Community Building in Rational Asset Manager

July 20, 2008

I thought it would be interesting to go through the 12 Principles of Civilization to see how Rational Asset Manager measures up.

Is there a necessary shared purpose that we accomplish together?

  • The general purpose of a community is creating, maintaining, and consuming a set of assets that serve a similar purpose.
  • Community administrators can further define the purpose of the community by declaring the community’s mission on the community page.

Does each member have an identity? Can we tell who’s who, even if members remain anonymous?

  • LDAP support allows each user to have an identity. Users have a profile page that shows users’ identities.
  • Users’ names are always shown as links that link to their profile page.

Are we able to share information and ideas that fit our purpose?

  • As stated above, the purpose of a community is to share assets. Submitting assets to the community is one way of achieving this purpose.
  • The community Overview and Configuration pages serve as a one-way direction for sharing information about the community. Community forums allow two-way information sharing.

How can we build trust? What tells us that it’s safe to deal with other people in the community?

  • LDAP support allows users to build trust in the identity of other members.

How do we form reputations? What lets us build status?

  • Users build reputations by the assets they contribute and how well the assets are rated.
  • Improvements:
    • In future versions of RAM, we would like to build on this and allow you to see more information about users like their activity.
    • We should consider rating users on their activity level. We can show their activity level next to their name. On their profile page, we can show where they have been active in forums and reviews.

Have we created ways to work together in small groups?

  • User groups allow community members to work in smaller groups within the community.
  • “Work” in this case can refer to reviewing assets or contributing certain types of assets.

Is our environment a shared space that is appropriate for our goals?

  • This is up to the community to decide. If Rational Asset Manager is not an appropriate tool for the community’s goal, then the community should not be using RAM. Rational Team Concert is a good product for software development teams. Lotus also has some nice community-building applications (Connections and Quickr, for instance).

Do we know who belongs in our community and who doesn’t?

  • Because a community can be configured so that everyone can participate, Community administrators create user groups and roles to classify how users relate to the community.
  • Improvements:
    • On community forums and maybe on user profiles, show users’ roles and user groups. This would also improve building trust because seeing that another user is a member of a community user group causes you to trust the user’s involvement in the community.

What’s our system of governance? How do we regulate behavior so that it supports our shared values?

  • The system of governance is defined by the community, but RAM’s review processes, policies, forums, and reporting are all tools that can help govern the community. If all else fails, the community’s system of governance can be described on the community’s page.

Is there a system of exchange that allows us to trade knowledge, support, goods, services, and ideas?

  • Rational Asset Manager itself is the system for exchanging assets.

Are we able to express our group identity in a timely way? Are we aware of what other members are doing right now?

  • The community identity can be expressed through the community’s page. Custom information about the community can be added. The community’s tag cloud and configuration page is one way of expressing the types of assets the community offers.
  • Improvements:
    • To improve awareness of what members are doing right now, we can add the user activity to the user profile page.

Do we have ways to review our history and to track our evolution — and leave behind what’s best forgotten?

  • Using the data URLs to create reports is one way of tracking a community’s history and evolution (for example, number of assets over time)
  • Retiring, archiving, and deleting assets allows removal of irrelevant assets.
  • Community forums are sorted in reverse chronological order so that the newest topics are surfaced prominently

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