A community is a unique type of network that originates from a common desire, by many people, to work closely together, in informal ways, in order to better share knowledge with each other, learn new content and experiment.
- Informal organization – a community does not need traditional management, formal supervision or hierarchy, in order to function effectively. A community is not a replication of an existing organizational structure that is flipped from vertical orientation to horizontal. A community does not need to have a ‘special permission’ to be formed, although light sponsorship (venue, food, refreshments, supplies, etc.) is always helpful.
- Media For Functional Learning – a community is created to bring people with similar learning interests – together. Community members should have a similar sense of purpose, and a desire to share work-related knowledge and experience, through communication and collaboration. Within communities, great ideas can be born – and can be later implemented in work settings.
- Self-Organized – although a community may have a naturally emerged (often, elected) community organizer/moderator(s), (s)he has a minimal function and it is mostly light – administrative. A community organizer may also have a deeper expertise with forming communities and a subject matter (in community – related matters).
- By Volunteering – people cannot be forced into a community and should not be expelled from them, unless they breach, agreed upon, community rules. A community will exist for as long as it presents interest to its members.
Communities can be local and global, internal (e.g. company) and public. The same person can become a member of multiple communities, based on his/her interests.
A community should have a Code of Ethics and Values, such as: respect for each other, safety, equality, right of voice, appropriateness of language/tone, spectrum of topics that are considered to be appropriate to discuss (e.g. based on shared interests of members).
- Community participation/membership is strongly supported within an organization (by executive membership)
- There is some degree of organizational sponsorship (e.g. availability of venue, budget for food) for communities
- Community learning/discovery becomes an effective learning source and input to executives, for decision making
- There is active recruitment of participants (people can easily a community, at will)
- There is a focus on problem-solving goals and functional learning— they make learning practical and concrete
- Community members have agreed on how they should work and make decisions (e.g. to Code of Conduct, Ethics)
- Community coordinator has passion and desire to cultivate a strong community that cares; preferably someone who is an active hands-on practitioner
- Community creates an environment of safety and comfort, for people to express their thinking, sentiments and disagreements
- For large communities, there is a community co-leadership (e.g. co-organizers), for major decision-making
- For large community events, there are multiple, skilled facilitators available (not only one person)
- If a community outlives itself and its purpose no longer brings value or generates interest for its members, it could be dissolved
- Community is an ex-organizational vertical, flipped on its side, with characteristics of a traditional organizational vertical (reporting alignment, management, mandatory participation, performance appraisals, bonuses)
- Community coordinator/leader has explicit hierarchical superiority over other community members
- Community coordinator/leader monopolizes community activities and/or selfishly uses his/her position as a stepping stone for career advancement
- Community agenda is defined from above or from outside and is pushed upon its members, without their explicit consent
- Community events become a platform/media for hard-selling ideas, best practices, “rules of the road”, etc. (e.g. similar to a town hall)
- Community participation is weak and/or members are not comfortable to participate and contribute, due to fear or other concerns
- Community events are stale or boring (deck-driven, monotonic)
- Community discussions deviate on a tangent too much and lead to elaborate discussions that are too far from a community’s main purpose and shared interests, and therefore create a distraction for members (create high ratio of noise-to-signal)
Types of Community Events
- Presentation of structured educational content by community leader or anyone else, followed by an open discussion or Q&A
- Guest-speaker presentation on a relevant topic, followed by an open discussion or Q&A
- Panel discussion of a selected/relevant topic, mixed with Q&A
- Case study or experience report discussion
- Multi-team discussions/exercises, with frequent convergence-divergence
- Visual collaboration (e.g. dot-voting)
- Gaming, performing exercises (e.g. system modelling)
- Scrum Alliance -the organization, whose mission is to “guide and inspire individuals, leaders, and organizations with practices, principles, and values that create workplaces that are joyful, prosperous, and sustainable”
- Agile Alliance – “is a nonprofit organization with global membership, committed to advancing Agile development principles and practices.”
- less.works – Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) official site and community
- Scrum.org – is the organization with global reputation. “Founded by Scrum co-creator Ken Schwaber, Scrum.org provides Professional Scrum Assessments and Training through our global community to help individuals, teams and organizations improve their ability to deliver software with higher levels of value and agility.“
- The International Consortium for Agile – is globally known organization that offers “…knowledge and competency-based certifications in the diverse disciplines needed to sustain organizational agility.”
NYC Communities & Meet-Ups
- Large Scale Scrum -NYC (LinkedIn)
- Large Scale Scrum – NYC
- Product Management Group – NYC
- Big Apple Business Agility (BABA)
- YouTube “Adaptive Ecosystems”
- Large Scale Scrum Communities -Globally
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