2016 in retrospect


(Ernesto Izquierdo) #21

Hmmm… thought provoking. It’s interesting to see how long it has taken for the community to gather momentum. If a community made up of community of community managers takes that, it makes us reflect on the timelines we should give our internal communities made of experts and contributors, some of which are not that into exchanging in open forums. I’m glad to hear that you’ve made such progress with us. Best wishes for 2017!


(Sarah Hawk) #22

It’s still about getting the right value prop though – people only participate if something adds value, regardless of whether they understand the science or not.

It took me a while to get the tone right here so the sense of community wasn’t strong. That’s what changed this year.

Ha! Indeed. And to you. :slight_smile:


(Colleen Young) #23

Thanks for the opportunity to reflect on the past year. We often barrel ahead without taking the time to acknowledge the successes. 2016 was big for our team at Mayo Clinic Connect. At this time last year we rolled out the first step of our redesign, starting with a new homepage. We’ve been making iterative improvements all year, using agile design approaches. It’s slow and sometimes frustrating, but when I look back we’ve done a lot! And it will keep getting better. I’m grateful for leadership that believes in sustaining the investment in continuous improvement.

Strategic community management started before the redesign, so we had some uptick in activity in late 2015, but look at this graph to see the boom we experienced in April when we really applied the gas pedal.

I’m most proud that we see steady inclines in active and return members. The decline in new posts in November I attribute to the US elections and Thanksgiving. Already in December, activity levels have resumed.

Lots of work yet to do in 2017 to get consistent activity in all groups and to deepen the sense of community, etc. But heading into the holidays, it was very satisfying to share these results with our team and with our ambassadors (volunteer patient mentor team) as well as leadership.


(Robert McIntosh) #24

Well, if I’m completely honest, I can’t be very proud of anything particularly work-related in 2016.

I worked through some rather depressing (literally as well as figuratively) issues at the start of the year and took on a Community project for a client who was on the wrong track, and allowed me to help steer them … but we are not there yet.

I look forward to a successful launch in 2017 and to getting things back on track

Thank you to @HAWK and the community here for providing inspiration and support, and I look forward to contributing more when I have new experiences to share


(Wouter Schrijvershof) #25

Next to the ‘regular’ things such a growth, bonding with the community there are two major things that happened this year.

First is a personal one, getting support from upper management to fly over to London and attend the Feverbee Sprint in February.

Second is a company wide effort and that is venturing into Facebook Live. We went from webcams and a few viewers to a lot of viewers, engagement and equipment upgrades in a span of nine months. Critically analyzing every video to see what worked and didn’t.

We saw viewers specifically returning for the fun of it, no matter what the content. We went from five live engagements to over a couple of thousand per video.
We got total creative freedom, room to experiment and full upper management support and it paid off. There is always room to grow, but I think we setup a nice foundation and I’m thankful that I got the chance to work on this.


(Phil Betts) #26

For me, my biggest achievement has been starting here at FeverBee. It’s such a great company to work for - the people are awesome, the challenges are interesting, and working remotely is great (just finishing up now from a cottage in Somerset!) I’ve had some great client interactions already, and and I’m looking forward to two new projects kicking off the first week of 2017. I’m also planning on diving a little deeper into this here community…


(Colleen Young) #27

Oh, I know that scenario well @thirstforwine. I, too, have a client who needs constant steering to stay on track, and it’s long road that requires a lot of education and patience. Good luck to you as you stay the course and get the community off the ground.


(Jess Burnham) #28

Well I’m late to the party but I’m still glad to chime in here.

2016 was a huge year for our Community team! Our team doubled in size which gave us peripherals into a lot of ways that we’ve been able to quantify the Community to the rest of our company. Our Community team is a small branch of a very large tree, but what we lack in size we make up for in gumption! :muscle:

We were able to migrate our Community from GetSatisfaction to Discourse (which is what the Feverbee Community runs on :dancers:) and that has been a huuuuuge improvement for us. We’ve been able to engage more customers, and also more members of our company internally. Our analytics are looking great, which has given us a lot of new tasks for the upcoming year.

For 2017, our goal is to be able to put a dollar value on a lot of our Community analytics, for example, if someone engages in our Community content - what does that make/save the company?

In December we kept having these crazy brainstorming sessions which would always end off on “let’s do that in January”, so we’ve got our work cut out for us now!

Happy new year, everybody! :champagne:

-Jess


(Sarah Hawk) #29

What are the main benefits that you’re finding?


(Darren Gough) #30

I’m really pleased with how our audit offering has evolved. Seemed to have been really popular this year and we’ve been continually optimising the framework so it feels really polished and we’ve had some nice feedback from clients.

We’ve also done a lot of work in the healthcare space (both mental and physical) which on a personal level has felt extremely worthwhile

That’s so great @jess_burnham. Is the move to Discourse directly connected to the uplift in customer engagement / internal membership or a parallel? If the former, curious to know where you found the improvements to be,


(Jess Burnham) #31

Internal engagement in our Community is absolutely a result of the move to Discourse, without a doubt. Before Discourse, if you ever replied to a thread or a comment, there was no way of the other members being notified (not even an email notification). It was up to each person to log back into the Community and scroll through each individual post to see where/if they were mentioned. It just took too much time and effort to justify active participation.

The @ feature that I’ve mentioned above has made a huge impact on engagement in our Community. I also love the email updates (especially on mobile) of highlights from each week. We’ve been using the poll feature a lot internally by communicating with our customers and asking what they’d like to see more/less of to help us improve on our content. We also share a lot of scripts in our community so the preformatted text feature has helped a lot there as well. These are all things we couldn’t do in our previous platform, and we’re constantly discovering new features.

Also, I definitely need to mention that they have an all-star team of Support. We had some pretty interesting circumstances that forced us to migrate communities in about 24 hours, and the Discourse team delivered the Cadillac of Customer Service during that time.

Oh boy, I really could go on forever!


(JoeBuhlig) #32

I’m a little late to the game here, but want to chime in nonetheless.

2016 was a bit of a roller coaster for me. I started building custom websites for folks as well as plugins for WordPress and Discourse. It was pretty rough getting the initial client base for each but once they’re up and running they perpetuate themselves.

From a community standpoint, I launched two successful forums. One is public and runs the comments/discussion behind my blog. The other is internal and used as for IT communication at my local church (I’m the Director of IT). In the former, I’d say it’s been successful but mostly due to giving it time and sticking with it. In the latter, it’s a completely different dynamic since I see the members in person at least once every couple weeks.

But between these two, it’s taught me a lot about running communities and how vastly different they can be. Here’s to deeper learning in 2017! :confetti_ball:


(Richard Millington) #33

Some really great responses here.

It was a pretty good year for FeverBee too. Some highlights include:

Not everything was great. We had some hires who didn’t work out, some projects that didn’t take off, and made plenty of mistakes along the way. But we continue to learn from each of them.

I’m sure I’m missing a lot of good stuff out (especially on the client side!). The other thing that never gets much attention but really matters is everything behind the scenes. How internally we’re improving processes, getting better how we communicate and share information, figuring out a variety of challenges that will never be in the public domain. I’m quite proud of how we tackled them in the past year.

Some of the projects we have in the works for 2017 are extremely exciting. We’re now at the capacity where we can work on several big projects simultaneously which is a lot of fun…and brings its own complexities to the table.


(Gear Buzz) #34

What I am most proud of is my team. They are all amazing.

2016 was a very decisive year in my personal life and after some turmoil in the first quarter I settled down into what I call “execute” mode (or get shit done mode)

I am glad to say this continues.

I am developing a longer term vision for the main community. This now involves deep breaths and meditation while I await V2.0 to emerge for XenForo.


(Kristen Gastaldo) #35

Apologies for delay. If I don’t check back in more often, I think @Nick_Emmett may drop me as a “regular.” :wink:

2016 was a good year for our community. The focus was really about just replacing what we had and trying to get back the people we lost due to broken functionality. We migrated 2 product-specific communities from Drupal, Wordpress, and Wiki into Jive. We’re still doing quite a bit of clean up, but we have a space that is spam free and full of members, having 3000 join since we relaunched and upping our average from 200 - 1000 active members/month.

I personally have had a crazy year, moving back to the US, starting a new job, learning a new audience (developers), but I’m feeling like I finally have a handle on things and can start to build the community, rather than just rebuild what we had.

2017 will be all about growth. We need to reach the developer audience that already is using our software. We’d like to form meaningful connections with that audience where we work together to build the product (it’s open source). We also want to just have more people in general using the software, so we need to branch out into the dev ecosystem. We’ll be hosting more in person events and possibly bringing back our dev con for the community. Big plans!


(Sarah Hawk) #36

That’s a huge win. Nice work!


(Kristen Gastaldo) #37

Thanks! I believe it’s mostly recovering who we lost. Our old forums were so overrun with spam, they were basically unusable. So our members went to Github, Slack, IRC, Skype … wherever they could connect spam-free.


(Nick Emmett) #38

That is a huge win! Congratulations. I’m looking to achieve half that growth this year, if I do that I’ll have done a good job I reckon! What steps did you take to get there and make it happen would you say? What were the key things?


(Kristen Gastaldo) #39

It’s a big win, but we stared from a big loss. We have about 20k downloads a month of our free open source software, so the amount of growth potential is huge.

What I think worked:

The marketing emails - let current members know the forums are moving, notifying them of the upcoming freeze for migration, announcing the new community is live, and then a follow up IF they didn’t log in to the new space.

We reinstated our monthly live events - a Tech Talk Live and Office Hour session. These were done sporadically in the past - we’ve revived the regularly. We used an Office Hours session to promote the community.

We migrated our internal developer blogs (we had 10 or so employees with their own blogs on our site) into one blog with several writers. They earn points in the space for blogging and they can actually see their stats on readership, etc. So members don’t have to check several blogs for info - they can just follow the blog relevant to their product.

Honestly - it’s been mostly consolidation and replacing broken functionality.

Growth this year will be an entirely different ballgame!

I will say something that I haven’t quite figured out. I’ll actually post a new topic for discussion!


(Nick Emmett) #40

One of my things to concentrate on this year is improving my outreach and marketing/promotion within our customer base - it makes a huge difference.[quote=“Kristen_Gastaldo, post:39, topic:4762”]
We reinstated our monthly live events - a Tech Talk Live and Office Hour session. These were done sporadically in the past - we’ve revived the regularly. We used an Office Hours session to promote the community.
[/quote]

Office Hours interests me - I’ve had a few people internally make this suggestion - what sort of topics got covered on this for you?