Blog » Minimum Viable Community: Designing the concept and prototype of your Community of Practice
What is a Minimum Viable Community?
A Minimum Viable Community (MVC) is the minimum you need to start a Community of Practice (CoP). An MVC could be a 3-person Core Team with a general concept and vision for what the desired Community of Practice might look like. Or it could be a group of people sharing a keen interest on a given topic, or in developing a certain skill set that starts to interact on a regular basis.
Why start with a Minimum Viable Community?
A common mistake in setting up a new CoP is being too ambitious. Sometimes we see people who are very enthusiastic about a given topic and who wish to engage others. But instead of doing something about it, they write a concept note which outlines a very ambitious plan, then they struggle to get started.
Starting with an MVC does just that: it gets you started. You start looking for partners and allies who would potentially become your Core Team. You start building these relationships. You start fleshing out the concept and the vision a little more. Together with these few partners and allies, you start being a community, albeit a small one.
Once you have an MVC, you have a prototype, you have something tangible you can experiment with by bringing more people and further defining the scope and nature of the community.
How do you develop a Minimum Viable Community?
When you are first getting started with your community, there will be a lot of unknowns. While ultimately you will want to develop a fully-fledged Community Charter, in the beginning you can start with a condensed version of it: a mini Charter.
Get together with your Core Team - or your group of partners or allies, if you don’t have an ‘official’ Core Team just yet - and brainstorm around the questions below, which are built around the CoP Framework. The responses you come up with will constitute your Minimum Viable Community.
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