Lessons learned from Social Content 2.0 Circle of Life – Part 2

per·spec·tive n. Subjective evaluation of relative significance; a point of view.

Perspective

Perspective

Background

In an earlier post, How to infuse Social Content 2.0 into your social software lifecycle, I reiterated a common theme I noticed in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Social Software. That theme basically stated that many social software providers’ ability to execute may suffer due to their lack of resources, or, size does matter – according to Gartner. To address this issue, I posted my Trial offer to test the Social Content 2.0 Circle of Life where I proposed the services of a new player – the Community Product Manager. And finally, after receiving some much appreciated feedback, I followed-up with my Lessons learned from Social Content 2.0 Circle of Life – Part 1 where I clarified the distinction between a Community Manager, Product Manager and a Community Product Manager. In this post, I’ll focus on what I discovered during that trial week by presenting some concrete examples and how I think it fits into the big picture.

A fleck of paint

Recently, there’s been a lot of news about Space Junk;

In June 1983, the windscreen of the U.S. space shuttle Challenger had to be replaced after it was chipped by a fleck of paint measuring 0.01 of an inch that impacted at four kilometers per second.

So here’s my fleck of paint: For the purposes of discussion, I purposely selected trivial content in order not to distract from the point I’m trying to articulate. For now, you’ll have to trust me about the volume of content flying around in cyberspace :-)

It’s really a matter of perspective

Here’s some content I found using Radian6 during the trial period and a few different perspectives:

Scenario 1: Broadcast of new feature to anyone listening for Socialtext
Tweet from pascal_venier on Feb 28, 2009 02:48 PM

Studying Socialtext wiki automatic “Email notification of Recent Changes” to your inbox. A nice feature. http://twurl.nl/ypcmoj…

Perspective Possible reaction
Anyone connected to Socialtext May retweet
Competitor’s Customer Compares to current experience and may contact support, or, retweet
Competitor’s Community Manager May need to ask Support about feature and if it exists, may tweet their own spin
Competitor’s Community Product Manager Compares to current feature-set & if it exists then tweets their own spin else documents 1-line User Story. For example: “As someone interested in the contents published on a particular wiki, I’d like to receive email notifications of updates on a scheduled basis, so I don’t have to visit the site to ensure I have the latest content.”

Scenario 2: Broadcast of feature request to Liferay & anyone listening for Liferay
Tweet from helmblogger on Mar 03, 2009 12:34 PM

@Liferay Our business problem… “News” both organizational and departmental. Need to display “all-in-one” and “by department”.. thoughts?…

Perspective Possible reaction
@Liferay (Perhaps Community Manager) Depending on their role, may forward to Support, or, Development
Anyone listening for Liferay May retweet & contact Support too
Competitor’s Customer Compares to current experience and may retweet & contact Support too
Competitor’s Community Manager May need to ask Support about feature and if it exists, may tweet own spin
Competitor’s Community Product Manager Compares to current feature-set & if it exists then tweet their own spin else documents 1-line User Story. For example: “As an author, I’d like to publish hierarchical content, so that groups based on the hierarchy have permission to read it.”

Scenario 3: Blog post targeting sought after project management features and referencing a few social software players
The Best and Worst Project Management Apps posted Feb 08, 2009 05:17 AM

… But there are a number of organizations that command large amounts of cash who need to procure project management systems for their divisions around the world. This includes NGOs, Government Agencies, International Schools, Non-Profits and more. In these harsh economic times, businesses should be looking for ways to tap into new markets. Most emerging economies still have nearly 100% room for growth, if only developers take into account their needs and circumstances.

Do any project management products exist that are ready to serve this multi-billion dollar sector?…

Perspective Possible reaction
Anyone listening for Basecamp, Zoho, Google Apps, Zimbra, ActiveCollab, ProjectPier, OpenGoo, Dot Project, Cyn.in, Confluence, Rockclimbr, Drupal, Yammer, Noodle, Present.ly, Collabtive, Trellis Desk, Achievo, or, Product Planner May comment, or, tweet
Anyone associated & listening for any of the above organizations Compares to current experience and may comment, tweet, or, contact Support too
Competitor’s Customer Compares to current experience and may comment, tweet, or, contact Support too
Competitor’s Community Manager May need to ask Support about features and possibly comment/tweet their own spin
Competitor’s Community Product Manager Compares to current feature-set & possibly comments/tweets their own spin else documents 1-line User Story for each missing feature. This example is really about architecture: “As an emerging market decision-maker for social software selection, I need a self-hosted solution, so my users need only intranet access since Internet access is not always available.”
Do you see the pattern?

Assuming the organization has a Community Manager then there may be an overlap in responsibilities with a Community Product Manager. However, this can be easily addressed with a little bit of collaboration. However beyond the overlap, a Community Product Manager could potentially extend the above scenarios by:

  1. Reviewing User Stories with their counter-part Product Manager & determine any course of action
  2. Engaging with the source and/or user community to elaborate and document the feature requirements
  3. Supporting the Product Manager in the feature development lifecycle thereby completing the Social Content 2.0 Circle of Life (see post title)
Panning the river for gold

Panning the River of News for gold

However, the most important pattern that emerged and lesson I learned was the one of Perspective. No doubt, even with the help of Radian6′s River of News, there’s a lot of work involved in mining for gold nuggets in cyberspace. But the beauty of striking these nuggets is that they’re environmentally friendly – they’re reusable! As illustrated in this post, one piece of content can yield dividends for many investors. It’s just a matter of perspective.

Up next

My next post will propose a Community Product Manager business model. I’d love to hear any of your ideas and will be more than happy to attribute and share them here.

Reflection
Do the above scenarios and quotes help in providing concrete examples of where a Community Product Manager can add value to your development process? Do you need more? Do you have any examples of your own you could share with me?

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