It's taken a while to find the time to write this, as it's been a little nutso post launch, but I thought it might be helpful to others to share some learnings we took away from our journey in rolling out our migrated community earlier this year:
First, make sure you've included all the right peeps in your decision making 🙂 And even if you're sure you have, go back and ask again...and confirm again. People forget, people get busy, people think of other people who may have thoughts. people have other stuff going on and as a CM it's our jobs to make sure that we're getting all the answers we need from the right people. Even still, they might change their minds days before launch, but at least you tried!
Have a clear vision of what launch looks like - what is the MVP that you and your organization are truly willing to launch to the public with? What's make or break? Who makes that decision? How do you communicate? How do you plan promos in advance or handle a no-go decision? Failing to plan, is planning to fail, isn't that what they say? 🙂
An extension of that, is knowing what you want to do when and what follows after. We hosted an amazing internal Alpha stage where our employees gave us a huge amount of awesome feedback. We implemented what we felt made sense, and then we went into Private Beta with our identified users. For Private Beta, we followed 99% of the best practices, but admittedly it was a bit lackluster. What went wrong? Nothing really, it was a test after all. But it didn't pan out exactly how we'd hoped.
All in all, I'd say plan, plan, plan. You cannot plan enough for the changes that can come up and you have to be ready to move on to plan B, C, D and E, and fast. Hopefully this was helpful for those of you in the thick of it or looking for insights as you gear up!
PS: Despite the learnings and hiccups though, I will say we are incredibly happy with our post-launch progress and continue moving forward at a fast and exciting pace!
Thank you for writing this up, @Kerri! Congrats on your launch! If your site is public I'd love to check it out.
I'm curious to learn more about what was somewhat off with your Private Beta.
We launched our main community a couple of years ago, but continue to launch smaller sub-communities so we re-do the private beta > launch process relatively frequently. One thing I've learned in private betas / times when the community doesn't have much content is to be really explicit about what you'd like people to do. Like "Today's task: Update your profile picture!" and "Today's task: Ask a question about something you need help with, or something you recently needed help with and had to ask support."
Thanks for the ask. Good call outs for sure and we’ve had good luck with such things both in the Alpha and post launch.
For us, my suspicion is that it was a somewhat unique circumstance of a perfect storm between timing (we delayed a few times), tech limitations (a migration) and audience. We tried, but ultimately I think the sum of our challenges bit us in the bum.