Multiagent System for Supporting the Knowledge Management in the Software Process

Multiagent System for Supporting the Knowledge Management in the Software Process

Francisco Milton Mendes Neto (Rural Federal University of Semi-Arid, Brazil) and Marçal José de Oliveira Morais (State University of the Ceará, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-783-8.ch314
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Software Engineering (SE) involves managing a variety of knowledge about the various activities related to the software process. Moreover, each of these activities involves a set of macro actions that also involves a large number of specific knowledge themselves. Furthermore, the wide range of different knowledge assets necessary for the different collaborators involved in the software process may play, in the tasks of the process, different roles, demanding the knowledge required by each of these roles.

The amount and variety of the knowledge involved in the software process of a Software Development Organization (SDO) can grow exponentially, depending on (i) the software process model (for example, RUP – Rational Unified Process), (ii) the project management model (for example, PMBOK), (iii) the software development model, and (iv) the capacity evaluation model, like CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration), adopted by the SDO. Although some capacity evaluation models are proven to be efficient to improve the quality of the software process, they involve a wide range of extra information about it, many times specific to the model, which shall also be internalized and, thus, assimilated by all the people involved in the software process.

Knowledge Management (KM) solutions can be used to allow the effective use of the knowledge involved in the software process. The KM can be understood as a deliberate and explicit systematic of constructing, renovating and applying knowledge to maximize the effectiveness of the organization's business processes, producing results and ensuring the competitiveness of the organization.

However, the effective implementation of KM is not a trivial task. This is due, mainly, to the fact that most KM initiatives adopt traditional approaches, transferring to the user a large part of the responsibility to collect, pack, store, map and recover knowledge. Inserting this extra step in the user's work process is inefficient.

In this chapter, we propose constructing an intelligent environment to support KM under the SE, that will help those involved in the software process, in a proactive way, to capture, pack, store and retrieve knowledge related to all software process activities. To achieve it, the environment will have a multiagent system, where intelligent agents are going to learn with the users' activities and suggest knowledge that can be useful to the several phases of the software process, depending on the profile of the user involved in the activity.

Among the direct benefits of the effective integration of intelligent agents with knowledge management (KM) in the software process, we can list: reach, objectivity, speed and effectiveness. How these benefits are attained is discussed in what follows.

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