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 developer.company.com 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.