Community Building 101

“…success comes entirely from people and the system within which they work. Results are not the point. Developing the people and the system so that together they are capable of achieving successful results is the point.” Leading Lean Software Development Recently, that quote stirred some controversy among my peers. The part about “results are not the point” was hard for some people to understand and come to grips with. Aren’t results always the point? Well, as with most things, “It depends”. The people and community that evolve around an open source software project will ultimately determine its success. Even if the core team launches the project with spectacular productivity and results, this phase of evolution will be fleeting if the necessary processes and community to make the project a long lasting success are not put into place. This article presents some of the actions open source community leaders can take ...(Read More)

Communication Planning

Many a project has gone down in flames because they failed to take the time to really think through a communication plan that educated their stakeholders of the organizational value of their project.  Communication is one of the most important factors to the success of your community. Without communicating your project or program’s benefits and successes, users and stakeholders alike won’t be aware of new offerings, program progress, or the goals and direction of your project. “The more they know, the more they’ll understand. The more they understand, the more they’ll care. Once they care, there’s no stopping them.” –Sam Walton The first step in any Communication Plan is identifying your stakeholders.  This is a key step that is often overlooked.  Many projects and programs focus only on keeping users informed about community news, however its important to look outside your active community members and find the stakeholders that are ...(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)