Whether your project is private or public, or whether it uses a ‘wild’ (public/volunteers) or ‘tame’ (staff/contractors/members) crowd, there are some simple techniques to ensure it is successful.
1. Be very clear about your objectives
Knowing exactly what you need to achieve means the system can be customised completely to your requirements, with inbuilt checks and balances. The more vague your needs, the more vague the solution has to be and the less meaningful the results. Be mindful that if a field is left ‘open ended’ you are inviting people to spend time researching an entry for you. By locking down the information you want your crowd to provide, you are better able to control time spent to complete the project.
2. Identify your crowd
Will your crowd be a known group of trained staff, contractors or volunteers? Or will you be opening the project to anyone and everyone that wants to have a go? The wilder your crowd, the more inbuilt checks and balances will be needed – plus a tutorial process may need to be created to ensure you get what you need from your volunteers.
3. Identify your audience
Will the project be open or closed? The benefit of the web based platform is that it can be open and public, or private and accessible to specific users only – getting around geographical separation or physical space limitations in your offices. Your crowd can work from anywhere with a computer and an internet connection, and they can work in every timezone so your project is active 24 hours a day.
4. Show progress
Progress charts are a clear, visual representation of how far through the project you are – which provides useful information for your project manager; for example to estimate completion dates, recruitment drives, incentives etc. They are also useful for your crowd – allowing them to see how far along the path they are. Leaderboards also provide a bit of friendly competition within your crowd and other statistics can be collected that will give insights for the project managers for example who are the star contributors and who may need extra tuition.
Whether the project is internal or public, celebrate the milestones achieved along the way. Even with a tight budget, small rewards and recognition of efforts keep your crowd coming back to get the project completed.