I helped to organise a large (60+) Scrum Master community of practice.
Some of the lessons learned include:
- If you have people distributed over several sites or even in different countries then a regular phone/video conference helps (we ran ours every 2 weeks). If you can, make sure that audio quality is good, using a digital connection with headsets often works best.
- Nothing is better than face-to-face though, so even if you have phone/video conferences then still try and organise frequent face-to-face meetings.
- Try and get a budget for the community. This can help with things like travel to face-to-face meetings, food/drink for meetings and with brining in external speakers.
- If your organisation is large or very dispersed, I recommend having local ‘chapters’. These are small communities that meet locally and feed their discussions in to the wider community.
- Try and get the meet-ups at the most convenient time possible. I favour having the community vote on the timing (which day of the week, what time of the day, etc.). You may want to consider having the meetings at two times during a week as some people may not be able to make one particular time.
- Consider if you want the community to be setting standards. You can do something like saying that if there is a unanimous vote for a standard in the community, that then gets rolled out across the whole organisation. Be careful with this though, as it needs to be coordinated with your organisation’s management.
One challenge you may encounter is having ‘dominant’ personalities that take over the conversation at community meetings. If this is a possibility I would recommend using a meeting format where everyone gets a chance to speak.