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Glossary » critical mass

critical mass

the number of people who need to be using a system before it can be successful; often thought of as the number of people contributing in a groupware system to make the value of the system to each individual greater than the cost to each individual.

For instance, a group calendar that identifies schedule conflicts within a group may not identify sufficient conflicts until a large majority of the group is entering their schedule into the system.

Adoption of a system may be influenced by a number of factors, such as the degree of cross-platform compatibility, whether there exists a motivated group of early adopters, or whether their can be an external incentive for adoption (such as insistence by customers or management).