In the world of community, I feel we have two big problems.
One of them is falling into the waterfall-esque trap creating too many things up front and then hoping it all works out. We still seem to be working towards 'big launches' rather than iterating.
The other is simply not doing enough research. I keep seeing it time and time again—people are excited about community and they want to dive straight into the 'community tools' without thinking of all the things that are needed first.
This becomes apparent when people get stuck and ask questions like:
- what tools should I use to build community?
- my community is dead and conversations are just not happening, how do I fix this?
- I've launched, what do I do now?
These are symptoms of an underlying problem that we don't truly seek to understand our people and how they fit into the visions we have.
My personal solution to this is to pitch the idea of starting any community project with community discovery.
Why community discovery?
My quick way of framing community discovery is to call it research. We're looking into things. We're trying to understand the landscape and the people around us. We want to understand their pains and challenges and learn to read their minds.