Masters of Community with David Spinks
Managing Community Operations, Supporting the Roadmap, & Enabling a Cohesive Community Experience with Tiffany Oda
July 19, 2021
In this episode of Masters of Community, we speak with Tiffany Oda, Director of Community Operations at Venafi. Her passion for organization and project management began in school, which she later chose to pursue as a career. With roles in customer support with community engagement, she realized her strengths and weaknesses. As the Senior Programs Manager at Salesforce for the Trailblazer program, she used her organization and process management skills to work internally with community operations. This way, she wasn’t dealing with actual community members. In this podcast episode, she defines this relatively new community operations manager role, such as what the role entails and the line of communication. She also discusses how building a business case to hire an additional Salesforce developer helped her. With this extra pair of hands, she created and implemented a complex reimbursement process and community leader application program at Salesforce. Now that the pandemic is beginning to ease, Tiffany touches upon the need and thought-process behind creating a mixed community that brings people who actively participate in the online community into the real world. Apart from this, there are great tips and discussions in the episode about setting goals as a community ops manager and creating cohesive community experiences across multiple platforms. Tiffany also shares her advice on planning a community roadmap from a community operations perspective. Who is this episode for?: Community Managers who want to strengthen their operations management and project management skills. 3 key takeaways: 1. Community Operation Management: The community ops manager finds gaps in community management processes and develops plans to improve or fix these identified issues. They use comprehensively planned workflows, templates, and tools to empower enterprise-scale community processes. 2. Setting Goals as a Community Ops Manager: Time and money savings goals are the most important for making a business case stronger. On-time delivery, delays, and subjective/objective feedback from community managers and members are also taken into account to set community ops goals. Your processes should enable your community team to spend their extra time performing community management tasks rather than managing these tools. These goals will change depending on what stage your community is at. 3. Creating a more cohesive community experience: Having platform-specific metrics for a multi-platform community helps the community ops manager understand the most popular platforms. If and when the need arises they are then able to direct members to those platforms. Creating and communicating solid, well-documented community setup processes helps integrate unofficial communities into the fold. Create a business case to request additional resources in a function that you are not great or efficient in. Document process metrics, community feedback, and other data as you execute the current “stripped down” version of your plan. Use it to draw future projections that will help make your business case for process optimization stronger. Notable Quotes: 1. “They think at the end of the day with leadership, … they don't necessarily either understand the potential benefit from it or because the community is still nascent, a lot of people still don't quite understand, creating that business case to justify the value and presenting that was actually how I got my resource and it wound up being so good because we build so many tools together” 2. “Also from my standpoint, it was. looking at things that are not necessarily community management driven. So - for example - with reimbursements, spotting trends of maybe some suspicious activity going or, oh, this group is actually just submitting a reimbursement for the top dollar amount, that's possible every single time, why are they spending so much money every month or something like that, where it might not be super apparent” 3. “If, for example, there's an unofficial group, not only do you not necessarily have control [of] what happens in there, but you don't know if they're not officially onboarded to them. They could go years of being in the community without even realizing,..that's not what you want to hear. So yeah, that's a challenge“ Rapid-fire question answers: 1. What’s your favorite book to recommend to others? “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier” by Robert A Emmons. 2. What's the go-to community engagement, tactic, or conversation starter that you like to use in your communities? Simply talking and being curious about their work. 3. Have you ever worn socks with sandals? Only as a means to an end but not an intentional fashion. 4. Who in the world of the community would you most like to take out for lunch? David Spinks, Rich Millington, and Elizabeth Kinsey (from Slack). 5. If you could give one piece of advice to all new community managers, what would it be? Think about community members and their experience first, since they will be directly impacted by your work as Community Operations Manager. 6. What's the proudest moment of your career? Getting a job at Salesforce and living in San Francisco. 7. Weirdest community you’ve been a part of? A World of Warcraft Community in college. 8. What's the question I didn't ask you that I should have? My pet peeve. I hate the word automagically because it doesn’t convey the amount of effort it takes behind planning automation. 9. If you were to find yourself on your deathbed today, and you had to condense all of your life lessons into one Twitter size piece of advice on how to live, what would that advice be? A combination of “Hakuna Matata” and “embrace the chaos.”

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