Knowledge Management Through Pair Programming

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Title: Knowledge Management Through Pair Programming
Author: Palmieri, David Walsh
Advisors: Dr. Laurie Williams, Chair
Dr. Edward Gehringer, Member
Dr. Thomas Honeycutt, Member
Abstract: Knowledge Management has been the subject of increasing focus over the last several years. Literature and research on the topic has grown as companies and organizations have come to realize that success is often determined by one's ability to create, disseminate, and embody knowledge in products and services. This realization has led to increased interest in examining the ways in which knowledge can be effectively created, identified, codified, disseminated, and retained. The field of Knowledge Management has emerged to address this need. One of the obstacles that Knowledge Management seeks to overcome is the natural tendency in people to hoard knowledge. People often withhold knowledge when they feel it provides them with a competitive advantage over others. Many traditional management incentives and team structures create and perpetuate competitive environments that encourage knowledge hoarding. Knowledge Management also seeks to find ways to reduce the impact of employee turnover. When an employee leaves a company or organization, the knowledge they possess often goes with them. This loss can potentially have a negative impact on the productivity and quality of the company or organization. Knowledge Management seeks to find ways to minimize loss of knowledge when an employee leaves a company or organization. Pair programming is a practice that holds promise for overcoming some of the challenges faced by Knowledge Management. In pair programming, two programmers work side-by-side at one computer collaborating on the same design, algorithm, code, or test. The continual interaction between pair programmers would seem to provide an environment that promotes knowledge sharing, and collaborative knowledge discovery. Additionally, through pair rotation, in which pairs change partners fairly often, tacit knowledge might be spread more effectively through face-to-face communication than by documentation, databases, or other means. This research examines pair programming in the realm of Knowledge Management, positing the following hypotheses:Pair programming reduces the tendency of people to hoard knowledge.Pair programming reduces the impact of employee turnover. Pair programming is an effective means of knowledge dissemination and knowledge retention that has a positive influence on the Knowledge Management practices of a company or organization. These hypotheses are tested through the use of a survey of individuals in technology research, development, and service. Analysis of the survey results provided no conclusive evidence to either support or disprove the hypothesis that pair programming reduces the tendency of people to hoard knowledge. The results indicate support for the hypothesis that pair programming reduces the impact of employee turnover, although not statistically significant. And finally, the survey results indicate with statistical significance that pair programming is an effective means of knowledge dissemination and retention, with a positive influence on the Knowledge Management practices of a company or organization.
Date: 2002-04-02
Degree: MS
Discipline: Computer Science
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1429


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