Investigating the Characteristics Needed by Scrum Team Members to Successfully Transfer Tacit Knowledge During Agile Software Projects


  • Deon Takpuie
  • Maureen Tanner


Keywords: Agile software development, scrum, motivation, tacit knowledge, knowledge transfer, teams


Abstract: The purpose of this study is to propose a theoretical model describing what makes Scrum team members successful at transferring knowledge. Twelve semi‑structured interviews were conducted at two Scrum companies in Cape Town, South Africa. Participants interviewed ranged from project managers and Scrum masters to software developers, business analyst and testers. The interviews were all transcribed, then analysed using thematic analysis. Past studies have already identified factors (i.e. characteristics that enable people to transfer knowledge) that are known to impact knowledge transfer. This study further extends the body of knowledge by revealing how these existing factors are interrelated while impacting knowledge transfer. In addition, new factors (i.e. empathy and articulation skills of the source) are proposed, which were found to further impact knowledge transfer in Scrum teams. The results have shown that recipients perceive team members who are able to successfully transfer knowledge as having the following characteristics: motivation, capability, credibility, empathy, articulate and ability to communicate enough. The contribution of this study to practice is a list of team member characteristics, that HR managers could foster through appropriate training, to help improve the knowledge transfer within Scrum teams. This paper offers new contributions and a theoretical model to the under researched area of knowledge transfer within Scrum teams.



1 Mar 2016