Exploration of the relationship between tacit knowledge and software system test complexity
University College Cork
This research has explored the relationship between system test complexity and tacit knowledge. It is proposed as part of this thesis, that the process of system testing (comprising of test planning, test development, test execution, test fault analysis, test measurement, and case management), is directly affected by both complexity associated with the system under test, and also by other sources of complexity, independent of the system under test, but related to the wider process of system testing. While a certain amount of knowledge related to the system under test is inherent, tacit in nature, and therefore difficult to make explicit, it has been found that a significant amount of knowledge relating to these other sources of complexity, can indeed be made explicit. While the importance of explicit knowledge has been reinforced by this research, there has been a lack of evidence to suggest that the availability of tacit knowledge to a test team is of any less importance to the process of system testing, when operating in a traditional software development environment. The sentiment was commonly expressed by participants, that even though a considerable amount of explicit knowledge relating to the system is freely available, that a good deal of knowledge relating to the system under test, which is demanded for effective system testing, is actually tacit in nature (approximately 60% of participants operating in a traditional development environment, and 60% of participants operating in an agile development environment, expressed similar sentiments). To cater for the availability of tacit knowledge relating to the system under test, and indeed, both explicit and tacit knowledge required by system testing in general, an appropriate knowledge management structure needs to be in place. This would appear to be required, irrespective of the employed development methodology.
Tacit knowledge , System complexity , System test complexity , Software testing , Software development process
Geary, N. Year. 2016 . Exploration of the relationship between tacit knowledge and software system test complexity. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.