Tuesday 17 January 2017

More success factors for Communities of Practice

Building on yesterday's post, here is some more data on the success factors for CoPs.

As part of the Knoco 2014 survey on Knowledge Management, participants were asked whether Communities of Practice (CoPs) formed part of their KM approach. 73% answered Yes.  Interestingly, 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.

133 people then continued to answer supplementary questions about their CoPs. One of these questions covered the management components applied by CoPs, and another was the overall rating of teh effectiveness of the CoPs. We combined these questions in the table above, to find which of these management components had the most impact on effectiveness.

The "effectiveness impact" measure for each components in the table is calculated as the average effectiveness of CoPs where this component is present, divided by the average effectiveness when this component is absent.  For example, the average CoP effectiveness rating from people who said their CoPs had a way of interacting online was 30% higher than those who said they had no way to interact online.

So this table is a rough guide to the elements that need to be in place for CoP success. It is intersting that, after the "means of interacting online", the next five highest success factors are all related to governance:

  • A CoP charter
  • A set of CoP objectives
  • A business case
  • A focus on organisational goals, and
  • A leader.
These are interesting results, suggesting that the old concept of CoPs being loose, anarchic and free from governance does not work out in modern practice, and the CoPs that were identified as being most successful have developed a leadership and governance framework that provides a level of structure and direction to CoP activities.

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