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Agile versus waterfall methods : differences in knowledge networks and performance in software engineering teams

Westendorp, A. (2016) Agile versus waterfall methods : differences in knowledge networks and performance in software engineering teams.

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Abstract:In modern society knowledge has become the most important resource for economic success, especially in knowledge-intensive organisations like software engineering. To optimally use knowledge in organisations, many software engineering organisations are organized in cross-functional teams. However, successful realization of knowledge networks varies between cross-functional teams. Nowadays, most software engineering teams use either an ‘agile’ or ‘waterfall’ method to collaborate in teams with high expertise diversity and product complexity. Differences in their knowledge networks are not studied yet. The current research focused on the ICT division of the Dutch organisation RDW and the quality of knowledge networks (i.e., transactive memory system and knowledge sharing) among its software engineers. Specifically, the three research questions were: (1) “Do knowledge networks, knowledge boundaries, dual identity (i.e., profession x team identification), and team performance differ between employees who work agile versus waterfall?”, (2) “What is the relationship pattern between knowledge boundaries, dual identity, knowledge networks, and team performance?”, and (3) “Is there a difference in the relationship patterns between knowledge boundaries, dual identity, knowledge network, and team performance, between employees who work agile versus waterfall?”. To investigate this, a single case study based on a cross-sectional, correlational research design was employed. From the 146 RDW employees who work in software engineering cross-functional teams, 81 employees participated in an online survey. Data was quantitatively analysed using T-tests and structural equation modelling. As expected, agile teams had a stronger knowledge network compared to waterfall teams. Moreover, knowledge boundaries related negatively to transactive memory system, and transactive memory system in turn related positively to team satisfaction and perceived team productivity. Thus, this research confirms the potential of agile methods in establishing stronger knowledge networks in teams and the importance of low knowledge boundaries in teams.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/69311
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