Help! I need somebody. A Mapping Study about Expert Identification in Software Development

  • Carlos Braga UFES
  • Paulo Santos Jr IFES
  • Monalessa Barcellos UFES


Context: Software development is a knowledge-intensive activity, and its success in an organization relies deeply on knowledge sharing. Knowledge management challenges are often increased in agile environments, which involve a lot of tacit knowledge, commonly acquired through experiences and hard to be made explicit. Therefore, knowledge sharing among practitioners is crucial. However, identifying suitable experts to share specific knowledge is not trivial. It involves not only discovering the individuals with the desired knowledge but also considering other factors that may improve the expert responsiveness, such as social connections and availability. Objective: Considering the important role experts play in knowledge sharing, we decided to investigate approaches that help identify experts that can share knowledge in software development. Our goal is to provide a panorama of the existing approaches and shine a light on research opportunities. Method: We carried out a systematic literature mapping and analyzed 17 publications. Results: The results show that most approaches have relied on code repositories as a source of evidence for identifying experts and, consequently, focus on supporting developers and aiding in the codification activity. Additionally, expert identification has been mostly automated, and factors beyond possessing the desired knowledge have often been disregarded. Conclusion: Although there are several expert identification approaches, there has been a lack of concern with factors that influence reaching the most suitable expert for a specific situation (e.g., considering the characteristics of the person seeking knowledge). Moreover, there is a need for deeper reflection on how to better explore different artifacts as sources of expert evidence and how to combine them to improve expert identification.
Palavras-chave: Mapping Study, Knowledge Sharing, Expert Identification
BRAGA, Carlos; SANTOS JR, Paulo; BARCELLOS, Monalessa. Help! I need somebody. A Mapping Study about Expert Identification in Software Development. In: SIMPÓSIO BRASILEIRO DE ENGENHARIA DE SOFTWARE (SBES), 37. , 2023, Campo Grande/MS. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2023 . p. 154–163.