Integrating communities of practice in technology development projects

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International Journal of Project Management, Vol: 22, Issue: 5, Page: 351-358

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Garrety, Karin; Robertson, Paul L; Badham, Richard
article description
Development projects usually benefit when expertise is drawn from diverse sources, including potential users. Orchestrating the involvement of disparate groups requires finding a balance between differentiation, when teams work separately, and integration, when groups meet to exchange knowledge. This paper argues that a ‘‘community of practice’’ perspective can help project managers achieve this balance, by drawing attention to the assumptions, interests, skills, and formal and tacit knowledge of the different groups involved. Using a case study as illustration, we show that integration can be achieved by ensuring that the developing technology is comprehensible to all groups concerned, and that it satisfies their various interests.