Knowledge Management – The Keys to Successful Communities of Practice (Networks)

How can my community of practice truly effective?

How can I ensure that my network to a "Notwork"?

Communities of Practice (Networks) are the heart of successful knowledge management in most organizations. They are the lifeblood of informal exchanges of knowledge. As a rule, communities through a series of stages as they evolve. This article, drawn from a Best-Selling Fieldbook by his knowledgeAuthor calls the most important steps in creating and maintaining a successful community of practice involved, practical hints and tips for every part of the life cycle.

The following guidelines are taken from the book "Learning to Fly – Practical knowledge management from leading and learning organizations drawn" (Chris Collison and Geoff Parcell), and contains a number of steps to the launch, supply and maintenance of communities of practice (networks) in an organization.

Gather a list of potential participants. Use referral – ask individuals if they recommend others in the organization should participate, too. Share introduce yourself to a wider membership diversity. Your network would benefit from the fact that members who are not closely related to your domain of interest – bring a different perspective?

2. Decide: go / no-go
Check the duplication or overlapping with other networks / groups, make sure that the network andclear go / no-go decision.
Is the scope of realistic, or is the subject too broad for a single network? Take some soundings from potential members and consider division into two or more sub-networks, where appropriate form.

Getting Started

3. Hold a face-to-face start-up workshop
Make sure this includes building a social activity, relationships and trust. If most probably via e-mail or phone, it is important to build relationshipsFace-to-face.

4. Draft a "charter" collectively
They include developing a simple "charter", the following:
the reasons and extent of the network;
Main actors (host, sponsor, etc.)
expectations regarding the time commitment for the people (do members need help in securing "air support" from their managers?)
a "code of conduct" – as its members will work together, and the key processes / tools
a feeling of "what success looks like, and any appropriate ratios. (but to avoid excessive burdens as aNetwork activities in the early stages of growth)

5. Consider tools that support
Check the available tools and their distribution among the members, especially for a network, the organizational boundaries.

6. Appoint a moderator
The tasks of the Network Facilitator, some of which are in practice can be shared with others on the network:
Organization of network meetings / teleconferences;
Care Network mailing lists;
Ownership and maintenance of shared information / knowledge resources;
Monitoring the effectiveness of the network and on encouraging and urging members of the network to be closed;
as a focal point for the network, both internally and to the outside of the network

Note – a network of agents do not have the "subject expert". Much more important is the ability of that person and close others, and working behind the scenes to keep the network "on thecook.

7. Set up an e-mail distribution list and send an e-mail startup
Make an e-mail distribution list for your network comprising the potential membership names identified. This should facilitate further communication.
The network as a moderator should be the owners of these can be identified, and may add or delete people from this distribution themselves.
Please send a first e-mail-kick to the dialogue.

New impetus

8. Seed the discussion with someAsk
Bodies have (the behavior with a question on behalf of a member with special needs, the members do it themselves, if possible).
In the early stages, it is important to demonstrate responsiveness. The moderator should be prepared to simply pick up the phone and press the answers behind the scenes.

9. Publicity network
Which means of communication exist within your organization? Can a short news article in a relevant internal or external magazinedescribes the network and its goals?

10. Advertise quick wins
If you celebrate answers to questions, or the transfer of ideas between participants, and to make sure that everyone knows

11. Monitor activity …
Monitor the discussion forum / Q & A effectiveness:
Frequency of contribution
Frequency response.
Number of unanswered questions
For larger networks – number of joiners / leavers

12. Maintain connectivity
A regular conference calls,In summary, success in developing a list of "frequently asked questions" and a shared team space / website.

Renewal of commitment

13. Refine membership
For large networks, send an e-mail to existing members reminding them to let you know if they want to be removed from the list. It is better to have a smaller group of committed members, than a larger group with variable commitment.

14. Maintain a face-to-face meetings
Imagine renewed an annual face-to-face meetingRelations, and no new members

15. Keep the focus on business problems
Continue to solicit questions and answers – known more success stories.

16. Performance Review
As the network performance is compared to their performance contract, mission, KPIs? Are there still regular examples of success stories?

17. Test engagement
Did you threaten to not be afraid, "off" of the network and test the reaction of the members switch. People will soon object if theystrongly believe in it!

Is it time to "sunset" of your community? Or, to re-invent it?
Viewing Options
Decide for the future:
Close Celebrations &?
Define results / scope?
Divide into sub-networks?


Initiates and promotes successful communities of practice is one of the most effective ways to get to your investment in knowledge management. It takes thought and effort to get started, but with the right peopleand the steps outlined above, they can bring to life KM in any organization.


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