Minimum viable community

I was invited by James Cattell the other day to accompany him to a meeting to talk about what the best community software platforms are.

I think we rather disappointed the people we talked to, in that neither of us could recommend a particular system.

Instead we both advocated, in effect, a minimum viable community. Start with the simplest, lowest common denominator technology available. Something you know that everyone has access to, and they are used to using.

When people start bumping against the limitations of the technology, they might start suggesting new ways of doing things. This is the time to start thinking about what else could be done – when there is a user demand within your community.

The point is that picking a technology winner too early will put off some of your users – whether because they don’t like what you’ve chosen, or they aren’t comfortable with it, or because it doesn’t work for them.

Concentrate on getting members for your community and get them engaged, and when they start to want to do new things, let them guide you.

If you’re interested in building and managing online communities, you might like to sign up for my free upcoming webinar on the subject!