Communities of Practice and Teams – Librarians and Others…03.12.09

12 03 2009

John Tropea of Library clips has an interesting post titled Team-based CoPs compared to cross-functional CoPs which I have excerpted here:

“The aim of this post is to illustrate the dynamics between a Community of Practice (CoPs) and a Team.

Without getting too deep into theory here’s an establishing paragraph on what is a Community of Practice.

Communities of Practice typically are a group of people coming together to share and learn about a common interest; as well as building a voluntary output of materials. These are usually not driven by management, instead participation is voluntary, and traditionally the goal is about learning and building capabilities rather than performing tasks.

CoPs enable workers to be more effective and capable in their team tasks, by being able to discover people and form cross-functional groups to build their know-how on a topic. What is learnt in a CoP can be applied to tasks.

I won’t go into anymore CoP theory here, but if you are interested, see Components of a community of practice, and Nancy White’s great series, at the moment she is up to post 6.

What I’m often finding is that we have lots of requests by teams to use the CoP online tools as team spaces, in order to get work and tasks done. For more on this please refer to my past posts Team-based communitiesTeam-based communities are about change, commitment and tasksTeam-based communities : Transparency and Crowdsourcing for a more cohesive workplace

Team-based CoPs are not focused on learning, although this always occurs by default, but are more driven towards solving a problem, coordinating a task, etc…

A Team-based CoP may use the same tools, but will certainly have different dynamics to a cross-functional topic CoP…”


IMAGE SOURCE: Anecdote – The relationship between projects and communities of practice—redux




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