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Team Growth Strategy Insights

tessak22 profile image Tessa Kriesel ・1 min read

I am a team of one handling a developer community of 450k active developers. I am looking for insights into other community teams and their size. What I am specifically looking for is community team size, structure & strategy focuses as well as the community size that you currently support.

Need some solid examples so I can PROVE that community is a bigger role than just 1 leader who can't even get time for execution.

Discussion

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mhall119 profile image
Michael Hall

I like to use Dunbar's number (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_n...) as a starting point. Since communities are built on relationships, and since a single person can only maintain ~150 meaningful relationships at a time (Dunbar's number), you have some built-in limits to how big your community can be.

The job of a community manager/team is build a web of relationships between member of the community in order to overcome that limit, but that also requires constant maintenance, so even when you have members making their own relationships with each other you have a limit on how many of those are maintained.

Some napkin-math would indicate that, for a community of 450,000 members, you'd need at least 3,000 of them actively maintaining their own relationships with others. That leaves you, as a team of one, responsible for maintaining a relationship with at least those 3,000 members! Ideally, by these numbers, there should be 20 people on your team in order to maintain that level of relationships.

There are some things you can do to make that math work out a little better for you, like giving some members of your community leadership roles and responsibilities, that would effectively make them one of your 20 needed team mates. I wrote about these strategies and other things you can do to more efficiently maintain and grow your community here: docs.savannahhq.com/insights/conne...

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jordyalexander profile image
jordy alexander

This was amazing. Thank you, good lick 🍭

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tessak22 profile image
Tessa Kriesel Author

Wow, this was incredibly helpful. Now I know why I feel drained all the time. 🤣

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alex profile image
Alex Angel

A couple examples from my own experience:

When I was at reddit, we were a team of 3 for quite some time. By the time I left I'd hired two additional folks. We were constantly under water because there were hundreds of millions of users (~200M MAU by the time I left). We handled support (which consisted of user issues, site issues, helping mods/users with anything and everything... it was A LOT), events, moderation of various subreddits, legal inquiries, rule enforcement, policy development, feature development, product feedback, content creation, social media, and a million other little things. Now I think they have 25(?) people on the team, which still feels like it's too few in my book since there are ~400M MAU!

At my current company (lol), there are four full-time people on the Community team (plus our CEO who spends a lot of time doing community things). The team focuses on engagement, content creation, social media, events, product feedback, support, policy development/enforcement, and, like most community teams, a bunch of other misc stuff. Since our core product is community-focused AND we have a separate community (which has ~2k members) it's a little bit different, but we've got our fingers in a lot of pies.

Hope this is helpful!

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tessak22 profile image
Tessa Kriesel Author

Super helpful. I am also playing a slight support role, at least in escalations. So your first paragraph about reddit really hit home for me. I will definitely use these numbers in my pitch. Thank you!

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evanhamilton profile image
Evan Hamilton

Really depends on what you're doing.

At Reddit my team is about 21 right now, probably 25 early next year (though there are also contractors). 7ish are community relations, 6ish run and develop programs, and 5ish are because we also own customer support. If we didn't own support we'd probably lose those 5. If we didn't have a nascent international program we'd be smaller by 2. If we hadn't deprecated one of our support responsibilities and built a lot of autoresponders, we'd probably need 3-6 more people. We don't handle trust and safety issues; if we did we'd be many times larger.

So ultimately, I think it really depends what you are owning and how efficient you are at doing it.

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jewelsn profile image
Julie Nee

Hello - I would also consider your role. It is not up to you to moderate, manage, and maintain all the communities, but rather set the infrastructure, platform, and environment for them to be successful. It is a mindset shift, but you will give more than you get in a community and you can't be the one giving it all