Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Agile is not something you do, it is what you become as you embody its values and principles. A successful transformation changes your culture and how the organization thinks about delivering value to the customer. A Community of Practice (CoP) focused on Agility and cementing the Agile mindset can be a powerful force toward becoming an Agile organization.
In general, an Agile CoP creates opportunities for others to learn about Agile and for Agile teams to improve their Agility within and across teams. This is done through events, activities, and continuous support. CoPs are made of Agile change agents or anyone interested in the topic. They are volunteers driven by passion for positive change.
The CoP is responsible for:
· Distilling – To focus the community on the information that is worth paying attention to
· Learning – To find ways of making relevant information clear to its members
· Bridging – Bringing together experts, people, and resources to share, learn and grow
· Bonding – To foster a sense of community that identifies with common values and principles
CoP teams can be set up around topic groups that self-organize around specific interests. These groups are often made up of individuals that put their area of expertise to practice during the transformation. These are the proactive, natural leaders that emerge from the initiative. I have seen these teams form around many subjects in the past, but they generally organize around three main areas:
· The Agile Framework CoP – Focuses on the Scrum Framework and its components. It offers clarity and support around the different Scrum roles, events, artifacts, and practices.
· The Product Management CoP – Focuses on the product lifecycle management from concept to cash. It covers topics such as achieving customer success, portfolio management, and budgeting, among others.
· The Engineering Enablement CoP – Focuses on engineering practices that foster Agility. It provides access to knowledge and tools that improve quality, automation, and architectures, among other topics.
Organizations have different approaches to how CoPs are structured. The factors that influence the variations include size, geographical composition, topic needs, and access to subject matter experts. One common approach to a globally distributed organization is to have regional CoPs in different countries that are represented by a global CoP consul with access to the organization’s resources and leadership support.
Regardless of which CoPs and structure you implement in your organization, what is important is that you have an approach to move your new Agile culture forward. By establishing a CoP, you create an environment where everyone can share and learn from one another as the organization continues to grow.