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Improving General Knowledge in Agile Software Organizations: Experiences with Job Rotation in Customer Support

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1 Author(s)
Faegri, T.E. ; Dept. of Software Eng., Safety & Security, SINTEF ICT, Trondheim, Norway

For many organizations the transition to agile methods is problematic due to history of bureaucratization and subsequent extensive specialization of knowledge among people. Specialist knowledge inhibits self-organization and role interchangeability which are key elements of agile development. Knowing that bureaucracies are hard to counteract once established, how can development of general knowledge in software organizations be improved? Job rotation is a well-known practice often used to improve general knowledge. The reported action research evaluated job rotation among developers in customer support. The findings suggest that general knowledge is considered interesting and valuable among the participants. However, the findings also show that general knowledge acquisition can be found irrelevant and therefore counter-efficient for day-to-day work among participants if the perceived applicability to own projects is too low. Therefore, using job rotation to improve general knowledge requires careful considerations. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Published in:

Agile Conference, 2009. AGILE '09.

Date of Conference:

24-28 Aug. 2009