Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Cost of Community




I'm in the midst of teaching Managing Project Quality at a local college and I had a small realization I thought I would share.

First of all for those not familiar with the principles of Cost of Quality (CoQ), here is an excellent, concise description from the American Society for Quality:

The "cost of quality" isn't the price of creating a quality product or service. It's the cost of not creating a quality product or service.

Every time work is redone, the cost of quality increases. Obvious examples include:

  • The reworking of a manufactured item.
  • The retesting of an assembly.
  • The rebuilding of a tool.
  • The correction of a bank statement.
  • The reworking of a service, such as the reprocessing of a loan operation or the replacement of a food order in a restaurant.

In short, any cost that would not have been expended if quality were perfect contributes to the cost of quality.

So I was thinking about this while working to establish and build a Community of Practice (CoP) at a different enterprise (in other words, not the college). And perhaps it's the fact that alphabetically, CoP and CoQ are only one letter away...but I realized that some of the pushback I was getting from the enterprise about establishing the Community of Practice was in the following form:

  • "We're too busy"
  • "We don't have time"
  • "All our projects are in crisis mode"
  • "We keep making the same mistakes"
  • "We're just too busy"
  • "We're really just too busy", and just for good measure,
  • "We're really just too %*#&@ busy"
In other words, I realized, they didn't want to invest 'cost', in the form of time, into Community because they weren't seeing the value the Community would provide, just as some manufacturers don't see the value that Quality can bring, so they just keep producing junk, servicing it, getting complaints, getting sued, and continuing the "We're too busy" refrain as they death-spiral out of existence.

So think about it. If you have a community of project managers, you may easily have thousands -perhaps tens of thousands -of years of experience to draw from, and more realistically, you have hundreds of project artifacts, templates, and just plain old "don't step in that!" types of warnings to benefit from. With not-too-much investment, you can tame that information into knowledge and wisdom from which you will greatly benefit. And guess what? You will actually have MORE time. Time spent up front saves much more time later.

That's the Cost of Community (or Community of Practice) equation.

Don't get caught on the wrong side.

7 comments:

For Rent By Owner said...

I think community need a great money and great idea from different peoples...
Thanks for the post....

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