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NRM Gateway Initiative CoP Questions Banner

Communities of Practice (CoP) Questions

    Q. What is the purpose of your CoP?
    A. The Natural Resources Management (NRM) Gateway is serving as one of our communication tools for our CoP. This site is designed to be the one place that Natural Resources Managers and Staff go for information that enables them do their job more effectively, providing information the way managers manage. The site is an integration of people, policies, programs, and practices.

    Q. What are your CoP's functions?
    A. The NRM Gateway revolves around three frames; internal, external, and exportable. In all three frames we focus on improved communications, identifying procedures, best practices (good enough to share) and providing tools for managers to assist the public in information collection. The internal audience is our first priority; we are now creating a subset of the NRM Gateway for public access.

    Q. What are your priority sub-CoP's that you are working on?
    A. There are four areas the NRM Gateway supports: Recreation (business line), Environmental Stewardship (ES, sub-line of Environment), Environmental Compliance (Civil Works ubiquitous) and Partnerships (Recreation and ES).

    Q. What are the specific roles in your CoP/sub-Cop?
    A. The NRM Gateway is created by a network of NRM folks, one Project Leader, one Webmaster, one Editor, multiple HQ proponents, Technical Coordinators for each of the CoPs, Steering Committees (PDT) for each of the four areas, Field Reviewers, and Content Subject Matter Experts. The requirements of our SMEs are provided on the site; as well as, the Field Reviewers appointments. We also have protocols for the Technical Coordinator positions.

    Q. What are the products and services that are offered to the CoP?
    A. Currently archived knowledge is our first product. Each of our program areas provides a key to Policies, Program Summaries, Good Enough to Share (Best Practices), Lessons learned, Frequently Asked Questions, District and Division POCs for each area. Development of "Lake Discovery" to attract participation by CoP members outside the Corps.

    Q. What are the tools that you provide your CoP to be efficient?
    A. Periodic Leadership Team meetings and support to a variety of project delivery teams and special topic committees. (See Recreation Leadership Advisory Team and Stewardship Advisory Team) In addition, Webcast tools (PlaceWare) are used to disseminate presentations to the field.

    Q. What processes or techniques do you use for your CoP success?
    A. Identification of and posting of information by Subject Matter Experts vetted by Headquarters point of contact. Content Development Workshops are used as the means to obtain information from the SMEs.

    Q. What behaviors or cultural traits does your CoP exhibit that makes it a success?
    A. CoP members make an effort to share practices and utilize tested procedures. Members use creative ways to expose other CoP members to the Gateway to increase participation (e.g. "Treasure Hunts") and incorporate Gateway participation as elements in staff "TAPES."

    Q. What are the major items that cost the most in your CoP activities?
    A. Staff time to support content development workshops, Knowledge Management training, and Website maintenance.

    Q. What are do you believe are your best practices or pitfalls that you would want to pass along to others who are starting up a CoP?
    A. The key to the success of the Gateway is that we have engaged field staff in the design and development of the site. It has become "their place" to find the information they need to do their job. We have been careful to not overreach by starting too many things without finishing them in a timely manner. We have tied our activities into frameworks developed by professional organizations (e.g. National Recreation and Park Association) to attract participation by non-Corps CoP members. The culture of the Natural Resources Management staff is one of sharing information; this is a potential pitfall in other business lines where there is not a sharing culture.

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