Archive for the ‘Playbook’ Category

Creating a playbook for Community Managers

February 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Madden '96There are some great community playbooks out there that take you through the establishing and launching of your community with a few tips on how to keep it going.

Such as Cisco’s Community Playbook, Salesforce’s Community Playbook and DNN’s Community Playbook

One of the things that there are an abundance of material on is the creating of an online community or community of practice.  But there’s not so much on how to really facilitate the activity in the community and help it thrive.

What techniques, what tactics can use you to help move your community forward?

For me the word Playbook goes back to the days of playing John Madden on my Sega Mega Drive.

And the three key elements

  • Offense
  • Defence
  • Special Teams

Can you take those elements in to Community Management and create techniques to help your community?

If you did, what techniques or tactics would you use for the below?

Offensive plays would be all about breaking down the boundaries of the community and moving it forward. You will be looking to increase the number of discussions and participating members.

Improve the quality of the conversations and content, and encourage better relationships between the members.

Defensive plays – Most online communities are happy as they are.  Help them hold onto that position of contentment, but they will still need a consistent flow of activities to keep them happy.

Special Teams – would be activities that have the ability to cause momentum shifts, increasing participation as well as building a stronger sense of community.


2012 in review

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Gone Well / Not Gone Well

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

A gone well, not gone well is a quick and useful tool to get candid feedback at the end of an event or activity. It allows all participants to say which aspects of an event or activity worked and which didn’t in an open and accepting atmosphere.

When to use a gone well, not gone well

This tool is a useful way to close a session and provides an opportunity to discuss the event. It is especially useful in getting people to express more critical comments in a relaxed way.

It helps facilitators and organisers of events to gather information that will help them do better next time.

How to run a gone well, not gone well?

This is a facilitated session to get feedback and requires a flipchart to record the information. The flip chart is divided down the middle into two columns: ‘Gone well’ and ‘Not gone well’.

The facilitator asks the group to comment on anything to do with the event that went well or not so well.

This could include content, delivery style, catering, room layout, discussion topics, materials used, plus whatever people want to raise in relation to the day.

All positive and negative comments are written into the respective columns on the flipchart.

Thanks to Erica Hurley at

Peer Assist

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

People can use a peer assist to gather knowledge and insight from other teams before embarking on a project or activity. It partners those seeking assistance – ‘receivers’ –with a peer or group of peers who have expertise in a desired area.

A peer assist can last from an hour to a full day depending on the size of the project.

Advantages of using a peer assist?

Talking to experienced peers about the best way to approach new projects saves time and money and avoids repetition of mistakes. It also creates strong links across teams and relationships between people.

How to run a peer assist?

A simple method that works well involves of the following steps:

  • Appoint a facilitator
  • Appoint someone from outside the team who will ensure the participants achieve their outcomes.
  • Select the participants
  • Choose participants who have diverse knowledge, skills, and experience. There is no hard and fast rule about minimum or maximum numbers but the right participants are particularly important.

Share information

This is done by dividing the meeting time into four parts:

  1. Clarify purpose –The receivers present the background and objectives of the project or task they are about to begin. They should also say what they hope to achieve in the peer assist.
  1. Encourage the peers to ask questions and give feedback – The peers discuss the receiver’s situation and share ideas and experiences. The receivers should simply listen.
  1. Analyse what’s been heard – This part is for the receivers to analyse and reflect on what they have learned and to examine options. The peers should take a back seat.
  1. Present the feedback and agree actions – The peers present their feedback to the receivers’ analysis and answer any further questions.

Collison C. and Parcell G., 2001, Learning to Fly: Practical Knowledge Management From Leading and Learning Organizations, Oxford: Capstone. 2004.

ISBN: 1841125091 2nd Edition 

Community Charter

October 25, 2012 Leave a comment

The Community Charter clarifies for its members the general framework necessary for a successful launch, cultivation, and growth of the group. The charter includes the group’s purpose, benefits, guidelines, and resource commitments.

Purpose Statement

Describes why the group exists. It is short and designed to capture both hearts and minds and encourages ownership within the community.


Explains the group benefits and is key is assisting member to make time to participate in the group but also in allowing them to explain to their managers the reasons why they are participating.  You also need to show “what success looks like”, and any appropriate impact measures


Explain what your Code of conduct is.  Will there be strong and defined rules or more casual guidelines and agreements?  Do you expect any confidentiality issues?  Do members have to agree to a “Terms of Service” or other form of agreement before becoming members?


What type of role do you need in the community these can be based on the type of community you are looking to develop e.g. Helping, Best Practice, Knowledge Stewarding or Innovation

Roles Helping Community Best Practice Knowledge Stewarding Innovation
Sponsor X X X X
Champions X
Leaders X X X X
Facilitators X X X X
Librarian X
Core Team X X X X
Subject Matter Experts X X X
Member X X X X

Thank to Erica Hurley at

Community Plan

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Most community plans fall somewhere between impractical and irrelevant.

Your community plan (not strategy) should be specific detailed but flexible.  It should be a step by step set of actions you can use to develop your online community.

The community plan should contain

  • Who is responsible for the action
  • The people that you’re going to approach.
  • How you are going to reach them
  • What you’re going to tell them.
  • How you will convert new members into participants.
  • How you will grow the group.
  • What content you will produce.
  • What you are measuring.

Your plan must be specific. It should be clear who is responsible for what and by which date.

You can break most activates into three sections


  • Hotseats, Conference’s, Teleconference, Launch events, Demonstrations, and Webinars,


  • Newsletters, Blog posting, uploading of fresh content (seeding), continual promotion of the community , ongoing communications, invitations, forums and marketing

Day to Day

  • Accepting and rejecting members, Training and support, FAQ’s, Moderation, Weeding and Polls

These simple templates let you focus and plan activities for your community over a period of time, constantly keeping the flow throughout the online community

Template 1

Month Identified Need Activities Person/Responsible Actions
1 (Jan)        
2 (Feb)        
3 (Mar)        
4 (Apr)        
5 (May)        
6 (June)        


Template 2

Activity Type Month 1 Month 2 Month 3
Day to day activities      

Thanks to Erica Hurley from and Richard Millington

Membership Acceptance

October 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Many acceptance messages focus on the point converting visitors into members, but why go to all the effort of attracting new members if they don’t contribute to the community?

When a member requests to join your online group, they receive some kind of welcome email. These are pretty standard across the board – they thank the member for registering. In many online groups, that’s all the emails say. What a waste!but why go to all the effort of attracting new members if they don’t contribute to the community?

Some groups customise these messages to some extent. Some urge members to introduce themselves and some that remind the new member of the group guidelines. You can do much better.

You want to make contributing to your group irresistible. Don’t expect to write the acceptance message and leave it at that for years to come. See the acceptance message as something that is constantly evolving – just like your group. Draw attention to fantastic content, great members and irresistible discussions. Keep it up to date and relevant.

Here’s an example

Hi (Name)Thank you for joining our group – it’s great to have you as a member. You can get started right away by clicking the link below and introducing yourself. Say hi, tell us about yourself or why you decided to join. What you choose to say is up to you!(link)

We have got some great conversations going on right now that I think you’ll love. Feel free to take a look and get involved – it would be great to hear your thoughts:

Forum Discussion 1 (link)

Forum Discussion 2 (link)

My name is (Your full name). I’m the group facilitator and it’s my job to help build and develop this community by encouraging members to get involved and share their ideas and opinions. If I can be of any help, or if you have any feedback or suggestions, drop me an email at any time: (Your email address) or you can connect with me via my profile(link) where you can instant message me if you have any questions

Other members are always about to offer a helping hand, too. (Names of members) love to offer new members guidance. Feel free to drop them a line any time you like.

Thanks again for joining us. I look forward to seeing you get involved in the community!

(Your full name)

Yes it takes effort, but if you can lure in a new member and get more activity and engagement from them, its effort that will pay off.

Don’t waste this opportunity. Acceptance messages can really help get more members active and involved in your community. Put the extra effort in and you’ll see what a difference they can make.

Thanks to Martin Reed at

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