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Zack Knowledge Management Model in Software Development

To make a decision, all you need is authority. To make a good decision, you also need knowledge, experience and insight. “– Denise Moreland. Knowledge management model explains the process of transforming information into knowledge within an enterprise. It dictates how knowledge is captured, processed and distributed in an enterprise. 

In software development, Zack Model of Knowledge Management is based on the design and development of information products. It consists of five stages: acquisitionrefinement, torage/retrieval, distribution and presentation. In this approach network between each stage is designed to be logical and standardized. This cycle is also known as refinery. 

First stage is Acquisition of Data or information. Here we deal with issues which are related to origin of raw material like scope, depth, breath, accuracy, timeliness, relevance, control, cost and exclusivity. It work on the basic principle of “garbage in, garbage out.” i.e. highest quality source data is required, else the intellectual products produced downstream will be lower 

After this, next stage is Refinement. Refinement can be analyzed through physical aspects like migration from one medium to another, or it may be analyzed as a logical aspects like restructuring, indexing, relabeling and integration. It also determine the cleaning up process like sanitizing content so as to ensure complete anonymity of source and key players involved, or standardizing approaches. It also add up to the value by creating more readily usable knowledge objects and by preserving the content more efficiently for future use.


Next stage after refinement is Storage/ Retrieval.  It forms a bridge between the upstream addition and refinement stages that feed the repository and downstream stages of product generation. Storage can be physical like file folders, printed information as well as digital like database, knowledge management software.

At distribution we define how the product is to be delivered to the end-user (like fax, print, email) and encloses not only the medium of delivery but also its timing, language, form, frequency etc. and so on.

The final stage is presentation or use stage. Most important element here is context. The performance of all preceding value-added steps are evaluated here. The repository and refinery together enable the management of valuable knowledge of a company. In this stage, there is also an impression of having to continually renew the repository and the refinery in order to avoid elimination.   Although, the notion of refinement is crucial stage but this is the one that is usually neglected.

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