Okay, a post from a guy who is a perfect example of how NOT to run a mod: me.
Some points I'm about to mention just prove how right they are in this topic.
I initially started a personal project called Remember September for Call of Duty 2. There was no Operation Market Garden themed modification at the time, so I figured this had to change. Like I said, it was personal. Started out without a real plan, basically just creating levels. But I'm quite the open person, so I quickly showed first screenshots to friends on MSN. Some of them also have experienced with modding, so became interested in the project.
Soon after I was leading my first project, with 3-4 developers working on the project. 'Production' went fast and the first results started rolling out. Not long after we set up a website and forums, for possible fans to discuss the project. Completely normal responses from the community such as: "When is it released?", "When is the next update?", "Can't wait to play" etc. etc. were posted on the forums and were much appreciated.
And that is where it went wrong;. we started working to each update to 'please' the community. Instead of being busy with our hobby - something fun - we forced ourselves to release SOME kind of media. Since there was no plan to begin with, overview got lost rapidly. Also more and more developers joined the team, of who I sometimes had the impression that they just joined 'to see backstage progress'.
More and more developers left. Sometimes because of RL issues, sometimes because they didn't do anything. Progress became worse and worse.
I turned myself towards the less experienced modders, often being a lot younger than me (Although I'm quite young). They did do some work in the beginning, but a major issue - which I think is the issue for a lot of mods - was school / college. Sure, college is more important than modding. But in our team 75% was often not productive because of it. Since this was such a big amount of inactive devs, the progress almost stopped (I continued working of course, but that is not enough). Also they saw that it was not a succesful project, and soon after left the team.
After almost a year of 'production', we ended up with 3 devs, including me. I just got in the process of being hired at a game studio in Germany, so I wasn't able to support them either for a while. After a few weeks we officially called it a day. A personal project that grew to a known mod for Call of Duty 2..ended in the trashbin.
So what have I learned from this? First, I learned that you should plan ahead;
How much work is required? What is the rough estimation of development time? What positions are vital? What is the mod about?
If the rest of the team sees what you are talking about, they feel confident in working on the project.
Second thing, don't forget that modding is a hobby! It's not something 'to please the community' or keep them busy for a while.
Wait with releasing media until you actually have something. Then you will (also) avoid 'working to an update'.
You might think; after these mistakes you would never start a mod again? WRONG.
I think if you experienced it at hand, that it's easier to learn from it. Everything that I did wrong, I will change for my upcoming project for Call of Duty 4.
No website, no public forums, a clear plan what is required, and not hiring 'just anyone'.
And I feel much more confident in starting / leading the project, more than ever.