Knowledge maps (KMaps) are a relatively new concept. The purpose of this paper is to identify the factors that encourage or impede the adoption of KMaps by computer software maintenance professionals.
In total, six prototypes were developed for a muti‐national software organisation and demonstrated during 19 semi‐structured interviews conducted to establish adoption factors. Data were analysed qualitatively through NVivoTM software, according to the steps in Carney's Ladder of Analytical Abstraction.
Encouragement factors were found to be those that organisational management has direct control over such as communicating and promoting KMaps and appointing a management champion. Impeding factors were those under the control of software maintenance management and are more difficult to manage. They focused on personal factors (staff's perception of the usefulness and ease of use of KMaps), subjective norms (peer influence and culture), behavioural control (training) and the design of the KMap itself.
While the research has provided an exploratory KMap Adoption (KAM) Model, it has done so through the lens of innovation adoption and diffusion theories. There are opportunities to examine the topic in a wider manner to provide a more holistic view of KMap adoption.
From adoption factors, the study's explanatory framework, named the KAM, was synthesized and recommendations are made for push and pull strategies to maximise encouragement and minimise impediment factors identified in KAM.
KMaps are ideally suited for resolving many of the traceability problems in computer software maintenance. They improve the ability to find the right “expert” to help solve a software problem quickly when it arises.
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