When you are running a CoP it is a good practice (not a best practice !) to regularly measure the heart beat of the community.
For this purpose I developed a simple checklist, organised around 5 axes :
– Purpose (WHY) … scope, objective, goal, mission
– Processes (HOW) … practices, procedures, roles
– People (WHO) … identity, trust, reputation
– Place (WHERE) … systems, tools, technology
– Paper (WHAT) … documentation, learning history
In a simple way, you can monitor a community’s status (maturity) on each of these axes.
It is not rocket science and highly subjective, but it is a good framework to organize the action points around.
Both for starting up new Communities of practice or for doing a check up on an existing one.
The output can be represented in a single (simple again !!) spider chart like this :
Absolute accuracy is not the purpose, but the chart can be a great help to reveal issues and start actions. In this example, there was not a clear shared goal of the CoP and as a consequence, no clear processes were in place to achieve this.
One major principle to remember is that all ‘P’- principles are equally important. Over-investing in one will not compensate for ignoring another.
In the next posts, I will deal with each of the ‘P’-axes in some more detail.