Perceived Barriers to Effective Knowledge Sharing in Agile Software Teams

S Ghobadi, L Mathiassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While the literature offers several frameworks that explain barriers to knowledge sharing within software development teams, little is known about differences in how team members perceive these barriers. Based on an in-depth multi-case study of four software projects, we investigate how project managers, developers, testers and user representatives think about barriers to effective knowledge sharing in agile development. Adapting comparative causal mapping, we constructed causal maps for each of the four roles and identified overlap and divergence in map constructs and causal linkages. The results indicate that despite certain similarities, the four roles differ in how they perceive and emphasize knowledge-sharing barriers. The project managers put primary emphasis on project setting barriers, while the primary concern of developers, testers and user representatives were project communication, project organization and team capabilities barriers, respectively. Integrating the four causal maps and the agile literature, we propose a conceptual framework with seven types of knowledge-sharing barriers and 37 specific barriers. We argue that to bridge communication gaps and create shared understanding in software teams, it is critical to take the revealed concerns of different roles into account. We conclude by discussing our findings in relation to knowledge sharing in agile teams and software teams more generally.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Systems Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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