Users help to group priorities
The Collabco team recently held two very successful user groups so that we could bring together customers in the North and South regions. We wanted our customers to have the opportunity to share knowledge and their personal experiences in using myday.
This got me thinking, what should the main goal of a user group actually be? Ideally a user groups can be a set of people who have similar interests, goals, or concerns? I think the ultimate goal should be sharing of ideas. This way the users ultimately benefit from knowledge transfer and we (Collabco) benefit from understanding concerns, issues and priorities.
I suppose ideally, the members of a user group should live in the same geographic area so that they can still maintain some contact following the event and can easily get together in person. However, some user groups have members distributed throughout the world, and they meet using Internet chat rooms, message boards, or mailing lists. Members may also correspond by telephone and e-mail on a one-to-one basis. User groups often have Web sites that each member can visit on a regular basis to stay informed.
We have now established a central collaboration tool for all our customers to use on a regular basis. In this way we are able to understand issues, and sharing of ideas in “real time”. We can then pro-actively respond quickly. If this continual sharing of ideas happens naturally on an ongoing basis the physical user groups can be much more focused when they actually happen. The agenda can be ultimately driven and refined by the actual user group themselves so the session will add significant value.
A user group should not be “passive” until a “one off event” is organised. It should be a continuous flow and exchange of ideas. In this way the group is “active” with the actual events providing an opportunity to consolidate and prioritise ideas, thoughts and concerns that have already had the opportunity to be enhanced and refined due to the active nature of the group leading up to the physical event.