Measuring Success of Your Open Source Community

Measuring Success: (Image Credit: William Warby on Flickr)

Open source community is all about coming together from different backgrounds with common interest to work on a shared passion and shared objectives.

If you are running or managing an open source community, here are few tips to help you measure its performance and determine the success of your community as a whole.

But, first thing first

Why measure community performance?

Short answer:

(Image credit: QuoteHD.com. Quote by: Phil Murphy)

Detailed answer:

Without measuring the efforts and performance of your community, you won’t be able to know how much your contributors are putting in and what impact it is making on your community as a whole.

Without measuring the community efforts, you won’t be able to shape its future and won’t know where your community is heading or if it heading in the right direction at all. Therefore, it is of immense importance to measure your community efforts and success from time to time.

Here are some tips to help you measure your community’s success.

People over projects

Since open source community is about people it is run by and not about the projects it works on; measuring people over project will help you see the clear picture of your community performance.

So instead of focusing on number of projects your community works on, try to focus on number of people being actively involved in contributing to the community rather than on increasing number of projects.

Quality over quantity

Don’t chase numbers. You are not into the number game. Bigger is not always better so instead of trying to increase the number of contributions, try to make each contribution count. Instead of working towards building a bigger community, try to make a small but result-oriented, actively contributing community.

“Focusing on quantity will lead your community to a fragile state, focusing on quality will lead your community to a fertile state.”

Engagement over excitement

When new contributors join the community, their excitement is always high. In fact, it’s their high level of excitement that lead them to join your community. Their passion and the zeal to be a part of your community drives their enthusiasm in your community. But as time passes, their excitement starts fading.

That’s why it is always wise to measure current engagement rate rather than measuring the excitement level in your community.

Encouragement over enthusiasm

If you measure their enthusiasm as their contribution, it will only lead you to disappointment because enthusiasm is good thing to have but it’s not something that will help you convert your contributors’ passion into productivity.

To help your contributors contribute with their truest passion, you need to encourage them all the time. Bring-in innovating ideas and ways to encourage your contributors and honor their contribution and commitments to keep them flowing into the community.

And if you are still trying to figure out how to set up goals for your community, here is a proven formula to make your job easy:

Follow the SMART goals formula. Your community’s goals should be SMART:

S— Specific: Being specific with your goals will help you in being focused towards them.

M — Measurable: Make sure your goals are easy to measure so that you know where you stand.

A — Attainable: Keep your goals attainable and actionable. Apply logic over guesswork.

R — Realistic: Be realistic with your goals. There’s a difference between seeing a dream and setting up a goal!

T — Time-bound: Keeping your goal time-bound i.e. achievable within deadline will increase its likely success rate.

Over to you

Have anything to share from your experience? I’d love to learn your stories and ideas of managing and measuring community success. Do share your thoughts in the comments below.