Lee Romero

On Content, Collaboration and Findability

Archive for November 25th, 2008

Additional Community Metrics

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

My last several posts have been focused on various aspects of community metrics – primarily those derived from the use of a particular tool (mailing lists) used within our communities. While quite fruitful from an analysis perspective, these are not the only metrics we’ve looked at or reported on. In this post, I’ll provide some insights on other metrics we’ve used in case they might be of interest.

Before going on, though, I also wanted to highlight what I’ve found to be an extremely thorough and useful guide covering KPIs for knowledge management from a far more general perspective than just communities – How to Use KPIs in Knowledge Management by Patrick Lambe. I would highly recommend that anyone interested in measuring and evaluating a knowledge management program (or a community of practice initiative specifically) read this document for an excellent overview for a variety of areas. Go ahead… I’ll wait.

OK – Now that you’ve read a very thorough list, I will also direct you to Miguel Cornejo Castro’s blog, who has published on community metrics. I know I’ve seen his paper on this before, but in digging just now I could not seem to come up with a link to it. Hopefully, someone can provide a pointer.

UPDATE:  Miguel was kind enough to provide the link to the paper I was recalling in my mention above: The Macuarium Set of CoP Measurements.  Thanks, Miguel!

If you can provide pointers to additional papers or writings on metrics, please comment here or on the com-prac list.

With that aside, here are some of the additional metrics we’ve used in the past (when we were reporting regularly on the entire program, it was generally done quarterly to give you an idea of the span we looked at each time we assembled this):

  • Usage of intranet-based web sites – specifically, site visits and hits on a community’s site as track by our web analytics solution;
  • Intellectual assets produced – specifically, tracking those produced (or significantly updated) and published via one of our repositories;
  • Number of “anecdotes” captured for community members – that is, the one-off “pats on the back” that community members receive – this attempted to capture some of the softer aspects of community value;
  • Number of knowledge share events held – many communities commonly host virtual events (using one of several different webcasting tools) and we tracked those as well as any in-person events;
  • Attendance at community knowledge share events and playback of recordings of webcasts – an attempt to capture how impactful the events were on members;
  • White papers produced – a specific drill into the intellectual assets;
  • For most of these, we also provided insights on quarter-to-quarter change within communities and for the community of practice program overall to give community sponsors / leaders insight on which direction things were moving;
  • We also looked at our corporate wiki for some insights on a couple levels:
    • Using our community member lists, we knew who was a member of a community, so we could analyze content authoring within the wiki by that same group; this provided insight on how much community members contributed to this knowledge base;
    • Within our corporate wiki, authors have the ability to assign articles to categories; one set of such categories were the communities, so we reported on authoring activity and usage of wiki articles that were assigned a category corresponding to one of the communities of practice; this provided insight on the utility and interest in knowledge associated with the communites.
  • And, finally, we also reported another “softer” piece of data, which was to allow the communities themselves to highlight specific events, results, or issues for the communities.

This is my last planned post on community metrics for now. I will likely return to the topic in the future. I hope the posts have been interesting and also have provided food for thought for your own community programs or efforts.