Original Research

Knowledge management in small software development organisations: A South African perspective

Mzwandile M. Shongwe
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 19, No 1 | a784 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v19i1.784 | © 2017 Mzwandile M. Shongwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 September 2016 | Published: 29 June 2017

About the author(s)

Mzwandile M. Shongwe, Department of Information Studies, University of Zululand, South Africa; Department of Information Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Background: Software organisations have been experiencing software development failures since the beginning of software development. Globally, latest Standish Group CHAOS reports indicate that only 29% of projects are successful. In South Africa (SA), the ITWeb report (2013) indicates that only 11% of all projects are successful. Intervention strategies such as software process improvement (SPI) frameworks and new software development methodologies such as agile methods have been introduced to address this issue. These intervention strategies do not seem to be effective because software development projects continue to fail. To address this issue, software organisations are turning to knowledge management (KM). This is because software development is a knowledge-intensive task.

Objectives: The study aimed to investigate KM practices in small, medium and micro (SMMEs) software development organisations in SA and to determine if KM has benefited the organisations.

Method: Fifteen software development project managers from 15 software development SMMEs were interviewed. Content analysis was used to analyse the data.

Results: The study found six KM practices in the organisations: knowledge acquisition, creation, storage, sharing, organisation and application. The study found that KM has benefited organisations by making them effective, efficient and productive.

Conclusions: The study concluded that software development organisation have adopted KM, although informally, and that KM practices have improved organisational routines and processes.


knowledge management practices; software development; software development failures; South Africa; software development organisations


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