After my first Community of Practice meeting I talked one on one with some of the CoP members to gauge how they felt about it. And found that they thought the call was a good start. However there needed to be more material there to keep the members coming back for more.
Some of the members wanted the community to:
- Be focused on tangible outputs such as best practices and recommendations
- Be a meeting of peers to discuss ideas and questions
- Be a forum to get early warning on potential customer issues
- Be a means to gather feedback and provide validation of feedback
- Capture best practices in the field from all over the world
These are all valid actions or goals to have for a community, however some potential barriers exist that have to be addressed:
- What information is shareable? How do you ensure security of the document?
- With whom is that information shareable?
- How do you send out the information?
- Who determines the validity of the information?
- How is the information validated?
On the surface these seem like very basic and easy to answer questions. However in the context of a cross functional community of practice answers to these questions can be disconcerting for a few. I believe that answers to these questions will help to build the following in the community:
- Trust – Trust is a huge component of any community. However, it is something that is hard to build and so very easy to destroy. It only takes one corporate or governmental leak to clam the whole system up.
- Framework – A functioning community must have a framework and defined roles for its members. This also includes rules for interacting with the community both internally and externally.
Of course there is more that makes a community successful, but I’m still learning. Need more check out CPSquare.