Community administration tasks like marketing, managing data, managing money, and maintaining tools + software are important to keep the foundations strong. Strong communication and good simple documentation can go a long way.
Insight from an AU2020 panel: There are different needs for groups, based on both 1) the adoption curve of a technology or practice, and 2) the target audience.
Early on in technology adoption, people are trying to figure out what a technology does and what’s possible.
You get some higher-level strategy conversations with innovators and business leaders.
This is one of the most exciting times for groups, and an important function of communities of practice: they are creating new knowledge, steering the direction of firms and industries, and laying foundations for more widespread adoption.
"People who are passionate about BIM & design technology are idealists & optimists. Groups rally optimists together to inspire and learn from each other - and try to drive change and improvement." - Aleksandr Lapygin at AU2020
Once everyone has adopted a technology, conversations within group can focus on detailed technical practice.
The higher-level strategy / business decision-makers fall off.
The bleeding-edge innovators and researchers often fall off (they're on to the next frontier).
This kind of group can be incredibly rewarding for power users and passionate practitioners - who may feel isolated in their workplace. Connections across firms enable workflow innovation and develop industry best-practices.
It can be incredibly productive for people in Company Practice Groups, who are working together to make technology work on their projects.
Groups can split, combine, and evolve based on audiences and needs.
This model primarily developed for bigger organizations who run communities, but is useful for any community group to think about how the eight competencies they've identified might evolve as communities mature.
Ending or Evolving a Group
Groups are living things, and living things have a lifespan. It's useful to think about how your group will either continue evolving to keep going, or end gracefully.
It may be time to end or evolve your group if...
It's not working for what it was founded to do
Your goals and availability as a leader change, and you have not groomed other leaders to step-in.
Warning signs that your group may need to evolve or end...
People stop showing up
Lack of participation
If members are only coming for free food, what happens when the food isn’t there?
Reasons groups may loose steam...
Lack of focus/goal
If you don’t know why you’re there, the members won’t know either
Without focus, you may attract a variety of potential members, but they may end up in too many different areas of interest. The group won't gel.
Wasting everyone's time teaching to people that don’t ever use the software
Lack of leadership
Don’t plan ahead
Don’t seek out new members/ topics/ speakers
Low/no engagement between meetings
Need to keep enthusiasm for the next meeting up
If meetings are boring/useless to members, they will stop going
Inflexible meeting schedule
Some people can’t/won’t meet regularly at certain times.