Dealing with different personalities, across different generations, all with their own different sets of motivations can be one of the toughest challenges managers face today. While it may be impossible to please everyone, there are some things that are almost universally known to motivate people. These things range from one of the oldest parts of human society, games, to simply providing easy access to relevant information.
Something most of us knows well is the idea of games being fun and engaging by their very nature. Board games specifically are designed to bring groups of people together to either compete or collaborate and achieve a specific goal. In general, an individual operates at a higher level when presented with a game to play rather than having that same person just complete tasks. It’s important then to recognize this idea and bring games into your developer community.
Some ways AnswerHub uses gamification are through leaderboards, custom titles, and badges. Leaderboards let the community know more than just who the highest contributing individual is, they can be centered around ideas adopted, answers accepted as “best answer” status, or most upvoted articles. The idea here is to build leaderboards that encourage the behavior you desire from your community. Custom titles and badges are similar. Your goal as a community manager or administrator should be to encourage positive interactions within your developer community and awarding people badges that are themed around your company or corporate goals will do just that.
It’s not enough just to have these leaderboards though. We find that the most engaged and motivated developer communities are the ones that go a step above and provide real-life rewards for achieving certain statuses or reputation levels. Create monthly, quarterly, or yearly competitions so that the leaderboards matter for that specific time period, then there’s a reward (like a gift card or trophy), and then the leaderboards reset, giving the rest of your developer community a chance to win in the next period.
The other biggest motivator to creating an engaged developer community is to ensure the information, articles, ideas, and the questions & answers your site provides are relevant and easy to find. While this concept is simple, it’s one that is easily forgotten when diving into a developer community and focusing on the gamification we looked at above.
Moderation is important here and training your moderation team is key to ensuring the initial success of your developer community. By laying the correct framework of effective moderation, you help get answers in devs hands without them having to do multiple searches on multiple sites or wait for someone to email them back. It also breaks out information that was previously in silos, helping people who have similar questions or ideas in the future. This isn’t necessarily about creating motivation, instead, it’s focused on keeping motivation alive and keeping momentum high.