Month: July 2011

What the hell do I do all day: The bucket model of community leadership

I am at the Community Leadership Summit (CLS) in Portland this weekend where hundreds of people whose jobs it is to lead communities have come together to collaborate on a wide variety of community-related topics.

One of the talks I attended yesterday was “What the Hell Do We Do Everyday?” by Evan Hamilton. The goal was to compare notes on how community leaders spend their time day-to-day. As part of the discussion, I roughed out a “Bucket Model” that groups the types of tasks that seem to me to be part of the job. Many people seemed to like it so I thought I’d post it here.

Although I’ve been active in the Alfresco community for a long time, it didn’t become my full-time job until a few months ago. When that happened, the first thing I did was think about what the community needed from me. I wrote down all kinds of things, from tactical stuff like, “Answer questions in the forum” to more strategic stuff like, “Make the community more vibrant”. As I looked at my list I realized that there were buckets of things I needed to do that probably wouldn’t change much over time. Because I’m part of the Marketing organization, I also realized that my buckets should all start with the same letter. And maybe if my buckets were one word action verbs, they’d stick in the minds of my team and the community. So here are the 3 E’s of Community Leadership: Engage, Enable, and Expose.


Engage is about engaging community members, regardless of skill set or role in the community, to participate more deeply. This encompasses tasks like connecting community members with community initiatives, speaking at local community events, or facilitating a community advisory board or some other type of discussion. Engage is really about being an active and present part of the community.


Enable is a bucket of tasks around making sure the community has the tools they need to meet their goals. This is not only removing hurdles and resolving conflict, but also providing technical tools and infrastructure like wikis, forums, IRC channels, etc. If your community is technical, it could also mean providing examples, tutorials, and code snippets.


Expose consists of tasks that are about exposing the greatness already existing in the community, both community projects and individuals. The goal here is to really be the amplifier around the good things going on in the community. This helps increase community awareness, but it also helps reinforce and model the behavior that you want to encourage from the rest of the community.

The tasks in the “3 E’s” buckets are all about moving forward toward achieving the community vision. But there are also a set of “run-and-maintain” tasks that are really about keeping the wheels from falling off. Maybe this ought to be a fourth “E” bucket called “Execute“. These tasks fall into sub-buckets like:

Monitor. As community leaders, we have all sorts of channels we’re wired into: Email, Social, IRC, Forums, Wiki, Blogs, etc. Part of execution is monitoring and responding to these channels. As one of the attendees pointed out, if you aren’t careful, this one can suck the life out of you if you don’t manage it properly.

Measure. Putting measures in place and keeping track of those measures is an important way to figure out if you’re making progress against your plan. The specific measures are different for each community but they might be things like survey results, downloads, installs, registered forum/wiki users, forum points awarded, etc.

Report. Report is about getting reports from your team and reporting status to the rest of the community.

Plan. This bucket is about periodically reviewing and refining your plan.

I’ve spun up projects/initiatives that slot into each of these buckets. So, on any given day, I’m either personally working on tasks that fall into these buckets, or I’m working with team mates and other members of the community who are doing the same.

So, if you’ve ever wondered what Alfresco’s Chief Community Officer does, now you know. And if you’re also a community leader, I’d love to see how this maps up to what you do. What did I miss?

Calling all Alfresco bloggers!

The other day, a member of the Alfresco community pointed out to me that while it is great we have so many people blogging on Alfresco topics–from authors both inside and outside the company–there isn’t a single aggregated feed of all of those valuable sources of information. I completely agree.

While we do have the blogs page, the technology we’re using to produce that is a bit cumbersome to keep updated. And that feed is mostly Alfresco employees. We also recently launched, but that does not have links to a universal blog roll either.

To address this, I’ve created several new feeds in Yahoo Pipes. There’s one feed for each of the following:

This should let you subscribe to specific feeds according to your needs.

Now, there’s no way I got everyone on my first pass. If I missed your blog, no worries! The whole point of using Pipes is to make it easier to maintain. To get listed, just shoot me an email with your ATOM feed and which bucket you belong in or respond to this blog post with the same and I’ll add you at my next opportunity.

At some point, hopefully in the near future, we’ll clean up with a new look-and-feel and we’ll switch the data source to use these feeds. Until then, add one or more of these to your feed reader and enjoy.

Last-minute San Diego Alfresco meetup on 7/13

A few of us are getting together in San Diego tomorrow (7/13) at the Hopping Pig to wallow around in some Alfresco topics. Want to join us? Hop over to the Orange County/San Diego Alfresco Meetup Google Group to let us know you’re coming, to check on logistics, and to be advised of last minute changes. This is an informal networking/planning type of meetup, so there is no formal agenda for this one.

2011 Alfresco Community Survey Results

We had over 1400 people from 70 different countries participate in this year’s survey on the state of the Alfresco community. I appreciate the time each of you took to give me your feedback. There were a lot of great ideas submitted. If you did participate, I hope you were also able to watch last week’s webinar where I outlined the plan for the community for the rest of the year. (If not, check out the recording or the slides). Hopefully, you recognized some of your feedback in the plan.

As promised, I’ve compiled a presentation with the survey results and uploaded it to slideshare. I’ve put some light analysis and insights into the deck along with charts showing the survey results. I welcome other insights you may have after you take a look.

In case you are wondering, we did give away the $250 Alfresco gift cards. The lucky respondents hailed from India and Colombia. Despite what you might think from my recent travel schedule, I did not deliver these in person, although that would have been fun.

I want to do this again next year. I think it is an important input into the community planning process. And, hopefully, we’ll be able to see the fruits of our labor in real, measurable terms when we compare subsequent surveys to prior years.

Join the conversation in IRC

There has been an #alfresco channel on freenode for years but it is usually fairly quiet. Recently, Richard Esplin and I decided it might be interesting to breathe a little life into this potentially valuable communication channel. So Richard procured admin rights and several of us at Alfresco have started hanging out there when we’re able.

If you are new to IRC you might have a look at Richard’s recent blog post for tips and tricks.

The channel is open to anyone interested in Alfresco, whether you are on Enterprise or Community, but it is not a resource for official Enterprise support.

The chat room is not an effective replacement for the forums–we’re not currently logging anything so there is no archive of past discussions.

The channel is primarily aimed at either highly interactive discussions where you want to bounce some ideas around or for quick questions. It’s the virtual equivalent of a cubicle drive-by, except that instead of your circle of co-workers, you’ve potentially got Alfresco experts worldwide to use as a sounding board.

Stop by and say hi when you get a chance.