Skip to main content
Enterprise Agile Planning icon with arrows

This post is from the CollabNet VersionOne blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Mar 30, 2009 — Enterprise Agile Planning expert

Inspiration vs. Perspiration

Enterprise Agile Planning

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Evans Data Developer Relations Conference in San Jose, and it gave me the opportunity to listen to 2 very contrasting approaches to what amounted to the same thing: university outreach. On one side was Jean Elliott, discussing how Sun was going to approach (reach? eclipse? fall just short of?) 900,000 university program members by this summer. In that session, she discussed the various ways Sun had put themselves in that position – it was a tour de force of grassroots outreach featuring open source communities that target life-long academics and students. On the other side was Bruce Carney from Nokia, who delved into a myriad of metrics and measurables in an attempt to define success and track how far along they were towards reaching it. During this session, an inch-thick booklet of tiny font statistics was passed around the room.

It was grassroots outreach vs. statistical analysis. Really, it was inspiration vs. perspiration. Of course, this is not to say that Sun doesn't expend significant energy planning these programs and measuring their success, or that Nokia doesn't engage at a grassroots level, but it was clear which parts each company emphasized, and I started to think about the role of inspiration in online communities.

It comes down to the age-old question, "Why does anyone participate in your community?" There's nothing to force someone to come to any community or make them stick around. Ultimately, someone sticks around because it's in their own self-interest to do so, but there's something "squishy" about how community members self-select, and I can't honestly say that it's 100% about the product or technology that forms the basis of the community. In fact, I'm pretty sure that in addition to a community's core offering, there's an element of culture or "soft" product, if you will. If you run a community and want to engage with your community, how much have you invested in your soft product?

This post introduces the series, which I'll continue for a few days. Tomorrow, I'll continue with a post about "zen and the art of community development" – it's about the engagement, not the direct ROI. It's about the conversation, not simply providing an answer.

More from the Blog

View more
Digital.ai Government Cloud
Apr 12, 2022

Digital.ai Government Cloud receives FedRAMP Authorization through sponsorship from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Enterprise Agile Planning
Flagship Digital.ai Agility solutions can effectively scale agile deve ...
Read More
Nov 22, 2021

What are the qualities of highly effective agile teams?

Enterprise Agile Planning
A team is the core unit of productivity in an agile organization. Wher ...
Read More
Nov 15, 2021

How an open-first attitude revolutionized government tech development

Enterprise Agile Planning
Public perception of government is often that it is slow-moving, reluc ...
Read More
cross functional
Nov 08, 2021

6 best practices for building resilient cross-functional teams

Enterprise Agile Planning
Agile frameworks prize the quality of resilience within every facet of ...
Read More
Contact Us