Case Study: Implementing Professional Communities of Practice into a large, complex IT Organisation


Leading Financial Services organisation with IT staff of 1500 across multiple sites.


IT organisation needed to make step change improvement in cost and performance. Previous transformation attempts had left the workforce dis-engaged and cynical about the future.

The Challenge

  • Process transformation would revamp all project management and IT processes leading to efficient & consistent ways of working to enable confident & predictable delivery
  • People transformation – introduction of a high performance culture and raising the bar on expected skills and behaviours. Introducing IT professionalism and knowledge sharing.
  • Organisational – more use of third party suppliers, flexible resourcing and assignment based working
  • Raise engagement in transformation programme


 Results & Benefits

  • Transformational change
  • Replacement of inefficient processes – external CMMI accreditation
  • Improved throughput of delivery
  • Significantly improved knowledge sharing between IT professionals & teams
  • 10 percentage point improvement in levels of employee engagement & satisfaction
  • Recruitment and re-balancing of permanent to contractor roles
  • Strategic workforce development and pro-active management of talent



  • Agree the strategic context for communities of practice
  • Engage & educate key stakeholders. Agree design principles with key stakeholders
  • Support the introduction of communities by providing resources (including people), best practice from other organisations and a programme management structure
  • Get going – identify the areas of high potential / high value to enable communities of practice to focus on delivering business benefit as soon as possible
  • Integrate with business as usual processes
  • Research external and internal best practice and incorporate into the framework

Success Factors

  • Engagement of all members and stakeholders – encourage the community to grow from within. Coach & mentor rather than direct action.
  • Focus on business context for each community – exploit high potential areas – do not force the same model and same business agenda on all
  • Learn from others – create strong community amongst the community leaders
  • Inclusion of all employees into at least one community

Project Deliverables

  • Community events – both high profile / high energy launch and then regular community events to engage members
  • Delivery of resources and management infrastructure for 7 communities of practice
  • Amended resource utilisation model to allow professionals to contribute to the community
  • Recognition for high value contributors to the community
  • Standard professional profiles – career paths aligned to organisational strategy
  • SFIA skills matrix:  SFIA skills levels and skills profiles aligned to roles.
  • Amended people management processes such as promotions , recruitment processes and criteria
  • Practice roles defined and implemented – sponsors, owners leaders, process owners volunteers
  • Newly designed processed deployed consistently and accredited at CMMi Level 3
  • Active knowledge sharing communities using face to face, peer training and support and intranet based solutions

Speed bumps & pitfalls to overcome

  • Getting the balance right; organic growth versus formal programme
  • The right people to lead the communities were in demand elsewhere
  • Gaining initial buy in and support and then once up and running keeping the community agenda manageable and business focussed
  • Obtaining time from busy professionals in a delivery focused organisation