Knowledge Networks: Innovation Through Communities of Practice

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Publisher: Idea Group Publishing , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis This work explores the inner workings of an organizational, internationally distributed Community of Practice.

The Power of Collaboration and Communities of Practice - Miguel Asencio - TEDxJWUNorthMiami

Buy New Learn more about this copy. About AbeBooks. Such domain-focused interactions are often supported by CoPs—informal networks designed specifically for efficient knowledge-sharing and exploration across teams, trains, and the entire organization. Figure 2 provides an example of role-based CoPs, one of the most common types of communities.

For example, Scrum Masters from different Agile teams may form a CoP to exchange practices and experiences in building highly productive Agile teams.

Communities of Practice

As CoPs start to gain acceptance and participation, topic-based communities like those shown in Figure 3 often begin to emerge. The membership of these CoPs can be far more diverse. A CoP on the topic of DevOps could attract participants from almost any role in an organization. An automated testing CoP could be comprised of test engineers and developers interested in advancing these skills.

An Agile Architecture and design CoP could foster the adoption of practices such as emergent design, intentional system architecture, Continuous Integration , and refactoring. It could also support the effort put into building and maintaining the Architectural Runway , foster design thinking and designing for testability and deployment, application security, and more.

CoPs are highly organic, and like most living organisms they have a natural life cycle, beginning with an idea for a new community and ending when the community members feel the group has achieved its objectives or is no longer providing value. Figure 4 shows the typical life cycle of a CoP.

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CoPs are formed in the committing stage by a small, core group of practitioners who share a common passion and need for a particular domain. As shown in Figure 5, CoP members exhibit multiple levels of participation. CoPs are self-organizing, and their members have the freedom to determine their own level of engagement that is different from other work groups, such as tiger teams, task forces, and committees. Natural movement of people among communities and levels is healthy.

It allows new knowledge and fresh ideas to flow across the organization in ways that are different, but complementary, to formal information-sharing.

Since CoPs are informal and self-managing by nature, community members are empowered to design the types of interactions and determine the frequency that best meets their needs. For developers, this could involve hackathons, coding dojos, and tech talks.

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Other formats might include meetups, brown bags, webinars, and independent communications through social business platforms such as Slack, Confluence, and Jive. In the operating stage of a CoP, community members continuously evolve by engaging in periodic retrospectives similar to those used by Agile teams.

Core team members focus on maintaining the health of the community by:. Eventually, individual CoPs will run their course, and community members should consider retiring the CoP, allowing practitioners to commit their energies to other communities.

focusing on knowledge gains and relationships

Signals that a community has reached this stage include a steady decline in event participation and reduced activity on collaboration sites and input from community retrospectives. When a CoP is retired, leaders should make it a positive event where community successes are celebrated, key contributors are recognized, and ongoing participation in other CoPs is encouraged. Through these celebrations, CoP experiences often become part of company lore, and it is not uncommon for a healthy CoP retirement to spawn three to five new communities.

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The Innovation and Planning IP Iteration presents a great opportunity for CoPs to hold learning sessions, formal or informal, as well as other activities such as coding dojos, coaching clinics, and the like. CoPs embrace the ideals of respect for people, innovation, flow, and relentless improvement described in the House of Lean. By fostering CoP formation, Lean-Agile Leaders show support by continuously communicating the value of CoPs, highlighting success stories and recognizing the efforts of community volunteers. Leaders can also support CoPs by providing meeting spaces, logistical support, and funding for meetups, tooling, and communications infrastructure.


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  6. Details According to Wenger [1] CoPs must have three distinct traits to be considered a community of practice, as shown in Figure 1: Domain — An area of shared interest Practice — A shared body of knowledge, experiences, and techniques Community — A self-selected group of individuals who care enough about the topic to participate in regular interactions Figure 1.

    Communities of Practice have three distinct traits Lean-Agile principles and practice promote cross-functional teams and programs that facilitate value delivery in the Enterprise. Figure 2. Role-based Communities of Practice For example, Scrum Masters from different Agile teams may form a CoP to exchange practices and experiences in building highly productive Agile teams.