Applying Agile Product Management Principles to Community Management

Shannon Emery manages both the external customer-facing and internal employee communities at Higher Logic. With so many tasks to manage and two distinct communities to nurture, how is a community professional to focus?

Patrick and Shannon’s conversation is about just that –– the strategies and resources that she relies on to stay focused and successfully manage both communities. These strategies include:

  • Leaning on dotted-line team members for support and subject-matter expertise (4:19)
  • Adapting the principles of agile product management to her workflow (20:13)
  • Asking about the bigger picture before accepting new tasks or projects (20:29)

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Big Quotes

On transparency in workplace communities (10:30): “If an employee asks a particularly difficult question [in the internal community], let’s talk about it. Let’s be transparent. Otherwise, why do we have a community? … Just because somebody questions something doesn’t mean [that] it’s negative [or] something that we [can’t] address for everybody. … I always say that if one person has posted it, there are a bunch of people who have the same question, so let’s make sure we’re being responsive.” –@llamasayswhat

The benefits of applying agile methodologies to your workflow (30:30): “[The agile process has helped me] when an executive comes by and [asks for] something. I can say, ‘I really appreciate that, but let me see how it fits in this week’s workload.’ That way, I can actually get it done, and I’m not trying to struggle to put something together real quick just because somebody asked for it. It’s more of, ‘Let’s take the appropriate amount of time and do this the right way.’ Because as the company scales, as the customer base grows, you have to be able to scale these initiatives. Sometimes people get really excited about something small [but they haven’t thought about how to scale it to the community].” –@llamasayswhat

About Shannon Emery

Shannon Emery is a community manager for Higher Logic, a provider of customer and member cloud-based engagement platforms. She’s responsible for their internal staff and external client communities. Prior to that, she was senior community manager for Blackbaud.

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