A client was recently asked to change how they measured the community because the results were ‘too high’.
Clearly, changing the methodology to get an acceptable outcome is a terrible way to establish metrics. Not only does it move the goalposts after you’ve scored, it also undermines trust in the team and any metrics related to the community.
A better approach is to engage stakeholders in the process of measurement early.
Ideally, I try to engage people in a real-time workshop where we can probe deeply into questions such as:
What do you care about changing?
How will you know if that change is happening?
What is the anecdotal evidence we would expect to see?
What are the metrics that we would expect to change?
Can anything besides the community influence these metrics?
What is the minimum the community needs to show to be viable?
What is a number that would blow you away and persuade you to increase support for the community?
The great thing about doing this live is everyone is able to give input, agree/disagree with one another, and take ownership of the metrics going forward.
You might find the real metrics that matter to you are completely different from what you had first expected.
It will also be harder to move the goalposts everyone has had a hand in putting up.