An empirical investigation of knowledge management support for software projects.

Sandhawalia, Birinder Singh (2008) An empirical investigation of knowledge management support for software projects. PhD thesis, University of Middlesex. [Thesis]

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Projects are unique by definition. Due to this novelty software development projects, in common with all other projects, require knowledge for effective implementation. Most
knowledge management frameworks reported in the literature address the organisational need to manage knowledge. The existing frameworks typically discuss the dichotomy between tacit and explicit knowledge, and lay an emphasis on managing the latter. However, software development projects rely upon the experience, creativity and intuition of individual team members to address unstructured situations typified by inherent uncertainty, ambiguity and change. Therefore software projects require the facilitation and interaction of tacit knowledge along with managing and leveraging explicit knowledge.This research examines how tacit and explicit knowledge generated while implementing a software development project can be leveraged and effectively reused in future software projects.

In order to address the need to provide knowledge management support to software projects an extended case study was conducted at one of the world's largest software
project-based organisations. The aim of the research was to identify and analyse the flow of knowledge, and the capabilities required to support this flow. The research design
utilised a combination of open-ended interviews, survey questionnaires, observations of team functioning, work methods and development practices, and a detailed examination of the knowledge management infrastructure and process capabilities. The extensive and exceptional access negotiated for this project enabled the research to focus on a single organisation and resulted in 100 hours of interviews and 340 hours of observations from 98 ongoing projects. Established case study protocols were used for data collection. The data analysis focused on determining categories from the different streams of activities and
assigning attributes using Nudist software for data reduction and displaying group-nodes, and conclusion drawing. This enabled the research to establish the 'processual' nature of
knowledge, and identify the capabilities required to mobilise and utilise knowledge assets.

The research critically analysed the three parallel themes of knowledge management, project management and software engineering, and the outcome of the conceptual synthesis and validation is a dynamic model which represents the knowledge processes that facilitate the flow of tacit and explicit knowledge between software projects. The model
depicts the relationships and interactions between the functional areas of the development effort, and presents a continuous and long-term view of supporting the implementation of software projects and developing knowledge practices. For software project-based
organisations this research has implications for their ability to manage context, provide feedback and facilitate interaction, and thus build upon their existing knowledge resources
and capabilities. The research provides such organisations with a perspective to achieve excellence not only through optimisation of software process improvement, but also
through learning, and, the creation and sharing of tacit and explicit knowledge as facilitated by the proposed model.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 13429
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2015 15:04
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:46

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