An assessment of un-structured knowledge management techniques in the project management of software development

Aitken, E. (2007). An assessment of un-structured knowledge management techniques in the project management of software development. Student dissertation for The Open University module M801 MSc in Software Development Research Dissertation.

Please note that this student dissertation is made available in the format that it was submitted for examination, thus the author has not been able to correct errors and/or departures from academic standards in areas such as referencing.



Those involved in managing projects are acutely aware of the benefits that could be achieved if knowledge could be transferred between projects and teams. There are few organisations, however, that support structured organisation-level management of knowledge. This study looks at the knowledge management methods employed by individuals in organisations that do not have well-defined or well-embedded knowledge management processes. The study finds that the techniques used most often are those that are recommended by Project Management methodologies, such as post-project reviews and lessons learned reports. It was also found that there is an interest in using some of the recently available collaborative, de-centralised technologies such as blogs that can be implemented on a small scale without necessarily having to be run at a corporate level. Through responses to a questionnaire and the application of the Delphi method, the participants in this research agreed on a number of areas where their own current practice does not meet their needs for knowledge transfer. The techniques currently being employed were limited in their ability to share knowledge effectively and promote re-use. An analysis of existing research shows that the following techniques may improve current practice: The use of patterns, analogous to those used in software development Blogging and other forms of collaboration software Using metrics to get quantifiable information A more narrative approach to knowledge capture, using storytelling to convey key points The use of oral history capture by semi-structured interview All of these are found to provide the possibility of improved knowledge transfer across project teams.

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