How knowledge-management systems support software development
Software development is not only knowledge-intensive work, it is knowledge-sharing-intensive work. A huge amount of knowledge sharing is required among software architects, engineers, product managers, project managers, developers, QA testers, and so on. In this environment, companies that implement a knowledge-sharing process thrive, while those who don’t learn how to share knowledge effectively can quickly find themselves left behind.
IT consulting company Cognizant has identified four key drivers for effective knowledge management in software development:
- “Reducing the effort spent in acquiring required knowledge for project execution
- Improving reusability (i.e., avoiding reinvention)
- Reducing dependency on individuals for project success
- Improving the overall team’s productivity.”
A knowledge-management system, including an organizational approach supported by technology such as knowledgebase software, is one tool software development companies can use to achieve these goals. Let’s examine them individually:
Reducing effort spent acquiring knowledge: Facilitating the acquisition of knowledge is, in fact, the major purpose of knowledge-management systems. By creating a central database where knowledge resources are accumulated, categorized, tagged and stored, an organization can ensure that its collective knowledge is accessible to all who require it.
Improving reusability: Knowledge gathered into a single place is much more reusable than knowledge that remains undocumented and unorganized. By making those online knowledgebase resources searchable, knowledge-management systems can greatly reduce the amount of time people in all roles spend answering the same questions and addressing the same issues. It can also be used to track different things that are tried along the way, so the same mistakes aren’t made repeatedly.
Reducing dependency on individuals: Workers are staying in their jobs for progressively shorter periods of time, a trend that is even truer in software development than it is generally. Having a knowledge-management strategy that encourages (or requires) engineers, developers and other participants to share what they know can decrease a firm’s dependence on individuals, and ensure that when those individuals leave, their knowledge remains within the company.
Improving productivity: All of the above can contribute to boosting a team’s productivity. In addition, a knowledge-management system can reduce training time so that both individuals and teams can get up to speed more quickly.
Other advantages of knowledge-management systems for software development
In addition to the four major drivers identified by Cognizant, here are two significant ways knowledge management systems can improve the software development process.
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