5 Replies Latest reply on Nov 3, 2008 7:52 AM by gillettecea

    What's the right online community staffing model?



      I am trying to anticipate resources needed for staffing an online community, both one time (for development) and on-going. Does anyone have any good advice? Are there documented best practices around staffing models?





        • Re: What's the right online community staffing model?

          Well first you need a crack lead engineer (because that's what I do )...  or an engineer on crack.  Let me get one of my colleagues who manages our communities to chime in.




          • Re: What's the right online community staffing model?

            Hi Shawn.

            It really depends on the tools you are using and also the size of your community and the number of community apps you are supporting.  The better your community apps, the easier it is to run the community.  Here are our general best practices for staffing:


            You will need:

            • A lead engineer -- this is key.  Someone who knows everything about the community apps and can fix anything.  We have one in Jay.
            • A lead designer -- most needed for initial deployment, but also good to have as the community evolves.  Depending on the needs of the community, the lead designer may also have a design staff.
            • App engineers for each part of the community.  For example, if you have blog, forum, and wiki apps you will need an engineer dedicated to each one.
            • A community lead strategist -- before the community is even built, this person will determine what community apps and set-up will work best for the target audience.  This strategist evaluates tools, watches the industry, and knows the market inside and out.  A key part of this job is also evangelizing the community up the chain and to the future community (ppt skills are key here )
            • You will also need a strategist/community manager for each app (one for blogs, one for wikis, etc).  This person is the focal point for each app, creates and maintains the best practices documentation, is an expert on user experience of the app, gathers measurements and benchmarks, monitors the community, does some community member handholding. and is also in charge of search engine optimization, and social media marketing for the app.  For example:
              • The blog manager will work to expand the community, reward top performers, and monitor the external presence of the community.
              • The forum manager will make sure all the forums have moderators and be responsible for the training of the moderators


            The key here is having technical and management leads on the community team for each part of the community.  I think every community model may be a little different and this list above is just a barebones off-the-cuff list.


            I look forward to hearing what others have to say as well.


            -LJ Banks

            • Re: What's the right online community staffing model?

              I suppose it depends on the size of your organisation and the expected size of the community...


              I'm a one man band in my case, but I have access to graphic designers if need be.

              • Re: What's the right online community staffing model?

                Thank you very much for your input!

                • Re: What's the right online community staffing model?

                  Hey Daniel,


                  I'm wondering if you might be able to offer a better understanding of what your "band" handles?   What's the size of our community and what technology are you using to handle it?  Officially or not, where else are you getting support from your co-workers (e.g. designers, moderators, etc)?  Also, what is your background (I'll look at your profile too...so if you've already answered this there, you can ignore this question)?


                  Thanks in advance,