New name for "COP"

Hey there,

it has been discussed before, but we didn’t come to a conclusion yet (as far as I know):
COP stands for “Community Of Practice” as you know (see Project structure discussion – Neos Sprint 2015 – Frankfurt for a rough description) but that name is quite cryptic, especially when abbreviated of course.

I bring it up again because we plan to manage COPs and their members centrally via crowd in order to be able to render this information on the (new) neos website. Therefore we need a ubiquitous name for it.

At some point it was suggested to just call it group.
Personally I’m opposed to that as having teams and groups side by side would be quite confusing in my opinion.

Some names I could think of:

  • realm
  • division
  • topic

What do you think?

Note: If we really go that route of centralizing the COPs, creating a new COP would have to be an explicit step that has an impact on the neos website. Consequently we shouldn’t create one for every little topic, regulars’ table style. Obviously everyone can create a topic_* Slack Channel as before.

FYI: Some rough ideas on how the “teams”-page could be kept in sync (semi)-automatically:

Some suggestions, the point of the image is to make it easier to “try out” how the words combine with the different words that are used to describe the different “personal itches”

Thanks for creating an opportunity to settle this, makes sense to come up with something more fitting.

Let’s focus the naming and ignore technical details for now.

The definition (still to be refined) of COP is: Project structure discussion – Neos Sprint 2015 – Frankfurt

In addition to that, we’ve discussed that some COPs will be well defined while others more vaguely defined. I’d suggest that we only keep track of members for the well defined ones and make that visible. There might actually be a need to distinguish between the two, since COPs have responsibilities, but certain topics could have shared interests but no desire for those responsibilities.

Some COP examples:

  • Brand
  • Marketing
  • Product strategy
  • Operations
  • Product strategy
  • JavaScript

Some topic examples:

  • Domain Driven Design
  • User experience
  • Elasticsearch
  • Cloud hosting
  • Hosting
  • Postgres
  • Redis

There should never be a topic channel and a COP about the same field and the natural progression would be to transition from a topic channel to a COP, when they start having regular meetings and solving tasks together.

We should strive to limit the amount of these to have ones that are active on a “regular basis”, but allow them since it benefits the community in general.

Then we additionally have project channels at the moment. I’d suggest we try to incorporate those into the structure, so we don’t have four different things. I see the existing ones usually have burst of activity, and should probably be topic channels instead.

Some project examples:

  • CKEditor
  • Taxonomy
  • Red carpet
  • Decisions
  • Symfony Flow

I not sure how many different definitions we need or if the COP need to be more flexible to cover more of them, however it influences the naming since all those we decide to have should be named in a way that makes sense together.

Other possible names:

  • Squad (military)
  • Guild
  • Community

Personally think Guild is very fitting as replacement for COP

One suggestion could be:

  • Team

  • Topic

  • Guild

1 Like

Thanks for adding all this information.
I just want to chime-in regarding one issue I see:

My main problem with group is that it isn’t easily distinguished from team… The distinction for me is that the team is about the people and their skills and the COP is about the topic itself. So

except for “topic” those have the same issue IMO

According to the definition on Wikipedia, there’s a clear distinction.

Team = "A team is a group of people or other animals linked in a common purpose"
Guild = “A guild is an association of artisans or merchants who control the practice of their craft in a particular town”

A team is a group of people with many different crafts working on a shared tasks.
A guild is a group of people who share and protect a certain craft.

But do you have a suggestion that doesn’t have that problem?

The thing is that they’re both groups, but different kinds so it makes sense they are similar. Unlike a topic, which is not an accountable group of people.
When I heard the word guild, I think of large groups whereas when I think of teams I think of smaller groups.

Hey everybody,

I personally like guild and have seen that also in some organizations already :smile:

All the best,

1 Like

As said I like “topic” or “realm” for example and I could imagine that quite well on the website:

  • Teams
  • Team 1
  • Team 2
  • Topics
    • Brand
    • Marketing

Each topic landing page with an introduction and a list of “members”.
Spotify calls it guild for example:

I guess, that could work for us as well

Topic doesn’t indicate it’s a group that has members to me. Also this only works if there’s no distinguishing between a topic and a community of practice.

Personally dislike realm, associates much with rulership.

hi all,

i agree that we definitely should distinguish between “team” and everything else.
so “group” or similar is not a good idea.
i like “guild”.

2 different, or 3 different
next question is if we need 3 types: “team”, “guild” and “?” (let’s call it topic for now) - so “team”, “guild” and “topic”.
question is here: is there really a difference between “guild” and “topic”? both is about a certain topic in which some people are interrested in. one might be more permanent than the other. but let’s have a look how they build up.

somebody has a personal itch and thinks: oh i really want to talk about improving the testing. since there is no channel he starts to chat about that in the main channel. other people join in and so after some time they ask for a channel. in the beginning they will be enthusiastic so we could say it a guild since they meet regularly. but we do not know yet if the dynamic will stay. maybe it will slow down after some time - everybody can join in and also in several guilds, so we have good chances that it might slow down some time. so we have to call it topic from then on. but after another period it speeds up because somebody new joins in so now we have to switch to guild again.
in short - looking at the reality i think “topic” and “guild” are only distinguishable at a certain point in time and at another they have changed the state and might be something else. i think we should call it the same to…

  1. keep it simple (agile principle no.10)
  2. adapt it to the people and not the people to the process/definition (agile manifesto no.1 “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”)

so i would go for 2 things regarding the structure:
A. teams
B. CoPs called “guilds”

just my 2 cent


I like “guild” but be aware that it is a bit nerdy (as in but I don’t mind.
At least it’s a distrinctive word with a different meaning than team.

I like “guild”, too.

I also think that guild could work out, but I share Christians concern that it is a bit geeky.
But as I don’t know how else we could call it I would simply vote for guild.

I definitely think that two things are enough (teams and guilds). Having three and reading through Ginas example makes me feel way too bureaucratic.

Can we have a decision? It seems quite some people like guild (and no, it’s not nerdy or geeky, it comes from ages where those terms weren’t even invented, see

Let’s try this, if you don’t mind (if you do, let me know):

  • Guild
  • Group
  • Realm
  • Topic
  • CoP

0 voters

1 Like

mmm, I cannot remove my vote but I would for now. My wife opened legitimate concerns about “guild” as being very old fashioned and closed-circle and conservative, when not looking at it from a gamer point of view.

I would like to throw a few more words into the hat:

  • union
  • party
  • society
  • “Bored Of Regular Groups” BORG
  • collective
  • nexus

To be honest I don’t think it’s a real issue if we go for a weird or old-fashioned name.
My concern was that the distinction between team and “COP” gets blurred if we don’t go for something that is about the skill rather than the people. But it seems you guys don’t really share that concern… So I would suggest to just go with “guild” for now. If it really turns out to be a major source of confusion we can always re-evaluate. Don’t you think?

Yeah, well. If Guild is old-fashioned, then Union is working-class, Party is for lame politicians, Society is everything, BORG is way too nerdy, Collective is artsy and Nexus is a phone. SCNR. :wink:

So guild it is as it seems :smile:

Closed the poll.