Everything Takes Longer
If you’re managing a community, you’re frequently going to be dragged into murky, unfamiliar, waters. These waters might seem calm on the surface, but they hide rocky terrain which can easily delay your community ambitions.
You can’t update the platform without your IT team first doing a security/penetration test and that might take a few weeks.
You can’t send out an email to members because of GDPR rules (members opted out) or because marketing has capped the number of emails that can be sent out.
You can’t launch the community until legal reviews all the documentation. This might take a few weeks.
You can’t send out a digest, newsletter, or approve members to join because the platform doesn’t have that feature.
You can’t send tangible rewards to members because of internal policies or challenging distribution sending content around the world.
You can’t get the community featured on your site because staff are worried about members saying something incorrect (or being seen to endorse it).
None of these things (and these are just a handful of examples) seemed like issues beforehand. It’s only once you dive below the surface you find out that everything is going to take a lot longer than expected.
It’s probably similar to someone in marketing wanting to promote a new feature in a mass email to community members. It sounds simple to them, but we’re going to have problems with it.
There’s no easy path to navigating around them. You simply need to dive below as early as possible and figure out what you didn’t know.
Or, less metaphorically, explore the realities of any task in your project plan as quickly as possible. The sooner you identify the unknown unknowns, the sooner you can overcome them.