Community Management Wiki


Certain types of business models generate lots of friction between the community and the company. For example, typical open core business models make it very difficult to reap the benefits from the potential developer community. The best option is to fix the problem at the root, by changing the business model to one that allows greater community participation. Even when this is not an option, there are ways to increase community participation.

Determining the potential benefits from the community[]

Depending on the type of the project, the maximum potential benefit - even from a properly managed community - can be relatively small. In open source software development probably the single most important factor is the size of the userbase, as only users can become contributors. There's a good chance for building a big userbase around a software project, if

  • the software is general-purpose
  • the software can be integrated into other projects
  • the software solves a commonly encountered problem
  • there's a lack of competition from other similar projects

Even if the userbase is big, there are several potential barriers to entry which are difficult to fix in an established software project:

  • Complexity of the codebase
  • Modularity of the codebase

If the project is still in the planning stages, these factors need to be taken into account.

There are also a number of other barriers to entry which can be fixed afterwards.

Good and bad business models[]

When a business model is good from community management perspective, it does not create many conflicts of interest between the company and the community. Also, the work the community does directly benefits the company's business goals, instead of hurting them. A few examples of good business models:

  • Professional services
    • Custom development
    • Installation, configuration and management
    • Selling support

Then there are the bad business models, which generally create conflicts of interest:

That is not to say that these s.c. bad business models don't have merit; it's just that the have the tendency to negatively impacts the usefulness of the community.