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Response to2016 CMAD Love to Jive Community Managers

At Adam Mertz and Becky Leung


At Instructure, Jive is the medium for the relationship with our customers and them with each other.  Individual customer success managers, and to some extent sales and product people own relationships with individual customers but the relationship as a whole lives in Community.


Clients can find answers, share ideas and join groups:

Screenshot 2016-01-29 15.33.28.png


In 2015, as we implemented Jive, our community grew from about 3 - 500 active participants with about 75 contributors to have over 50k registered users with a peak during our busy season of about 13k active members and almost 1000 contributors:

Screenshot 2016-01-28 12.43.46.png


Our Community and Product teams (Prod-mmunity) get the best, most popular ideas, as crowd sourced by the community and put the best ones into development:

Screenshot 2016-01-29 15.12.17.png


Over the same time period the total number of page views hitting our site increased but the percentage of "non-guides page views" that is page views in parts of the community other than on our user documentation guides increased as a faster rate:

Screenshot 2016-01-29 15.40.10.png


Looking ahead to 2016 we plan to dig into the rich trove of data in Jive and data warehouse it with other sources of data to hopefully learn a lot more about our community members - how they use our product and what makes them tick and use that information to drive a better engagement strategy.

Skynet @ groupon (jive-n)


It is my belief that as more and more millennials climb the ranks of organizations, the concept of workingoutloud will become even more prevalent.  I’ve worked for several big tech companies, some were “startups” (the most famous of which were doubleclick and Groupon).  When I was at dclk (late 90s to early 2000s), it was such an open work environment.  There was a high level of trust within the organization, everyone just got along and I made a lot of lifelong friends.  We worked together on everything.  The modern tech and tools did not exist, but we made it work well with what we had.  While at groupon, I worked alongside Kenny Lum, Brian "Skip" Schipper and Andrew Mason to bring Enterprise Social Business technology to the organization.  Andrew embraced it almost immediately (not surprising being a millennial).  Over the next four years, the program flourished and became embedded into the fabric of groupon culture.  The overarching goals of my program there were to create a platform through which employees in 45+ countries could connect, communicate, share and collaborate.  There was no hiding, I broke down silos and helped many parts of the organization that were distanced from HQ actually feel a part of the Groupon family.  Through the tool, we encouraged people across the globe to work transparently.  It wasn’t until last April that I was finally introduced to the phrase “Working Out Loud” by John Stepper from Deutsche_Bank.  I’d embraced this way of working years before I met John but hearing it from someone who has written books on the subject and who is also a huge advocate of ESB software and jive in particular really struck a chord.


EngagementOptimization @ callminer (jive-x)


CallMiner's new Jive-x community is born - 12/07/15.  Building eo for callminer will have a dramatic impact on helping us/our partners/our customers achieve faster results, will give our customers a voice and empower them to become part of our success, will allow us to develop shared ownership, will help us better understand our clients' needs, will enable us to build an army of brand advocates, will simplify the buying cycle through easier product research, will enable us to provide better support, etc.  It is OUR customer engagement strategy.  I am looking forward to creating the poster child for jive-x communities.


CC Adam Mertz Becky Leung


Jive Internal Communities

Social media is a funny thing: brands covet its reach, but often forget about engaging with those who provide valuable feedback.  Finding the right channel(s), social listening, and crafting the right outgoing messages are important, but without engagement, you will not be trusted; without trust, you will not succeed.  Let’s discuss keys to engagement and resolution.


The customer reaches out via Tweet, Facebook, or a post within your community with a constructive, objective issue they have with your product or service.


  • The customer should receive a response within the hour
  • Apologize and show empathy
  • Research the customer’s history:
    • Products utilized
    • Their past issues
    • Is there already an open case for this issue?
  • If possible, answer the question at the initial contact; if an off-line chat is needed, offer the customer communication options:
    • Instant message
    • A link to a related discussion within your community
    • A private chat room within your community
    • A one on one phone call that may include a WebEx session
  • Engage, listen, understand:
    • Problem scope
    • Business impact
    • Pain points
    • Customer expectations
  • Offer solutions that are a win-win
  • Get customer buy-in to your solution and its timeline
  • Deliver results
  • Confirm customer satisfaction


  • Never take things personally or argue publicly with the customer
  • This may be an opportunity to improve your product or service
  • If this is a recurring issue, eliminating issue eliminates future cases
  • The customer may not be as familiar with the product line as you; he is frustrated and deserves your attention and help.
  • All companies and services encounter problems, the very best acknowledge them and respond creating brand advocates and loyal customers.

Does your external community include a product development component?  How do you include developers?


Our external community is a place for users of our cloud based learning management system; Canvas.  We have places in the community designed for a variety of users but if we had to narrow the focus to just one role our target demographic would be someone we refer to as the "Field Admin."  Some of the institutions that employ Canvas are large enough to have dedicated and diverse eLearning support staff organizations with differentiated roles.  Others have one person acting as both head cook and bottle washer, often as an additional duty, to perform all administrative functions and support for their LMS instance. These field admins, then, may be working in isolation or part of a local team.  Our goal is to create spaces and groups that cater to all, regardless of how deeply they have the time to engage.


The role of developer can also have a fair amount of variation.  We have product and engineering folks working inside our company to develop and improve Canvas.  We have developers who download the code base of Canvas, which is licensed open source, so that they can run it locally and in some cases contribute back improvements to the core product.  And we have people, working outside the company who develop integrations and works with Canvas APIs.


Our company provides or supports different opportunities for different developer and admin sub-groups. We have a general admin group and a group specifically for external developers, many of whom are creating integrations or doing cool things with the APIs.  There is also an open source developer community on github that exists for a sometimes different crowd. There has been mention in this thread about engaging internal engineers and product folks with customers via community.  There are exceptions but in general our employees also do not have the time or bandwidth to hangout in the community in general.  Instead we have a more formal ideation process where ideas are suggested and crowd-source prioritized by the community at large and then our community and product folks (Prod-mmunity) engage with those ideas with a formalized interaction plan.


Do you use Jive as the main hub of your developer community?  Or are there good reasons to have a separate website with Jive focused on just the discussion board / collaboration features?

~Yes and no.  Our developer group in Jive is picking up steam but there are also good reasons for us to use Github as our software is OS and we have an active group of OS developers


How do you use spaces versus groups for organizing your content when you have a large number of products / APIs?

~We use more than one instance of Jive to support multiple products/platforms.  We have internal and external facing spaces in our main community.  We have many groups in several spaces.  In general we use spaces to control settings and permissions and different groups for people who have differing interests, and needs - spaces are the landscape and groups are for the people in the landscape.


Do you also have an internal developer community?  If so, how do you keep from overwhelming your internal developers by giving them too many places to go?

~Our internal developers don't use Jive.  They have other platforms and ways of communicating that pre-date our external community platform.


How do you incent your internal developers to spend time in your external community?  Especially when their managers have set aggressive coding deadlines...and they just don't have time.  What about your professional services teams?  These folks are the practitioners that likely have very strong experiences to share, but due to billable utilization targets they often don't have the luxury of time to answer questions or write blogs.

~ We don't directly.  Community Managers and Product Managers and marketers have externally facing roles.  Developers do occasionally participate in promotions (Part I and Part II) and claim rewards for completing development projects identified as high priority by the community


What type of 3rd-party integrations (such as GitHub4Jive ) are useful to consider?

~We use our LMS as the idp for SSO with our community.  The Zendesk integration is about to get a lot more important to us.  We have an integration for our documentation software, Screensteps by Blue Mango, to push content into JiveX


To summarize we have found that it makes sense for us to encourage different kinds of developers to participate in different ways and spaces in our community as opposed to shooting for a one size fits all approach.

As we settle properly into 2016 and focus on the year ahead, I'm excited to call attention to a modest but important refresh of our Jive External Communities practice group, along with its close cousin, Jive Internal Communities.  In my nearly 6 years at Jive, along with JiveWorld these vibrant peer-to-peer communities have helped catalyze and nurture numerous fruitful connections, shared ideas and insights, thoughtful discourse, and resolved questions. 


If you're a veteran of the External Communities group, you'll likely notice some recent, subtle changes.  (And if you're new here, welcome, please stick around and join in the conversation!)  We want to tell you a bit more about these changes and also ask for your input and assistance as we continue to evolve and improve this area dedicated to our Jive-x community managers, strategists and admins. 




First off, a little more about what's changing and why...


A "face lift" for the External Communities home page with two goals in mind:

  • Make these pages responsive and easy to browse on a mobile device
  • Elevate the Q&A and peer-to-peer conversations that are the lifeblood of this community of practice


Behind the scenes, expanded commitment by Jive to facilitating vibrant and valuable interactions among our customers and end users:

  • We want to help provide community management and expert input on a more regular and sustained basis, to help assure timely answers to your questions and high-quality engagement.  (Don't worry we're not here to take over or get in the way, just to help keep things moving and help connect people and info where we can!)
  • Gather feedback and insights around what's top of mind for our key practitioners - please start by casting your vote in our current poll, What would you like more of in External Communities?
  • Help build knowledge and reusable resources that will help you achieve greater success with your Jive-x community


So what happens next?  It's simple...

  1. Provide your feedback on the types of content and interactions that are most valued What would you like more of in External Communities? (If you prefer, feel free to message me privately - Jennifer Kelley)
  2. Participate!  (or continue participating!)  Ask a question that is top of mind.. Share some community management tips or approaches that may help your peers... Or just find a question to answer here:  And don't forget the Follow the group to get updates!


Thanks and Happy 2016!

Libby Taylor Billy Volpone Claire Flanagan Todd Moran Tim Albright Christy Schoon

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