Re: US Army KM Manual, August 2008 #CoP

Allan Crawford



You might want to look at what Fluor Corporation does with CoP’s.  These are very much in line with Mike Gardner’s comments around communities with “defined goals that support the business.”


If you are not familiar with it, Fluor is a global engineering and construction company with offices in something like 25 countries.  They have 47,000 employees.


Fluor has something on the order of 44 communities.  Their communities are directly aligned with their functional organizations.  So for example if they have a functional group that is for their construction engineers, they would have a parallel Knowledge CoP that is lead by the same person that leads the functional organization. 


As I understand it, participation in the CoP’s is voluntary, but leadership roles are formally assigned and are part of people’s formal job descriptions.


In a recent presentation to the SIKMleaders group, John McQuary, who leads Fluor’s KM effort said that the purpose of their communities is to:


þ      Leverage the collective intellectual capital of all employees

þ      Provide optimal solutions to customers

þ      Enhance skill sets of employees

þ      Provide Global access to knowledge


The following is a link to McQuary’s presentation.


You also might want to take a look at a relatively recent article by Richard McDermott, which is also posted on the SIKMleaders site – entitled Building Healthy Communities.  In the article Richard talks about the difference between informal and strategic communities as well as the role of leadership.


Hope this helps,




Allan Crawford



From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of Gardner, Mike
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 5:51 AM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: RE: [sikmleaders] Re: US Army KM Manual, August 2008


In answer to your questions (Gian) I think in some ways you are talking about the difference between a Community of Practice and a Community of Interest (I may be simplifying things a little). A Community of Practice is normally set up with a defined goal of supporting the business in some way. In this case the business often designates at least some of the members of the community. As the aim is to deliver in direct line with the business objectives there will normally be a direct reporting line in to the business and if the community loses members, has no volunteers, then the business itself may try to volunteer members to continue the delivery.


A Community of Interest is set up based on a group of people being interested in a topic. If the numbers dwindle to not being a functioning community then the community should probably be closed down (until sufficient interest is generated to start it up again). The alternative would be that the business decides it is an essential function and changes it to become a Community of Practice and nominates members for that community to ensure it delivers against the business requirements.


Both types of community are valid and can both exist in a single organisation.


Mike Gardner
EDS CIO EKM Team - EDS Taxonomist & Content Rationalization Leader

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From: [] On Behalf Of gjagai
Sent: 13 October 2008 13:23
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: US Army KM Manual, August 2008

Hi John,

Thanks for posting the link to Nancy's article I had not seen it before.

It created a couple question that I hope the SIKMers can help with.
The questions assume a corporate environment.

1. What happens when there is a need for a community but no volunteers
for it? Or there are some volunteers early but they get burned out
along the way?

2. Does it violate the community spirit if someone is assigned the
role via their job description/responsibilities?

3. Can the core team of a community be designated, or must it be organic?


--- In, "John D. Smith" ...>
> It would be hard to do better on communities of practice in the US Army
> than:
> Nancy M. Dixon, Nate Allen, Tony Burgess, Pete Kilner, and Steve
> CompanyCommand: Unleashing the Power of the Army Profession (New
York: The
> Center for the Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational
> Learning, West Point, 2005).
> John
> *
> * John D. Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype: smithjd
> * Portland, Oregon, USA
> * see
> * "Everything that lives, / Lives not alone, nor for itself." — William
> Blake
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
[] On
> Behalf Of sswarup44
> Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 12:12 PM
> To:
> Subject: [sikmleaders] US Army KM Manual, August 2008
> For the benefit of our SI/KM members I have posted US Army KM Manual
> in the Files section. I recently came across this manual.
> Some of the positive comments on this KM Manual
> 1. Fairly comprehensive KM Manual
> 2. Good history of KM in the Army
> 3. Rightly emphasizes the need to do a pilot first and then scale up.
> 4. Figure 1-3: Agree with the range of KM strategies
> 5. Figure 1-4: Good job of explaining DIKW - Data, Information,
> Knowledge and Wisdom
> Suggested improvements in the KM Manual:
> 1. Figure 3-1 KM process chart is confusing
> 2. Para 1-3: I take exception to the statement that "KM is an art..."
> I disagree since KM is a process and not an art;
> 3. Communities of Practice are not mentioned
> 4. Expertise Locator System is not mentioned
> 5. Lot of Army specific acronyms, however the index and glossary do a
> good job of explaining.
> Sanjay Swarup
> Program Manager KM
> ManTech International
> sanjay.swarup@...
> 301.866.4315
> ------------------------------------
> Yahoo! Groups Links

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