One of the perks of TheCR Network membership is the opportunity for community managers to collaborate and solve challenges in working groups. Last fall, TheCR Network members formed a Community Maturity Assessment Working Group, with the goal of building a tool to measure the maturity of communities. Members of the group worked on persona exercises to understand member behaviors in different types and maturity stages of communities, and then used this information to outline maturity markers based on the competencies in the Community Maturity Model.
This work helped extend the Community Maturity Model in new ways — both for TheCR and other members. We’ve already shared a couple examples on the blog here:
- The maturity artifacts helped develop the survey for the State of Community Management 2014 research
- On March’s Community Manager Spotlight webinar, working group member Heather Ausmus shared how she uses the Community Maturity Model to build a community roadmap
Most recently, another working group leader, Alex Blanton of Microsoft, shared how he’s using the Community Maturity Model for internal community consulting as part of TheCR Network’s weekly programming. Internal community consulting has been a trending topic in the network – we’ve hosted two other Roundtable calls on the topic – because our members are being asked to extend their skill sets to the rest of their organizations, through training and advisory services. We were excited to have Alex share how he has used the Community Maturity Model as a framework for the advisory work he does with internal engineering communities at Microsoft.
Alex adapted the working group’s assessment tool to align with the needs of the teams with which he consults. One of the services Alex offers is a 90-minute consultation including a maturity self-assessment based on the Community Maturity Model. Alex follows this session with a comparison to industry norms, recommendations and additional resources.
Alex demoed his maturity assessment tool on a Roundtable call for TheCR Network.
Some lessons from Alex for starting internal maturity assessment consultations:
–Do consultations on paper. Don’t focus on a “score.” Alex starts his consultations on paper by printing out the Excel-based assessment tool (that automatically generates maturity values), so that clients focus on discussing where they are instead of on trying to achieve a number.
–Use the Community Maturity Model to start a conversation. Alex observes that as clients review the model, they sometimes disagree with colleagues about where their community belongs in certain competencies. Coming to alignment on the maturity level sparks conversation about community activities and progress in a way that helps identify gaps or opportunities.
–Offer a variety of service offerings. Recognizing that not all communities need the same level of support, Alex offers a tiered service model for consulting. For example, he developed an “8-Step Community Jumpstart” for new communities that aren’t yet ready for a full assessment and instead need to prioritize getting started.
If you use the Community Maturity Model in your work, we’d love to hear from you.
Learn more about the Community Maturity Model and how other organizations are using it here.
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