Part 3 tech community

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Signs of community burnout

This article is part three of a four part series focused on strengthening tech meetups and user groups through community organizing best practices. The author, Justin Stevens, is a senior software engineer and craftsman advocating for developers on a daily basis. These articles were inspired by a decade of good intentions.

Part 3

User groups, or tech communities, are important for the craftsmanship of our industry. A healthy and strong community can create leaders from developers at any point on their journey. However, most communities show signs of burnout at some point. Identifying what those signs are is the first step in building a stronger community.

When burnout happens, organizers get tired of juggling a full-time job and managing the group. Attendance trails off. Fewer members contribute to internal organizing. Events become harder to plan for and create content for. Or, there is just too much for the maintainers to manage.

These are signs that your group should take steps to build up your community:

• Lack of membership growth.

• Few members contributing to internal organizing.

• Meetups become harder to create new content for.

• Too many facets of the group beyond what the organizers can manage.

Running a group is not just giving a tech talk each month. You also need to promote new leadership from within the group and keep the majority of your members engaged. Keeping a fresh group of organizers, and checking in with your members regularly are steps you can take to build a healthy user group.