Alternative name(s)

Knowledge Management might be referred ‍‍‍‍elsewhere‍‍‍‍ as Information Management, Bouthillier & Shearer (2002).

Description

Knowledge Management (KM) is a way of organising and distributing ‍‍‍‍an organisations' ‍‍‍‍knowledge around the organisation, which may be split in to explicit, implicit or tacit knowledge Koenig (2012). This is well supported from Holm (2008) where it is suggested KM will help to enable teams and communities to share, collect and manage knowledge with others in order to enable better decisions to be made. LinkedIn (2013) extends these two definitions by adding that it encompasses the strategies which may be used by an organisation to gather, organise and distribute the knowledge.

It can be used as a way of building business value and providing an organisation with a competitive advantage which will be gained as a result of more fluent integration between departments and understanding of others roles within the organisation which is suggested by Tiwana (2001). This is further defined by Bocij et al. (2008) who reinforce what is addressed previously and includes reasoning to suggest its utmost importance where knowledge and skills of staff are critical to the success of a project or task. Each of these areas identify a way of disseminating and keeping knowledge within an organisation or project.

Agile values

As Levy and Hazzan (2009) suggest, ‍‍Agile Manifesto values include sharing knowledge over general documentation, and in XP-Extremme Programming (Cubric, 2013), great communications are significant to know what matters most in project team.These values might be relevant to the Knowledge Management (KM) area as the result of that KM requires individuals to share knowledge and imformation to expect further needs, gratify exiting needs, and eliminate the antiquated needs in the organization (Dove, 1999). In the agile organization, knowledge management is accountable and answerable for having the right knowledge in the correct place at the accurate time as shown by Dove (1999). It needs varity communications and feedbacks which are also required in XP (Cubric 2013).Furthermore, responding to change over following a plan and feedbacks for communication are also relevant to KM area. Feedback is a critical part of communication in XP (Cubric, 2013), and KM requires responses when communicating and sharing knowledge (Dove, 1999).

Agile principles
From the Agile Principle Manifesto, Cubric (2013), the following principles would be appropriate to this knowledge area.
  • ‍‍‍‍Business people and developers work together throughout the project.‍‍‍‍
  • Build projects around motivated individuals by providing them with the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • The most effective and efficient method of conveying information to and within a development team if face-to-face communication.
These principles are most relative to this KA. This is since each of them show integration of some degree between individuals and how working as a team will get the task accomplished. The first principle suggests that by working as a team there is an active approach to manage and share information within the team environment. The second principle suggests giving an environment and support. Knowledge is a critical area which will benefit a team and as such this would be considered a support activity to benefit the team. The third principle is about communicating information and how the best way is through face-to-face communication. This again is a direct link between the way information is disseminated throughout an organisation or project. Each of these principles addressed for this KA are relative because they provide a scope for sharing and storing knowledge to benefit the organisation or project.

Agile practices

‍‍As Law and Charron (2005) define, knowledge is what people amass in the action of study and gathering experiences and practices. Knowledge does not only help people deal with problems, but also helps people accommodate and improve in their special circumstances. As presented in the Agile Value, knowledge should be in person's mind. In this case, Law and Charron (2005) also suggest that the personal turnover result in the loss of critical knowledge, cause a steep study route, and influence project completion. To alleviate this problem, specific knowledge sharing is required. On the other hand, rapid knowledge sharing should be helpful to project delivery. With speed, managers can get clear vision on project knowledge area to make decision rapidly. With speed, they can get feedbacks as faster as possible.‍‍

Versionone (2013) explores the practices which are commonly used in XP development which is relative to agile development. The practices which would best apply to Knowledge Management are:
  • Rigorous, regular refactoring.
  • Simple design
  • Continuous integration
  • Sharing the codebase between all programmers.


These knowledge areas would be relevant to Knowledge Management since they explore the areas which should be the focal point of Knowledge Management which is the way in which knowledge is shared and managed throughout an organisation. By regular refactoring, with a simple design, integrating all components together and sharing the codebase or "knowledge" would mean that the principles of Knowledge Management are being adhered to, in line with this agile XP development style.

Discussion

‍‍‍‍By explicitly sharing knowledge with one another will create a team which has a higher velocity as regular sharing and distributing of knowledge will mean when problems are encountered they will be less of an obstacle to overcome. For example, if a colleague has a medical issue and is not able to undertake work on the project the knowledge he has would be shared with the rest of the team prior to the medical issue and then another team member could potentially undertake additional work to ensure the project resumes. This would be highly beneficial and in the best interest of all parties involved with such a project if there is deadlines approaching, or critical milestones which must be adhered to.

An agile approach to this KA would be different from the traditional approach. This would be in a number of ways. Traditionally, users would need to meet up and communicate their ideas when they are in the same room or same location. In the modern working environment, with the addition of many technologies users are able to pass information and knowledge to others electronically. One way of achieving this modern agile style would be a company intranet. The knowledge on the intranet could be built up over a period of time and enable the knowledge to be shared with the other users of the team or organisation.‍‍‍‍

In summary to this, and to extend the differences between agile and traditional knowledge management are:
  • There is a better response to change with agile knowledge management which enables managers to make stronger decisions based on the knowledge they have.
  • The knowledge is better disseminated around the organisation since the level of knowledge is built up in layers with contributions from a large proportion of employees.
  • Extensions to the existing knowledge base are easy to implement and if requirements change the knowledge can also be changed to accommodate this.

Links from this KA to other KAs

‍‍‍‍Information Management‍‍‍‍ is a similar concept to KM. This is due to the process of sharing or distributing the content. The way in which information is managed may include similar elements to KM which may be evidenced in Information Management.

‍‍‍‍References‍‍‍‍

Bocij, P. Greasley, A. and Hickie, S. 2008. Business Information Systems, Technology, Development & Management. 4th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Bouthillier, F. Shearer, K., 2002. Understanding Knowledge Management and Information Management: The need for an empirical perspective. [Online] McGill University. Available at: <http://informationr.net/ir/8-1/paper141.html> [Last Accessed 28th February 2013].

Cubric, M., 2013. Agile Manifesto Principles, 7BSP1018 Agile Project Management Lecture Slides. University of Hertfordshire, unpublished.

Dove, R. 1999. Knowledge management, response ability, and the agile enterprise. Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 3 Iss: 1 pp. 18 - 35.[Online] Available through: < http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=883666&show=abstract >. [Last Accessed 13th February 2013]

Holm, J. 2008. What is Knowledge Management? [Online]. Available through: <http://km.nasa.gov/whatis/index.html>. [Last Accessed 12th February 2013].

Koenig, M. 2012. What is KM? Knowledge Management Explained. [Online]. Available through: <http://www.kmworld.com/Articles/Editorial/What-Is-.../What-is-KM-Knowledge-Management-Explained-82405.aspx>. [Last Accessed 11th February 2013].

Law, A. & Charron, R. 2005. Effects of Agile Practices on Social Factors. [Online] Available through: < http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1083115 >. [Last Accessed 13th February 2013]

Levy, M. & Hazzan, O. 2009. Agile Knowledge management, Category: Knowledge Management, pp. 112-117. [Online] Available through: <http://ebooks.narotama.ac.id/files/Encyclopedia%20of%20Information%20Science%20and%20Technology%20(2nd%20Edition)/Agile%20Knowledge%20Management.pdf>. [Last Accessed 13th February 2013]

LinkedIn. 2013. Knowledge Management Skills. [Online]. Available through: <http://www.linkedin.com/skills/skill/Knowledge_Management>. [Last Accessed 11th February 2013].

Tiwana, A. 2001. The Essential Guide to Knowledge Management: E-Business and CRM Applications. Upper Sadle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Versionone, 2013. Agile Software Programming Best Practices. [Online]. Available at: <http://www.versionone.com/Agile101/Agile-Software-Programming-Best-Practices/> [Last Accessed: 28th February 2013].

‍‍‍‍External links‍‍‍‍

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=5978877&tag=1 ...Knowledge Management for Agile Software Developers
http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=883665 Journal of Knowledge Management in agile innovative organisations.
http://km.nasa.gov/whatis/index.html...NASA KM Team entry.

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