The only thing representative about the week was that it was unrepresentative.

A CoP cannot be created, only facilitated.

From the Flow Model: Collaboration:

The major part of your role is collaboration

  • Within UKIT

  • Directly with PA

  • Identification of areas for USIT/UKIT collaboration

From the Flow Model: CoPs:

Only some groups are CoPs:

  • USIT/UKIT Management teams together are a CoP

  • Subgroups are not CoPs

  • WWIT is not a CoP

  • PC Team, Infrastructure team, Informatics—are not CoPs

There is evolution—WWIT may become a CoP

From the Flow Model: Media: You consciously choose the medium you use for communication.

You get communications breakdowns in the media.

The selection of the wrong media does cause problems.

Relationships do not grow electronically—you have to meet the people face-to-face first.

From the Flow Model: Distribution/Internationalisation: The short time window is a problem.

You need regular and frequent interaction—this lessens as one moves out of physical proximity.

Being aware that your communication partner is at his/her desk would not be of noticeable benefit.

Because you work with PA, you now have access to more expertise.

You ask PA for help with technical problems and collaborative projects.

Sometimes asking for help is not pre-planned—you just pick up the phone.

From the Flow Model: Learning and New Knowledge:

The easiest things for people to learn are technical things. It is harder to learn how things get done.

When something is finished you don't take stock and ascertain what you've learned from it.

From the Flow Model: Ad Hoc Communication:

A lot of your ad hoc communication is a result of physical proximity.

From the Sequence Model: Media:

Fast response and a shared artefact are of more use than bandwidth.

Getting to know the PA people has happened through visits and not at all through e-media.

Getting to know the people well has helped with issues of trust and confidence.

Knowing who you are talking to is sometimes a problem in e-media. The fact that you know the people so well does not help at all.

Your communication media need:

  • To be easy to set up and use

  • To have a fast response

  • To have shared artefact

From the Sequence Model: Gurus/Experts:

When you turn to a guru for help you let him/her do it—you don't learn from him or her.

When an expert leaves, the knowledge is easily replaced.

Having two people working at the same job (e.g., backups) is a waste of resources.

If you haven't got an expert in UKIT, you are stuck.

From the Sequence Model: Learning and New Knowledge:

You use your shared knowledge to create new knowledge.

Learning is dependent on serendipity.

Spending time with a mentor is valuable but doesn't often happen.

There is scope for facilitating more learning from each other in the group.

You do learn from and act upon past experience—your own and PA's.

As a group, you have recognised that you need to learn more effectively.

From the Sequence Model: Ad Hoc Communication:

Ad hoc communication is a key element of your communication.

Ad hoc communication takes place:

  • Electronically

  • Within formal settings

  • Drop-in

Ad hoc communication provides opportunities for:

  • Collaboration (even distributed)

  • Sharing information

  • Technical queries

  • Discussing issues/problem solving

From the Sequence Model: Knowledge Management Issues:


  • Loss of knowledge

  • Duplication of effort


  • To share knowledge

  • Spread the load

From the Sequence Model: Use of the planning document:

The Planning Document was more important than you realised.

The Planning Document was used for:

  • Communication with PA

The Planning Document was used for:

  • Communication with your teams

The Planning Document was used for:

  • To include input from your teams

The Planning Document was used for:

  • Planning

The Planning Document was used for:

  • Stimulating discussion

The Planning Document was used as a:

  • Collaboration catalyst

The Planning Document was used for:

  • Driving meetings

The Planning Document was used for:

  • Flagging up issues, problems and technical issues

The Planning Document was used for:

  • Applying knowledge from Bristol and PA to solve problems and technical issues

From the Cultural Model: Media:

You and your colleagues are happy in e-media but get to know each other

  • better face-to-face. Part of this is a cultural thing—you can understand

  • the culture better.

From the Cultural Model: Gurus/Experts:

Cultural difference: US has experts (people more focused on specific topics).

Bristol has to go for "Jack of all trades" approach—this can actually be beneficial.

Time is a problem—it is easier to grab the guru and get him/her to solve the problem than to learn about it and do it yourself.

From the Cultural Model: Ad Hoc Communication:

Ad hoc communication is part of the culture of the organisation.

Going Virtual(c) Distributed Communities of Practice
Going Virtual: Distributed Communities in Practice
ISBN: 1591402719
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 77
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