The AMA Handbook of Project Management

By Paul C. Dinsmore; Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 29
Communities of Practice and
Project Management

?CONNIE L DELISLE, PHD, CONSULTING AND AUDIT CANADA

? KIM ROWE, P.ENG, ROWEBOTS RESEARCH INC.

A great deal of effort has been invested in understanding the value of knowledge and, when applied, its role in shaping society. But few organizations have consistently translated knowledge about the human and technical aspects of successful projects into successful delivery of new projects.

Navigation through a project life cycle often results in project failure, despite application of best-ever tools and technology. Yet the human behavior aspect of project management continues to be the poor cousin to technical solutions. What organizational structures or patterns can optimize human behavior on projects?


OVERVIEW: COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE

The recent prolification of Communities of Practice (CoPs) in the public, private, and non-profit sectors seems indicative of the need to address this question. Communities of Practice in a business context are characterized as "social networks that individuals use to make sense of the workplace around them and develop a common understanding of the meaning of their roles in projects and to the organization."1 Arguably, CoPs have resided within organizations and in many different facets of society in the form of non-profit groups and community groups for many years, in both face-to-face and virtual forms. Many

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