In my career, I often discussed metrics and how they shape business and results.
There’s no “good” metric per se since when there’s a metric, people start behaving to maximize it. So a good metric alone can polarize your business and lead to worse results. This is why, most companies use a balanced scorecard with different metrics, that in the end should lead to more balanced business results.
I’m thinking about diversity and inclusion in the communities and events world for some time, and I concluded that you could not merely “measure” one of the outcomes, for example, the number of diverse speakers over time, or the number of new speakers, or the number of young speakers, and so on.
Measuring only one the outcomes can tell you that you have a problem; for example, an event with all men speakers line-up from several editions, for sure, has a problem of diversity. A community where the same people speak at all the events has a problem. And so on.
But, if you only measure the output, you don’t take into account the process, the context, and the difficulties of finding the right balance.
An event should be successful, so you need the right number of “experienced” speakers that will attract people. But you should continuously search for and find new talents, to ensure diversity, but also to guarantee the survival of the initiative in the long term.
I hate when I ask the organizers if they’re working to ensure diversity, and they say “we have a call for paper”. In the corporate world, when you have a metric, you cannot just say “we did a facebook campaign”. You’ve to work on different strategies, and you should measure the results, and work to reach your target.
I think that in the community and event world, people should do the same.
Do you have short and long term metrics? Are you actively working to reach them? Do you really care about them?
Do you need some example metrics, covering outputs and process?
- Number of first-time speakers over time.
- Number of diverse speakers over time.
- Number of diverse speakers that were directly invited to apply for the CfP.
- Number of first-time speakers that became “regular” speakers.
- Number of diverse speakers that you’ve nurtured and grown over time.
- Evaluations for recurring speakers vs. first-time speakers. How to improve both.
- Number of channels that can be used to attract new and diverse people.
- Networking with other communities to exchange people and grow together.
- Activities attract and to increase the value of new, diverse, and recurring speakers.
- How many dry-runs you have done over time.
These numbers don’t happen using black magic. They require work. They require dedication. But these are topics for some upcoming posts.
Sharing the results with the community
I like it when people share the metrics and the results with the community from time to time. Community members or event participants can see the whole picture, and they can also suggest new people or new ways to reach new people.
Sometimes I heard complaints about how a community is managed, but most of the time, people change their minds once they know the numbers, the process, and the hard work behind those.
Think about sharing not only your Code of Conduct but also what you are doing to improve the situation.