10 mistakes that derail your community-building efforts

10 ways you could derail your community

Building community is tricky, delicate work. This video explains 10 of the most common mistakes organizations and leaders make when they try to do it.

Open community, gardeners and food co-op
Image credits : 
Original photo by Gabriel Kamener, Sown Together, Modified by Jen Wike Huger

Subscribe now

Get the highlights in your inbox every week.

Community management is a complex cocktail of disciplines—technology, communication, project management, and more. With so many variables in the mix, there are always risks of bumps.

But community management gets even more complicated as companies—and their expectations, stakeholders, and more—enter that mix. This impacts not just public communities but communities inside businesses as well.

I've been working on and thinking about community-building for roughly two decades, and in that time I've noticed some common mistakes companies and community managers often make when taking on the delicate work of building community. I've also seen that these mistakes that are entirely avoidable.

In this episode of my open organization video series, I present 10 of those mistakes and explain how to dodge them. I'll discuss:

  1. Building one-sided value
  2. Having little to no strategy
  3. Trying to be all things to all people
  4. Siloing your community under a single team
  5. Hiring the wrong kind of roles
  6. Creating an "us and them" culture
  7. Spinning up too much infrastructure
  8. Growing too fast too soon
  9. Having too much or too little data
  10. Thinking you know it all

Check them out and let us know what you think!

Watch the series

red pen editing mistakes

Working openly means admitting when we've made mistakes. What would you do differently if you could?
Grumpy cat graphic by Kimberly Keyes

How to build a productive relationship with the complicated people in your life.
Open ethernet cords.

In open organizations, lines of communication move in unconventional directions. Do you know how to adapt your style to different audiences?

About the author

Jono Bacon - Jono Bacon is a leading community manager, speaker, author, and podcaster. He is the founder of Jono Bacon Consulting which provides community strategy/execution, developer workflow, and other services. He also previously served as director of community at GitHub, Canonical, XPRIZE, OpenAdvantage, and consulted and advised a range of organizations. Bacon is a prominent author and speaker on community management and best practice,...