Category: Communities of practice

Posts about communities of practice

A community and a practice are not the same, but they are brilliant together

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I have worked with Communities of Practice in organisations for several years. One recent trend I have seen is people using the term community when talking about the more formal construct of a practice. When people overlook the attributes and values of a community, they miss out on what makes a community of practice magic,  this post will explain the differences and overlaps.

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Daily Outside Photo: Adding a bit of humanness to your Slack group

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A quick post to share something that makes me smile. A slack* channel, yes another one, but it is one worth having.

Many of us are working from home, one of the challenges that come with this is leaving the house. It’s important to get outside to take a break, get some air and move our bodies. I find making public commitments a big motivator, so I started a slack channel in one of the communities I run called #daily-outside-photo. The point is to get outside, while there take a photo and share it with the channel. I love this channel. I love seeing people’s pictures and short comments. It brightens up my day.

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Social group sizes, Dunbar’s number and implications for communities of practice

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Communities of practice have a significant impact on organisations for all the reasons which I have spoken about in my book and many times on stage. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to explore the correlation between communities of practice and natural human communities with evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar. This led to a paper published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, co-authored with Dunbar.

Webber E, Dunbar RIM. 2020 The fractal structure of communities of practice: implications for business organisation

What it shows us is that the business world has a lot that it can learn from evolutionary psychology and natural social communities.

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Facilitation feedback tool

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Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement

Helen Timperley and John Hattie

Many of us facilitate workshops or agile habits regularly and we know if a workshop has gone well if the outcomes are useful. There are also lots of elements of facilitation that we don’t often get feedback on. So here is a tool I use to help think about and frame facilitation feedback.

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Posters to show how awesome communities of practice are

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Update, the posters are no longer available, but you can learn more about communities of practice in my book and you can download my community of practice tools and templates here.

If you regularly read my blog, then you will know that communities of practice are my specialist subject and core to a lot of the work that I do. I help lots of organisations who are building their specialist skills in digital and agile delivery and those communities form an essential foundation for just that.

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Mapping skills and capabilities with communities of practice

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I first wrote about skills mapping in my book Building successful communities of practice. This post digs a little deeper into identifying skills and capabilities with communities of practice.

Skills and capability maps help organisations identify gaps and where to invest in skills development. So it makes sense that many want to create them.

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Agile On The Bench, Successes And Learnings

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Recently I blogged about the Agile on the Bench conference, a minimum viable conference in a campsite that I ran with David Lowe. It happened last Saturday, 25th July and it was an awesome day. The speakers and audience were fantastic and, much like our lunchtime events, the sun came out, despite the heavy rain the day before. In my last post I talked about what we were trying to achieve and here I’ll talk about the successes, what we learnt, where we could improve and share the conference budget.

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Building a (delivery) community a talk at Agile Cambridge

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This week I had the great pleasure of talking about communities at Agile Cambridge, a fantastic 3 day conference set in the grounds of a Cambridge college. My talk was specifically about building a community of practice and how we have built the agile delivery community at Government Digital Service. Communities is a topic close to my heart and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people that were either trying to build their own, or whose organisations had realised the huge value of them and were tasking people with building one.

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Talking about communities and learning at Agile 25×20

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Last week I spoke at the awesome new meetup Agile 25×20 which is run by Mike Pearce of Moo.

The event is based on pecha kucha, speakers have 25 slides, all of which auto advance after 20 seconds. So 8 mins 20 seconds in total, with a chance for questions at the end. For the audience, this means that talks are short and to the point, there isn’t the time for speakers to dwell on slides. For the speakers, this means being prepared; 20 seconds can seem like a really short time when you have a lot to say, or a long time if you run out and you’re waiting for the slide to progress. It also means being really clear in what the focus of your talk is. As a speaker, I like the weighting on questions as I prefer a conversational style and the relaxed group (and beer) help the post talk conversations too.

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