management, Mergers and acquisitions, Process engineering, Quality control, Agile Methodologies, Corporate strategies, Empirical studies, Informal communication, Integrated approach, Organizational structures, Strategic management, Software design
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-17420 (URN)10.1007/978-3-030-03673-7_30 (DOI)2-s2.0-85057217498 (Scopus ID)9783030036720 (ISBN)
Conference
19th International Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement, PROFES 2018; Wolfsburg; Germany; 28 November 2018 through 30 November 2018
Available from: 2018-12-13 Created: 2018-12-13 Last updated: 2019-08-01Bibliographically approved
3. A Method to Evaluate Knowledge Resources in Agile Software Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Method to Evaluate Knowledge Resources in Agile Software Development
Show others...
2019 (English)In: Proceeding of The ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement ESEM 2019, IEEE, 2019Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: Organizations adopting Agile Software Development (ASD) use different Knowledge Management (KM) practices to retain and share knowledge. However, it is often the case that knowledge retention is carried out in an ad-hoc way.

Aims: In this study, we report our experience from proposing the Knowledge Critically Evaluation Method (KCEM) to evaluate knowledge items (KIT). Our main goal with KCEMs is to support companies to systematically retain knowledge in ASD contexts.

Method: We conducted an improvement case study to develop and evaluate KCEM. This research follows the guidelines for technology transfer between industry and academia. The case and unit of analysis is Ericsson, a Swedish company that develops telecommunication solutions.

Results: In this paper, we provide initial results of both lab and static validation, enriched by the lessons learned.

Conclusions: The preliminary results show that KCEM is easy to understand and use, provides a different perspective on the KIT by visualizing in the criticality chart, and reduces the level of abstraction associated to a knowledge subject area.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE, 2019
Keywords
Agile Software Development, Critical Knowledge, Knowledge Management
National Category
Computer Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-18507 (URN)978-1-7281-2968-6 (ISBN)
Conference
The ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement ESEM 2019 Porto de Galinhas, Brazil September 19th-20th, 2019
Projects
S.E.R.T. Research Profile
Available from: 2019-08-01 Created: 2019-08-01 Last updated: 2019-09-06Bibliographically approved
4. Continuous Assimilation of Change in Agile Software Development: An empirical study on the role of the knowledge-based resources
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Continuous Assimilation of Change in Agile Software Development: An empirical study on the role of the knowledge-based resources
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As the software value chain is knowledge-based due to the high dependency on people, the lack of practice to manage knowledge as a resource might jeopardize its application in software development. The resource-based view of the firm provides a different perspective on the utilization of knowledge, assisting the identification of the Knowledge-Based Resources (KBRs) that allow a company to have a continuous readiness to quickly respond to the market changes. To understand how the KBRs support coordination in Agile Software Development (ASD), we applied a grounded theory approach, collecting data from 18 practitioners, coming from five companies. As results, we identified 44 KBRs that were grouped in the Continuous Assimilation Model (CHASM). They support coordination in ASD with continuous assimilation of change which is supported by people’s business analytic perspective and product systemic reasoning. The companies are able to utilize a certain level of their KBRs through social collaboration and team environment/settings. However, the inefficient utilization of these resources results in a significant knowledge loss. Furthermore, CHASM points out areas where practitioners can establish strategies based on the priorities that the companies give to the investigated KBRs, as well as a set of research opportunities for future investigation.

Keywords
Knowledge-based Resources, Agile Software Development, Grounded Theory
National Category
Computer Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-18506 (URN)
Projects
S.E.R.T. Research Profile
Available from: 2019-08-01 Created: 2019-08-01 Last updated: 2019-09-06Bibliographically approved

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