If you’re wondering what metrics to collect and how to display them, here’s a simple rule.
If your boss is asking you for data to prove your worth, it’s already too late.
Your boss will ask for metrics when she isn’t sure the community is delivering value. By that point, her mind is usually made up and it will take something extraordinary in the metrics to change her mind (and if that extraordinary thing existed, it would likely already have been noticed already).
This works on a simple consistency principle.
Once we’ve formed an idea, we accept evidence that supports that idea and ignore evidence that doesn’t.
The best time to present data is when that idea is being formed. Waiting for your boss to ask for evidence that the community has value is a sure-fire way to sabotage your career.
Do it right now.
But understand that metrics without context are meaningless. Is 1300 active members good or bad? Who knows? But we know that number going down is bad and going up is good.
Add emotional spice to those metrics. Frequently share the good stuff. Collect sentiment stories and regularly share them so people feel good about the community. Share new milestones achieved. Share when you’ve held a successful event. Use Evernote and tag every good story you have to share.
How and when you present metrics are as important as what metrics you collect. Few bosses want an exact value, but they need a rough idea. The best time to present metrics and display stories is when they are forming that idea.