Findability

Imagine being lost on a deserted island with no hope of being discovered with only a volleyball named Wilson to keep you company.  There’s a reason pirates used marooning as a form of torture.  It’s a miserable existence (if you can call it that) that usually doesn’t end so well.  But yet that’s what becomes of most corporate knowledge.  It’s left on various file servers across the enterprise with little hope of discovery or rescue (aka. reuse). In my last post entitled Strategic Reuse Process, we looked at an overall framework for analyzing how information flows through an organization and the hurdles encountered on its way to reuse.  But how does an artifact go from Publication to Discovery (see here for definition)?  In this post I want to dig a little deeper and discuss the first hurdle on our way to reuse, Findability. find-a-bil-ity n a.  The quality of begin locatable or navigable b. ...(Read More)

Strategic Reuse

Community managers have a tough job. They deal with lots of different stakeholders trying to find that elusive “middle ground”. They incessantly cheer on community activities and push adoption of collaboration best practices; but when it comes to validating their position through tangible and quantifiable metrics it can sometimes seem daunting. Is the best measure user participation? How about community size? Each of these seem like great things, and they are, but typically organizations don’t have a lot of tolerance for soft measures that don’t directly impact the “bottom-line”. Recently I have been working to identify ways in which organizational performance gains can be tied to community activities. Since my current position involves helping large organizations increase performance from their development teams, I started first by looking at something that may seem far removed from community, knowledge reuse. Why reuse?  The reason I chose to build my case around reuse ...(Read More)

Strategic Reuse

Community managers have a tough job. They deal with lots of different stakeholders trying to find that elusive “middle ground”. They incessantly cheer on community activities and push adoption of collaboration best practices; but when it comes to validating their position through tangible and quantifiable metrics it can sometimes seem daunting. Is the best measure user participation? How about community size? Each of these seem like great things, and they are, but typically organizations don’t have a lot of tolerance for soft measures that don’t directly impact the “bottom-line”. Recently I have been working to identify ways in which organizational performance gains can be tied to community activities. Since my current position involves helping large organizations increase performance from their development teams, I started first by looking at something that may seem far removed from community, knowledge reuse. Why reuse?  The reason I chose to build my case around reuse ...(Read More)

Along For The Ride

The amount of control a community has over process and direction within a project has recently come up in a situation I’ve been involved with and I think it’s a great topic for a post since it strikes at the heart of many company’s trials and tribulations in creating vibrant communities.  The real question in these situations is not one of control but of trust.  Can you just be along for the ride and let someone else influence your project even if you don’t agree with everything they do? Many organizations and people find it difficult to let go and allow their communities to shape the overall direction and goals of their projects.  They fear that by allowing users to get involved at a deeper level chaos will ensue and they’ll be mired in endless debate over what they perceive as insignificant issues.  However, the opposite of control is not ...(Read More)

Converting Tire Kickers into Missionaries

Ever wonder why some open source projects are insanely popular and others struggle to get mind-share?  I do, all the time, especially since the “insanely popular” part is what I’m striving for as a Community Manager at Novell.  I recently read a great book entitled “Designing for the Social Web” by Joshua Porter.  In his book Joshua describes the life-cycle of a user interacting with a website and points out the various hurdles that must be overcome in order to create an active user.  This got me to thinking (dangerous) about the similarities shared between the life-cycle Joshua outlined and what open source projects go through.  I thought I’d write down my thoughts on this topic before I forgot them  Unaware User -> Awareness -> Interested Potential User Once you think you’ve got a handle on describing the nature of the problems you solve its time for some outreach.  This ...(Read More)