Coming together is beginning; Keeping together is progress; Working together is success[Henry Ford].

One of the biggest challenges many organizations face is harmonizing practices, processes and tools across teams and business units. And as organization scales sustaining the same culture across the organization becomes a key success factor, hence there is also a constant need for people to share knowledge and develop their craftsmanship by breaking the barriers of traditional boundaries. This is the purpose and role of guilds and huddles.

Jurgen Appelo in his book #Workout gives great insights on ‘Business Guilds and Corporate Huddles’. I would like to share my experiences and stories being part of different community of practices and inspirations from Jurgen’s book #workout.

Community of Practices are informal group of people with a mission of sharing practical knowledge in one or more relevant domains. COPs are not new, in different contexts, people use different names such as learning communities, community of interests, tech clubs, centers of excellence, improvement communities, professional associations, TGIF groups, Fun committee and so on. The CoPs at Spotify also referred as Guilds [Kniberg, “Scaling @ Spotify”]. Though there are different names intent remains the same “learning through collaboration“.

In past, I have been part of Test Optimization initiative back in my Honeywell days where a group of testing folks from different teams came together to improve the testing function (harmonize tools, share best practices) and learn from each other. Also, been part of a 5S and Kaizen group which had a mission to help all teams to improve their 5S practices and drive continuous improvements Kaizen culture in teams. Another interesting group which i was part of was ‘Harbingers’ – software engineers put together to drive creativity and brainstorming discussions across teams for harvesting innovation ideas. Been part of experts working group while i was in Schneider, focus was on to improve Software/System standards in energy domain.

Currently i am part of Agile CoP with a purpose of connecting and leveraging Agile coaching experiences and learning to create a common platform for coaching people during the agile transformation. I always been very enthusiastic about joining communities and serve for a bigger purpose cutting across team boundaries, however was seldom part of any guilds or CoPs from initiation. Recently got opportunity to kick-on few  CoPs and guilds i want to share my story put together with great ideas from Jurgen’s #workout.

How did i kick-on a Scrum Masters and Product Owners Community.

  • Invited all the respective people from different teams who are needed to participate in the community. ( pre-booked meeting rooms and sent meeting invites in advance)
  • Explained them the purpose of forming the guild
  • Involved people in crafting the vision and goals to bring in focus and clarity of what are we targeting to achieve
  • Created an alliance (i don’t like to call it rules) – As a community what do we pledge and adhere to
  • Lastly, Took a commitment from people for participation

So what are you waiting for, want to kick-start a new CoP or guild and don’t know how to do it. Keep it simple-

  • Choose what topic are you most passionate about (technology, discipline, or role)
    which kind of work do you believe is needed of some harmonization across the organization?
  • Who in your organization are interested in this topic and might be eager to join your cause?
  • Organize a first meeting and start discussing tools, processes, procedures, people, and policies. you may not want to say in the first meeting that we are gonna have a guild, show value to the people and ask whether they would like to meet again and discuss further.Once people start saying, “This meeting was awesome! Can we do this again soon?” you have a good reason to suggest the formation of a CoP or a guild.
  • Explore how you can socialize your guild or CoP using internal networking tools, such as wikis and other collaborative platforms, helps creating a buzz
  • And don’t forget to have fun while learning and sharing (Pizza party or working lunch are sometimes worth trying).

For more information read #Workout

Keep calm and kick on, good luck with your guilds and CoPs , please share your story.

Live with Passion

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