On My Watch

Friday, September 12, 2008

Community Lifecycle
The following diagram (borrowed from Forrester's Jeremiah Owyang) shows some steps a successful community goes through - from Conception to Maturity - as measured by member activity.

Nothing controversial here - Strategy, Research, Launch, Kickstart, Growth, Ongoing Management, Continuous Improvement - but my biggest question ( I am not a Forrester client) is how member activity is measured. Is it total hits or some sort measure of community engagement - such as number of inbound links? In my view and experience, defining the proper metrics is not only critical to defining and measuring success but also in advancing the community across the lifecycle. You want to avoid this:

That is volatility - or worse which is decline. There can obviously be volatility on an hour-to-hour, day-to-day or even week-to-week basis but generally you need an up trend to advance the community from strategy to the continous improvements associated with maturity. And since you can't fix what you can't measure, you need the right metrics.

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