Community Of Practice


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Community Of Practice

  1. 1. Community of Practice An Organizational Tool to Promote Collaboration, Increase Efficiency and Reduce Costs Orlando Moreno 408.656.2498
  2. 2. Introduction Leaders with access to cutting edge technology and sophisticated information to inspire, innovate and solve problems within their own organizations, can benefit from a tool for leadership collaboration. They can increase an organizations effectiveness virtually overnight by allowing members of organization to share and access available resources regardless of location which and lowers the costs of operation and improves customer service. A Online collaboration and sharing, robust document management, expertise locators, integrated E-learning, search/discovery, shared network folders, threaded discussion forums, validated practices library, virtual mentorship, Wiki and wisdom exchange. Having access to all these applications “combined with collaborative applications, allows users to share data and use applications together, resulting in highly productive work sessions. 408.656.2498 2
  3. 3. What is a Community of Practice? To better describe what a Community of Practice actually does we must first take a look at why and how people and organizations all over the world are using it. The two scenarios below describe why organizations are using a Community of Practice to increase effectiveness and cut operational costs. Scenario #1 You are a virtual manager leading a team of 250 highly trained members who report to you one weekend a month with names, numbers, processes, strategies and spreadsheets. During the month contact with key members of the staff is very limited and difficult to schedule. Work still continues, deadlines need to be met and projects are ongoing. What tool do you have in place to track each ongoing project and task and provides visibility to your staff? 408.656.2498 3
  4. 4. What is a Community of Practice? Scenario #2 You are a training manager managing a training plan for a large organization. Supervisors leave voicemail messages and e-mail with you trying to get answers to questions that could be easily answered if you were only at your desk 24/7. If only there were a better way to answer everyone questions and keep all the supervisors up-to-date on current status of the organizations training plan. You now recognize that knowledge is power. The only problem is how to leverage all the information that is available to better serve you and your organization. Because information benefits everyone, the process of creating, refining, communicating, and using this knowledge becomes a critical component to the stability of any organization. 408.656.2498 4
  5. 5. What is a Community of Practice? Wenger defines Communities of Practice as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” A community of practice has three distinctive characteristics: 1.- Domain. A domain like an e-Portal for members to share a common interest. 2.- Community. A place where members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other. 3.- Practice. The practice is not just a group of people who have something in common but are practitioners. “They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, and ways of addressing recurring problems in short a shared practice. 408.656.2498 5
  6. 6. Effective use of a Communities of Practice Communities of Practice come together to take care of certain activities. Table 1 below shows some examples certain questions that can be answered through the effective use of a Communities of Practice. Problem Solving "Please let me know what action to take next. We can solve this problem together." Requesting information "Can you please send me more information on how I get paid?" Seeking out Experts "How should I answer this person’s question?" Creating organizational "Let’s order our staff supplies together so that we can get a larger bulk synergy discount?" Discussing developments "What do you think of Microsoft Vista? Do you think it is better than XP?" Project Documentation "The performance evaluations have been rejected consistently for the same reason. Please read the report for the top 10 reasons for rejections." Coordinating and "Let’s schedule a meeting for next week. If we can't meet in person than Scheduling Meeting let’s arrange a good time to talk to each other on the phone." Mapping knowledge and "Who knows what, and what are we missing? Lets connect to other CoP’s Linking to other similar to see if we are on the right track" Community of Practices 408.656.2498 6
  7. 7. Advantages of establishing a community of practice Many organizations have been utilizing the power behind the Community of Practice for many years. Communities of Practice are also known as distributed communities, knowledge management groups, peer groups, family groups and tech groups. The objectives for joining these communities are to enable colleagues to learn from one another through the sharing of issues, ideas, lessons learned, problems and their solutions, research findings and to generate tangible, measurable, value-added benefits to the business. The main difference between a community of practice and a series of formal meetings is the spontaneity of getting help when you need it in real time. Information that's shared at a meeting might not be needed at that time, so you kind of stash it away. 408.656.2498 7
  8. 8. Advantages of establishing a community of practice With a community of practice, you can tap into that at any time. The advantages of establishing a community of practice within an organization are listed in table 2. Advantage Connections Relationships Common Context Decrease learning curve Find experts Mentor and coach new Understand rules of the employees firm Reduce rework and Find commonalities and Establish positive Understand situational prevent reinvention the individuals who reputation nature of knowledge developed them Increase innovation Leverage weak ties that Build safe environment Understand which provide exposure to new for brainstorming and problems are of common ideas testing new ideas interest 408.656.2498 8
  9. 9. Advantages of establishing a community of practice The main difference between a community of practice and a series of formal meetings is the spontaneity of getting help when you need it in real time. Information that's shared at a meeting might not be needed at that time, so you kind of stash it away. With a community of practice, you can tap into that at any time. The cost savings advantage that a community of practice would give an organization can be quantified by tracking expenses accumulated in training new and existing employees, the time spent on group projects, travel time associated with seeking out advice from experts and meeting with people. The only way to realize consistent cost savings is to develop strategies to sustain your community. 408.656.2498 9
  10. 10. The principles Community of Practice Sustaining the community of practice has to incorporate seven principles so that it creates opportunities for growth in the future:  Design for Evolution. Even though the designer might have a goal of how to develop the community of practice it is ultimately up to the members.  Allow and Outsiders Perspective. Allow input from members of other communities to comment on items that could be improved.  Invite Different Levels of participation. Having greater input from all members of an organization will satisfy the question and answer needs of forum members.  Develop both Public and Private Communities. By gaining insight from both private and public members relationships will strengthen and develop. 408.656.2498 10
  11. 11. Harnessing the Power of the Community of Practice Focus on Value. Members will participate of the see value in their own personal gains. Combine Familiarity and Excitement. Balancing the two is the key to keeping an active community. Create a Rhythm for the community. Schedule regular activities such as meetings, discussions, conferences and luncheons. This will ensure maximum participation. 408.656.2498 11
  12. 12. 360 Degree Organizational Collaboration Even though standardizing technology and data standards for each member of the organization can increase an organization’s effectiveness, collaborating anytime, anywhere regardless of location seems to be the quickest way to increase organizational effectiveness. Cities three reasons why organizations need to collaborate virtually: 1.- Many organizations have become faster, leaner, more customer- oriented and more conscious of cost than they have ever been before. As a result, many organizations have become virtual and going virtual is currently one of the key elements that increase business competitiveness. 2.- Some organization either work beyond national boundaries or at different locations within countries with larger Geographical sizes. 408.656.2498 12
  13. 13. 360 Degree Organizational Collaboration 3.- Cost effectiveness. Increasing transport and human resource costs makes face to face contact less attractive unless they are essential. Virtual relationships, in spite of other issues, ensure substantially lower operational costs. 408.656.2498 13
  14. 14. Success & Effective communications Group success is dependent on effective communications and knowledge sharing among members. Many of the new employees entering the workforce are fluent with different mediums of communication and expect to use them frequently throughout the day. The employees have grown up in an environment of personal computers, cellular phones, and electronic classrooms, will be more likely to expect organizational flexibility. So in effect, to keep the employees of an organization satisfied with the flow of communication the ability to contribute and collaborate is essential. 408.656.2498 14
  15. 15. Success & Effective communications The frequency with which individuals communicate with others in the organization enhances organizational commitment because frequent communication leads individuals to feel that they are active participants in the organization. A sense of active participation may lead followers to feel that they have greater control in the organization. As more and more different avenues of communication open up in the years ahead and telephone and e-mails gradually become obsolete, a new generation of workers will become more reliant and expect more from instant messaging (IM) as it will quickly become the preferred method of conducting daily business. 408.656.2498 15
  16. 16. Success & Effective communications Organizations will surpass the initial capabilities of IM such as click-to- call and online presence and focus more on developing and investing in communication tools like communities of practice for group collaboration. 408.656.2498 16
  17. 17. Conclusion So you can see that although you can increase an organization’s effectiveness through technology within the workplace, employee collaboration has two distinct organizational benefits:  Members of organization share and access available resources regardless of location.  Community of practice can lower costs of operation, increased efficiency and improve customer service, all of which are essential for a healthy bottom line. These organizations recognize the key role of communities of practice in transferring good practices, solving problems quickly and efficiently, developing professional skills, influencing strategy, and retaining talented employees. 408.656.2498 17
  18. 18. Conclusion They help the individual to be a more productive, effective, and satisfied employee. The organizations which are still on the fence and not fully committing to using collaboration tools within their organization stand to lose the most. With budgets tightening over the foreseeable future, the only question seems to be “How can you afford not to implement a community of practice within your organization?” 408.656.2498 18
  19. 19. Questions ? Orlando Moreno 408.656.2498 408.656.2498 19