The following paragraphs identify seven key lessons learned (some with accompanying illustrative examples) over ten years working with AFKN. Although many other valuable lessons were learned, upon analysis and reflection, these are the lessons that have proven most critical to AFKN's success.
The most fundamental principle leading to the growth and popularity of AFKN has been the decentralized approach.
It should be mentioned, however, that a decentralized approach was NOT the original AFKN CoP strategy.
Since the beginning, AFKN staff leadership has demanded that system developers keep system "ease of use" a top priority.
Although AFKN help desk team members might not have all the answers, they are experts in connecting people to people for problem resolution.
Although AFKN was originally developed to serve Air Force Material Command only, it didn't take long for customers in other commands, then in other military services, and then ultimately in a variety of additional supplier and customer organizations (some non-DoD) to request access.
With respect to reach, AFKN also learned early on the importance of reaching across domains.
The validation that AFKN was an approved and accepted "AF IT system" was important criteria for customer confidence and usage.
For a number of years, the AFKN staff has maintained an awards and recognition program that highlights the accomplishments and innovations of its many CoP members.
AFKN has seen its user base continually expand over the years due, in great part, to the factors previously discussed above.
What has been learned at AFKN has been learned over time and certainly not without failure.