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Planning for Success

Planning for Success: The Three ‘Ps’ 

When you start thinking about your project or community, it’s a good idea to have a clear strategy in place. We use the three ‘Ps’ – Planning, People and Platform.

Your strategy should highlight any internal or external issues that the community will face, suggesting methods to tackle them. If you consider each of the three ‘Ps’ carefully, you won’t go far wrong. 

1. Planning

Resources - Your project or community needs resources including people, money, time and assets. Once you have a clear definition of the objectives, outputs and scale of community that you intend to build, you can plan your resources accordingly.

Roles and Responsibilities - You will need to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of internal and external stakeholders, including colleagues. This should be communicated to all involved with the project or community. Each individual will need resources to carry out their role, so be sure to include what these are, and let all parties know what they have (and don’t have) to work with. 

Outputs - It’s vital that you start your community project with a clear understanding of the type and format of output you want to achieve. You might need to structure your data in a certain way using the segmentation tools, or plan for video outputs and how you might want to transcribe them, for example. 

Time - Communities can take up more time than expected, so plan carefully. You should prepare the required number of hours and the frequency of involvement for the duration of the community.

Success - What is going to deem your community project a success? Is it the level of engagement, the style and volume of response or simply the quality of insight? Or, how about the opportunity spaces it maps? All of these should be considered before you start, they can be used to inform project design. 

2. People 

Recruiting Participants - This is one of the most critical success factors of your community project. If not done well, it can hamper progress or jeopardise the entire project. What source are you using – panels, lists, social networks etc. How do you plan to recruit participants? What are the tactical challenges in getting people moving on from one activity to another in a timely fashion? What if you need to bring in new recruits? All of this, and more, needs to be tackled in advance if you are to succeed.

Engagement - Stay connected with your participants by communicating with them on a daily basis, keeping them informed on what they can expect each day. 

Moderation and Community Management - The more participants you have, the more effort and resource you’ll need to plan in order to carry out moderation and management. Those performing this role need to have the necessary skills and be trained in advance. What documentation and support might they need if they are not sitting next to you? What if they are in different time zones – how do you connect with them and check on progress? Consider their experience with both online and offline moderation.

Rewards - Like any research project, participants will most likely be incentivised and rewarded for their efforts in some way. You’ll do well to consider social and emotional motivation, as well as financial rewards, including prize finds and cash. Your participants will be asking “What’s in it for me?” throughout the community project, so you’ll need to give your answer careful consideration. 

3. Platform

Set Up - When using Further’s software there are a few things you’ll need to configure before ‘going live’, so be ready. You can customise the interface and switch certain functions ‘on’ or ‘off’.

Training - Further offers comprehensive online training or you can learn on your own with our prerecorded tutorials. 

Management - Online qualitative research projects and communities are iterative by nature. Effective moderators will explore themes as they emerge. You’ll need to appoint someone sufficiently skilled to upload new activities and control which functionality is employed over the lifetime of the community. This person doesn’t have to be the moderator, but often is. 

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