Community Building Success Factors

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what forms the foundation for communities?  What matters most?  Which things are the building blocks for all other activities that go on?  I’ve identified what I believe to be the four most important building blocks for community.  Tell me if you agree or not. 1.  Leadership and Vision I recently wrote a post about leadership and its significance to open source projects.  Leadership may be the single most important factor in your community’s success simply due to the fact that people want to belong and believe in something.  In essence people want to follow an inspiring message.  Some want to lead, but most want to be led towards a vision of the future that they believe in.  Well functioning communities lead their members towards an objective that solves real problems and is well defined.  Open source projects need well defined objectives like “enabling productive meetings” or ...(Read More)

Product Management in Open Source?

This particular post deals with the benefits and challenges of product management.  Where it’s been and where it’s going as it relates to open source.  First, I know what you’re thinking … product management in open source? That can’t be, and in some cases its true (See the summary of Pidgin’s resizable textbox).  In other cases there is too much “traditional” product management and not enough community driven product management.  So what is the happy medium and how should open source projects approach product management?   In this post I’m going to look at how community driven PM differs from traditional PM within a commercial open source project. Let’s start by looking at a definition of product management.  Product management is discovering, documenting, and prioritizing user stories with the objective of maximizing some combination of users, sales revenue, and profit.  Notice I said ‘a’ definition of product management and not ‘the’definition.  The definition provided is a composite of several ...(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)