Beyond the Process: Enriching Software Process Improvement with Knowledge Management

Bo Hansen Hansen

    Research output: Book/ReportPhD thesis

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    The purpose of this dissertation is to illustrate how software companies can improve their development practices by making better use of their knowledge resources. The dissertation illustrates this by answering the following research questions:
    - How can a software company's knowledge management status be determined in order to identify knowledge-related areas of improvement?
    - How can improvements in such areas be planned through the design and adaptation of new organizational initiatives to strengthen the organization's learning opportunities?
    - How can such improvement initiatives be facilitated and implemented to ensure acceptance and continued development?
    The dissertation is part of the national research project Software Processes and Knowledge and has been prepared as an action research project at the software company Systematic Software Engineering in Aarhus. In addition to improvements in the organization involved, the dissertation provides theoretical and methodological contributions to the software process improvement field by showing how theoretical input from the knowledge management field can be integrated into and strengthening the software process improvement field, and by showing how complex organizational contexts can be elucidated by using an appropriate and flexible p analysis and intervention techniques. In addition, the dissertation contributes to the development of a balanced theory of knowledge management in software process improvement. To this end, the concepts of exemplary and situated knowledge type and normative and reflective process improvement are introduced. The thesis also illustrates how a long-term collaborative study has contributed to results internally in the case organization by designing and adapting a new project evaluation process based on a shift towards a situated knowledge organization by actively involving the existing expert networks in the organization. The design of this new process illustrates how the Software Process Enhancement field is theoretically strengthened through the integration of related theories. The dissertation shows how cultural analysis and science maps can be used as software process improvement techniques. In addition, the thesis suggests a balanced theory of knowledge management in software process improvement, which describes the importance of seeking a balance between the prevailing organizational knowledge type (exemplary vs. situated) and software process improvement method (normative vs. reflective). Finally, this dissertation shows how a longer-term research project, inspired by action research, can be guided and focused through the application of Collaborative Practice Research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
    Number of pages301
    ISBN (Print)9788759384015
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    SeriesPhD series

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