Yammer Group Optimization (List, Review, Delete, Merge)


A) Introduction
At given stage most of Yammer Admin or Yammer Governance will have the same question : everyone is able to create a Yammer Group at at given stage we can have hundreds of useless yammer group with few people, no activities or numerous yammer group talking the same subject but not active because the community is fragmented.

This note is a collection of recipe (cookbook) of different solution available to list all the group you have on your yammer network to be able to make some arbitration from governance perspective. 

Reducing or Optimizing Yammer group or Delete some yammer group is not negative, this is a good way to clarify usage, help community of practice to emerge by routing people on the same place, it is just have to done by keeping in mind it have to be benevolant, this is not a question of quantity but quality.

Do you prefer having 100 group of 20 people not very active and with 1 message per month or do you prefer having 20 group with 100 members consolidate on the same scope/topics with 1 message per week or even more several message a day :) ?

B) Does Size Matter in Communities (or you Yammer Group) ?

Sorry, we will not talk about relationship between Men and Women :) I mainly selected this Title and Illustration too get your attention :)

Thanks to Stan GARFIELD and LinkedIn Article he made here :https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141208204832-2500783-does-size-matter-in-communities on which most of information of chapter B) was consolidated or coming from. Hence "sentence in italic like this" are direct quote from original article made by Stan.

Q1. Does size matter?

To directly go to the point, the answer is YES. A group with 100-200 or more members tended to be more active and provide better business results than smaller groups. 

  Q2. does the size requirement for activity depends on the type of group ?

Once again YES!

  • A public group is open by definition, so people are free to join that group and be member of the community. So a Public could be more resiliant than a private one because you have a continuous incoming of new members, fresh blood, new idea. Moreover people are free to join that group that could help the group to grow more easily (group members just need to have interesting discussion within that group and people outside would like to be member of that club :) I recommend a minimal size of 100-200
  • A private group is close by definition, so it is less easier to enter that group and/or know if discussion within that group are interested (if you are not members) : hence if you have some "private" community, it is vital the group description is clear. Personnaly I dislike the term private+community, from my perspective a community is public & open by definition, if a yammer group is private this is more a "workgroup" than a community. A private group not necessarly need lot of member to be active, as example if a team of 20 peoples properly using yammer to make internal disucssion and communication within the team (to replace email) it could be quite enough to have an active private group, this is more a question of change and adoption. Unfortunatly you will discover that lot of private group will failed (the group exist bu tno conversation) due to critical mass they not have (not enough member or not enough adoption/change of practice).


Q3. Why Communities need a critical mass of members ?


  • "In a typical community, 10% or fewer of the members will tend to post, ask questions, present, etc. If a community has only 10 members, that means that only one person will be doing most of the activity. In a community of 50, you can expect around 5 people to be very active, and that is probably the minimum number for success. As the community grows in size, it becomes more likely that experts belong, that questions will be answered, and that a variety of topics will be discussed."
  • "The greater the number of members in a community, the greater the potential benefit.A community benefits from a broad range of perspectives. If it has only a small number of like-minded members, it is unlikely that innovative ideas, lively debates, and breakthrough thinking will result."
  • "The rule of thumb is that 10% of the members will participate at all, and only 1% will regularly be active in discussions and presentations. In small communities, 1% can be rounded to zero. If only a handful of people speak up, that will not usually sustain momentum."
  • "The larger the membership, the more likely that any question posed to the community will be answered. By including as much of the available expertise as possible in the community, its ability to respond increases accordingly."
  • "Increasing the size of a community yields more potential speakers at community events and conference calls. It results in greater leverage, since for the same effort, more people realize the benefits. And it helps more people to become comfortable in the community model, which can lead them to join other communities, recruit new members, and launch related communities of interest."


Q4. Does the 90-9-1 rule is true ?

  • People working on ESN have different theory, some of them saying 90-9-1 rule is good,some other saying 90-9-1 rule is dead and number should be 70-20-10. Some other (I am more in this category) saying the rule is more 95-4-1 even in groups focused on knowledge management and collaboration (this is mainly based on practice and experience and thing we could observe for true within an ESN)


Q5. Is it wrong to have 90% of passive participants ?

  • NO, this is not, this is just the reality. if you go back to enterprise context, some employees recently joined the organisation, they need to take confidence or gather comporate culture, so people are introverted, some other are nto introverted but lack in confidence to share on what they are doing (in fact the work they are making is interesting but not have enough confidence in them to sahre it because they believe this is not enough interesting (even lot of people may be interested because they are working on teh same subject, even the subject is really basic), so other people are extrovert, then have confidence, they broke the barrier and sharing easily information and have the habit to share opinion. 
  • "So 90% of passive participants is not wrong at all until they read, listen and pay attention. this number start to be wrong when they are not getting value from the group, and the organization misses out on their personal development and/or their contributions to the other members."


Q6. to go back to my community


  • "If you can generate a higher percentage of active group members, that's great. For internal communities, this usually depends on factors outside the direct control of the community manager, such as senior leaders who are active and who get others to follow their example. However you go about it, the more people who join a group and pay attention to it, the better." (the typical example could be the following one : Does your CEO is present and using your social network OR is it Internal Com making thing on behalf of him ?, if you are in the 1st case : congratulation you have a modern CEO and a good Social network Sponsor)

  Q7. How to increase membership

  • One way to increase membership is to encourage both communities of practice and communities of interest. When you joined the company and/or when you are using Yammer, you are often members of some - Practice group and - Social groups.
  • I am using the term "Social Group" to talk about yammer group dedicated to topics such football, artist, photography club, etc ... : Non Professionnal group on Enterprise Social Network ? <= YES, there are important, it will help you to get some adoption, it will also help you to have some group on which people will be able to regroup and make some social links that have nothing to do with "SILO" or your organisation, it will help them to make a stronger social network (I remind we are talking about human & people, they need a coffee machine to have a break and discuss something else) 
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