How to get started with Agile if there are some programmer in my team, there only know a specific business domain and don't want to share knowledges with other teammates?

1 Answer 1


Knowledge hoarding (relactance to share knowledge) is irrelevant from the development methodology. It is a problem regardless of agile, waterfall or any other methodology.

Some knowledge hoarding reasons :

  • Lack of time. Knowledge sharing can take time, which obstraces the completion of other duties and tasks assigned.
  • Lack of trust. “The more an employee distrusted the person requesting the information, the more likely they were to hide knowledge from that person”
  • Lack of awareness. The employee does not undestand how much value knowledge sharing can give to the whole team, which subsequently will produce success for the whole team.
  • Job insecurity. The fear that if everybody learns their knowledge, they will loose their status in the team, and may loose their job.

Some ideas you may try to mitigate the problem are :

  • Set aside time to share information. Put time explicitly in their time shcedule for knowledge sharing. This will aknowledge their effort and make it a formal task.
  • Reward sharing. "When sharing happens and there is a positive outcome, recognize the people involved. Give feedback on results generated because of the shared information."
  • Remove barriers. "Review your incentive programs to make sure you’re not motivating people in the wrong direction — by creating too much competition. Revise programs to reward the team when you can."
  • Training. If employees receive knowledge through training or from other colleagues, they will look knowledge sharing as their obligation.
  • Change awareness. Change peoples beliefs about knowledge sharing, that this is not a risk for their job, and overall they get benefits directly or indirectly from it.



  • 1
    Thank your for your response, but I really don't know how to decrease fear to loose their jobs, if they will explain their knowledges to other teammates. I've tried to explain all benefits that we can have, when we can make some features, when someone is sick or in vacation. Everyone agrees, but this problem haven't solved. Oct 10, 2017 at 9:24
  • @VladKudryavtsev I know it is not easy. It takes time, you need to try many things in parallel. Oct 10, 2017 at 11:16
  • Adding to this excellent answer, the term “bus factor” comes to mind. A bus factor of 1 means that if this one person gets hit by a bus, then 100% of knowledge is lost. It’s management’s responsibility to get that number up, regardless of if this employee is “comfortable” doing that or not. He has the potential to bring the team and project to its knees.
    – dKen
    Oct 11, 2017 at 5:28
  • maybe you can recommend me your favorite books or articles, that describe a methodology to avoid "bus factor"? Oct 11, 2017 at 7:27

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