Only Build One Community At A Time

August 31, 2012Comments Off

Sometimes organizations launch a community
for multiple groups at once.

You might create multiple communities around products, languages, regions, departments, or other existing groups. 

Organizations do this because
it’s the end goal. They think the way the community looks at the beginning is
how it will look at the end. They’re wrong.

Sometimes they do this because a
stakeholder might get upset. At The Global Fund we were forced into launching
communities in dozens of different languages because they represented
significant donors.

Neither of these are valid reasons. You still reach the end goal, just through an approach more
likely to succeed. The internal stakeholder will be more upset when their
community fails rather than waiting their turn for it to succeed.

Please don’t attempt multiple communities
at once. It splits your efforts, multiplies mistakes, slows progress, and has a
high failure rate.

Only build one community at a time. When it
reaches critical mass, then begin your next one. There are several benefits to
this approach.

First, you learn a lot from building a
community. You learn what does and doesn’t work. You learn internally how to
manage a community. You learn processes you can perfect and apply to your next
communities. Once you can build one community, it’s easier to build future
communities. But if you try to build multiple communities at once, you repeat
the same mistakes and have no second chance.

Second, you have focus. You can channel
your resources into getting each community off the ground. A community needs
that manpower to reach critical mass.

If you have a big enough team to develop
multiple communities at once – don’t. Use that team to build one community
really quickly and then work on the next. 

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