Blog » Setting up a Core Team

Setting up a Core Team

Created Mar 30 2021, 10:41 AM by Communities Reinvented
  • Start a CoP


  • The Core Team is the group of people who are responsible for and fully invested in developing the community
  • The Core Team is the driving force behind a Community of Practice
  • Form a Core Team by identifying essential roles in building a Community of Practice such as a Community Manager, Community Leader, KM Advisor(s), and ensure that they work well together


What is a Core Team? 

A Community of Practice (CoP) consists of different people with different levels of commitment to making it successful, providing content, answering questions, creating posts and so on. The Core Team is the driving force behind a CoP.

The Core Team is the group of people who are responsible for and fully invested in developing the community. Typically, the Core Team consists of people whose work program specifically includes working on the CoP. 



Why is a Core Team Important?

Community building is a group effort. Hosting alone is a recipe for failure. If you don’t already have partners, you need to identify the people who are going to support your efforts. 

Think of a community as a project. Just like a project, a community needs a dedicated team to advance its purpose and agenda. The Core Team is the governing and executive body – the group of people who run the community.

How do you form a Core Team?

There are many different ways in which a Core Team can be formed, depending on context.

Start small...

You can start small with just 3 to 5 people. You would have the initial idea for a community and would be the chief instigator. Then how do you decide who else to bring on board? 

  • Similar interests: look for individuals who are like-minded and have the same interest in the domain and purpose of the community. 
  • Complementary skills: try not to recruit the same type of person, meaning, you can’t all be creative. It works so much better if you have, say, a creative person and a process person, a big-picture person and a detail-oriented person.
  • Passion: the first two to join the Core Team should share your passion about the domain 
  • Existing relationship:  if you already have a professional and personal relationship with people who would be a good fit for the Core Team, that always helps.
  • Technical expertise:  in the beginning, technical expertise in the domain will be important as you need to establish credibility with prospective members and stakeholders.

...Or start larger

In a different scenario, the size of the initial Core Team could be much larger. For example, you could have a group of 8-9 people working on the same team within the same department who form a Core Team around the same goal. Or you might have a Core Team of people formed by the Ministers of Health or Ministers of Education from several different countries that all need equal representation on the team.

Start by hosting a discussion 

Another model for an initial Core Team formation is to host a demo and discussion: you could introduce the vision for a potential CoP and then go around an actual or virtual roundtable to ask colleagues or stakeholders from other teams or organizations to build upon “What would success look like?” regarding the proposed CoP. As part of this meeting, you can ask or invite participants to join the Core Team. 

Setting Your Core Team Up for Success 

Having people helping out is great, but it is not enough. What makes a group of people a team is how well they work together. It is not complicated to get a few people, assign tasks among them, and hope for the best. But it does not guarantee success. You want to be deliberate and intentional about building a strong Core Team for your community. 

What are the key elements of a successful Core Team? 

  • Roles and responsibilities: clarify who is going to do what and the commitment of time and effort; identify essential roles such as a Community Leader, Community Manager, KM Advisor
  • Retention and motivation: ensure that Core Team members actually allocate the time necessary to be part of the Core Team, that they are motivated, but also authorized (by their manager or someone else) to spend time as part of the Core Team.
  • Ways of working: clarify and agree on how Core Team members are going to work together (clear and frequent communication, established meeting rhythm, etc.)
  • Learning and reflection: establish a process for reflecting and refining the Core Team’s practices.

This article is part of the WBG Communities of Practice Toolkit licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The toolkit features practical resources to help you develop impactful Communities of Practice. 📖 Learn more about the Toolkit.  ▶ Access the Toolkit.