knowledge silos

The Stack Overflow 2022 Developers Survey has been released a few days ago. It brings fresh insights and valuable data about developers around the world: trends, challenges, technologies,…This year, they were 70,000 who took the survey. Knowledge silos are a barrier that many developers have to face.

This report provides meaningful insights regarding productivity, problem-solving, and collaboration. The first key results give the tone:

“* 62% of all respondents spend more than 30 minutes a day searching for answers or solutions to problems.

25% spending more than an hour each day. Regardless of being an
independent contributor or people manager, this is time that could be
spent learning or building.

* For a team of 50 developers, the amount of time spent searching for answers/solutions adds up to between 333–651 hours of time lost per week across the entire team.”

Later in the report, we can read that:

Nearly half of all respondents report that knowledge silos
prevent them from getting ideas from across the organization and that
waiting for answers to questions often causes interruptions and disrupts
their workflow — with little difference between ICs and People Managers.”

So there are challenges to improving knowledge transfer and code/practices reuse in the IT companies. And this phenomenon is not rare:

68% of respondents say they encounter a knowledge silo at least once a week.”

That’s not surprising if we consider that:

Only 16% of organizations have Innersource initiatives.”

Knowledge should be more accessible, but it should be relevant. However:

About a quarter of all respondents say they can’t find up-to-date information within their organization to help them do their job and they aren’t able to quickly find answers to their questions with existing tools and resources.”

So when we don’t find answers, we talk to people:

46% of all respondents spend more than 30 minutes a day answering questions.”

That’s part of developers’ work to help and interact with each other. But indirectly, knowledge silos generate a loss of productivity.

Knowledge access is crucial during onboarding. This process can take up to several months:

Over 48% of respondents regardless of function, think onboarding takes a very long time or a somewhat long time at their organization.”

This 2022 report states that IT organizations still have challenges to solve to break knowledge silos and improve their inner source strategy.

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