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Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge by William Snyder, Richard A. McDermott, Etienne Wenger

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CHAPTER four

The Early Stages of Development

Planning and Launching Communities of Practice

IT IS 1994. AFTER TEN YEARS OF ADVANCED TECHNICAL development Auger, the Deepwater Tension Leg Platform developed by Shell Oil’s U.S. division, begins operation in the Gulf of Mexico. Anchored to the ocean floor by high-tension wires, it floats on the surface, gently rocking with the waves, as it pumps 90,000 barrels of oil and 300 million cubic feet of gas a day.1

When Shell first started deepwater exploration in the Gulf, the division was organized by function. Now that Auger was operational, the company needed to improve efficiency and replicate the design. Shell redesigned its deepwater operation so that the core organizational units were cross-disciplinary ...

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