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Rachel Happe (@rhappe) is a co-founder and principal at the Community Roundtable, a peer network for social media, community, and social business leaders. She has more than 15 years of experience working with emerging technologies, including enterprise social networking, e-commerce, and enterprise software applications. Rachel was kind enough to share her insight into the community building process. In this piece, Rachel Happe explains the process of the Community Maturity Model and how to use it to facilitate adoption as a community manager:

Social business is challenging for organizations to understand and implement, in part because how an organization executes is largely determined by the unique context of an organization and its market and because amorphous influences like culture and leadership play a critical role. To break up this complex process, we've developed a framework at The Community Roundtable called the Community Maturity Model (CMM).


One of the reasons to use a model like the CMM is because it helps frame how the management approach needs to change as a social business or community initiative matures. If you can lay out the resources and initiatives needed to evolve, it is easier to justify budgets because you can frame expectations in a thoughtful and predictable way. We've seen this done effectively through the following steps:Community Roundtable.jpg


  1. Using the competencies in the CMM to direct early research - how does strategy, leadership, culture, community management, content & programming, tools, metrics and governance need to be addressed?
  2. Conducting an Audit: How advanced is your organization, from a social business perspective, in each competency? Where do you need to be to reach your business objectives? For example, some organizational cultures are already very open before social business is introduced, which reduces the barriers to adoption.
  3. Building Support: A common framework, in the language of existing business, helps everyone to understand the opportunities and barriers to adopting social/community for a specific organization.
  4. Defining A Roadmap: The audit will help identify gaps that need to be addressed in order to reduce barriers and increase adoption and success. Building a proposal of initiatives to address those gaps will help stakeholders understand dependencies and set expectations around scope and scale.
  5. Getting Budget Approval: If you have stakeholder buy-in for the audit and the roadmap, laying out and getting approval for the budget to support it will be easier. You may not get everything you want, but it will provide clarity on the trade-offs stakeholders are making when budget decisions are made.
  6. Rinse & Repeat Steps 1-5 annually as your initiative evolves.


For more information about the initiatives and milestones organizations typically face as they go from CMM Stage 1 to CMM Stage 4 you can download The 2012 State of Community Management report here.


I am excited to share a summary of this research and case studies at JiveWorld in October. It's not too late - register here.

To the Jive Internal Communities and Jive External Communities, what stage is your company in and what roadblocks are you experiencing?