Wednesday 4 June 2014

Bigger is better for CoPs - proven!

The Knoco survey of Knowledge Management practice is now complete, and is throwing up some very interesting results.

Some of them are new insights, some of them we have suspected for a long time, but now have firm evidence.

Here is one example of the latter.

as part of the survey, participants were asked whether Communities of Practice (CoPs) formed part of their KM approach.

The people who answered Yes (and therefore who incorporate CoPs in their KM programme), and who quoted a value delivery figure, said on average that they delivered $145 million in value from Knowledge Management. Those who answered No delivered on average $9.4 million.

This is itself a very interesting figure, reinforcing the value of Communities of Practice as part of a Knowledge Management Framework.

133 people then continued to answer supplementary questions about their CoPs.

One of these questions covered the average size of CoPs, and another was a subjective assessment (marks out of 5) of Community effectiveness in delivering value. From the plot shown here, there is a very close link between CoP size and perceived CoP effectiveness. Larger is better, and the largest CoPs were ranked as the most effective.

I think we always suspected this was the case, but the survey results confirm this in an indisputable manner.

However the survey also showed that the majority of CoPs are small - the modal size being 10 people, the median 50 and the mean 200.  There are a lot of organisations out there with very small Communities of Practice, delivering disappointing results. The message is clear - amalgamate them into a few, bigger ones.

Go here for more details of the survey results, and how to buy a copy.

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