Building A Community Team - In Conversation With DevC Indore's Mrinal Jain

During our weekly Saturday ritual event, we had a little chat with Mrinal Jain, Community Lead for Facebook Developer Circle, Indore. DevC Indore is a community team of over 4.3k developers and comes under the umbrella of Facebook's global Developer Circles program.

Mrinal is very widely known for his A-team model which he primarily developed for managing the core team of volunteers for his community team. He is also a digital literacy advocate and has traveled across cities to create awareness around open source communities and decentralization.

In this exclusive conversation with Mrinal, we got to know:

  • The story and key milestones that were unlocked while growing DevC Indore
  • Why does a community need a leadership team over one person driving the community?
  • The avenues that opened up for Mrinal being a community leader

So let's get reading!

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A Quick Introduction About Him

Mrinal is leading Facebook Developers Circle, Indore for the past three years. So, that is something he does out of interest. He is also associated with a lot of other open source communities, like Mozilla, as a tech speaker.

Mrinal is interested in speaking on a lot of front-end technologies, like Angular, Javascript, etc. He likes building applications on these platforms, as well as speaking about those technologies. So, on behalf of Microsoft and Mozilla, he works as a tech speaker.

He also works with, which helps school-going students who are interested in technology. Other than that, he also has a full-time job at Dutyfield as a full-stack developer.

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The Journey Of DevC Indore

Initially, the community team building started somewhere around 2018. All the examples mentioned by Mrinal are from the first 1 to 1.5 years of the community because that is when you are establishing yourself as a working model as a process. It is the most crucial stage.

Initial 1.5 years, they grew towards a community team of 3k members. Because it was Facebook
Developer Circle community, there was a brand name attached. So, it was very easy for Mrinal to promote the team community in the first two to three months. A lot of sponsors and colleges were readily allowing him to go to their campuses and talk about their community team.

A lot of students also showed interest in joining the community team. So, the initial 5 to 6 months were a real cakewalk and a lot of traction was getting towards them. After the community had around 1.5k members, six months down the line, that's where the problems started to occur.

Because they had so many people on board - if they don't create a proper channel for engagement, if they don't create a proper scenario where people interact with each other, or if they don't allow them to do some sort of activity, no one would be willing to stay in the community team.

So, that is when the problems started. And up till those 6 months, Mrinal was the only one handling the community, be it the engagement, talking about the community at some event, or trying to create some content for the social media. He alone was not able to manage it all. So, the need for a community team arose.

Importance Of A Community Team

Building a community team, including the members of the community helped a lot with the engagement. It significantly increased the interaction among the members. The community, apart from Facebook, shifted to various other platforms, owing to the requirements of the members.

Here are a few pointers that a community manager should keep in mind while building a
leadership team:

  • Find the most passionate people in the community
  • Connect to their future-self
  • Build a sense of belongingness and connect with their goals
  • Help them plan their growth
  • Be friendly and connect with them outside of the community goals as well

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How Does He Keep His Community Team Motivated?

Not everything falls in a good place. There are times when there are some conflicts in your community team, or the engagement might go down. As a community leader, you need to figure out how to keep the community team members motivated.

Following are a few pointers on how you can talk to your peers in the community, be it a
volunteer or a member:

  • You have been inconsistent and I understand that you are engaged with many other things? I would like to know what you are dealing with
  • When you started volunteering what sort of opportunities did you see are possiblewhile contributing to DevC?
  • Is anything with me or the team bothering you?
  • We are friends and apart from DevC how can I contribute to things you are dealing with?

So, if the engagement is going down, instead of trying to come up with short-term solutions,
like putting up polls or memes so that people would react, it's better to talk to the community team directly.

In Mrinal's words, "You can't bring every person on the platform of your choice. You need to target people on the platform that they are using. One can't just map every community directly with a single platform. You need to map the individuals with the community, and then the platform. So, you might have to start using Instagram, or different other platforms, wherever your members are, and then target them there."

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