What is a Community Development Manager?

I started a new job this month at Government Digital Services. My official title is Community Development Manager: Product and Delivery Manager Communities. Yes it’s a mouthful but I finally feel like I found a job that is very “me”. Anyone who knows me knows that from day dot I’ve always been a community enabler from school councils to co-founding Muslamic Makers — a diverse community of Muslims who are making and changing things.

I’ve been fortunate to have done lots of different types of jobs. I’ve been a bit of a shapeshifter but my strongest strength has always been connecting which you can read about here.

I’ve had a three month break off work, got married in that time, moved from East London to the outskirts of the M25 (Hello Gerrards Cross!) and have now entered the world of government as a civil servant. I come from a startup background and now I work for a big organisation with a very interesting role.

Me looking all Digital with Product Managers. Credit: Digital People Blog

So what does a Community Development Manager do?

It’s a pretty niche role and I am only three weeks in and I’m sure this will adapt and change going forward but to set the scene and taking bits from my job description:

I’ll be assisting the Heads of Community with developing their community agendas and be responsible for driving the delivery of these across the communities of practice, across Government. This could be a range of things to developing community materials, liaising with members, acting as support for the members, running events and initiatives, and feedback processes etc. I sit part of the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) function of the organisation.

The key theme that runs through my role is connecting, collaborating and sharing best practices. It’s important that we are not duplicating work but building capability by being resourceful and working with the community and other parts of government.

The first month has been all about being exposed to different people and just getting settled in but one of the biggest things I’ve learned so far is about “Community of Practice”.

“A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. This definition reflects the fundamentally social nature of human learning.” — Wenger- Trayner

I’ve also been introduced to Emily Webber and her Community Practice Maturity Model, which had led me to meet a cross-section of the product team, to assess the maturity stage of the community. I won’t go into the method just yet but we believe this will allow to see which areas we need to focus on which will help us to build a better vision and strategy.

As I work in the role, learn and develop, I believe there may be stuff I do which might be useful to someone. I hope to blog more often and hopefully commit to taking part in the #weeknotes community.

Let’s see how that goes. I’ll post a reflection on my first month soon!

@muslamicmakers co-founder | @adaventures Angel | Fellowship Programme Manager at @GDSteam | @WCMTUK fellow. Full of random rambles.

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