The most important processes a DevRel team can have include:
Success developer relations teams are not only speaking out to the world of developers, but they must also be listeners. They need to be capable of distilling down the massive amount of feedback they receive from developers into actionable insights that can be used to improve the product, the documentation, and the overall developer experience.
Another critical process for DevRel teams is documentation. Developers need documentation to understand how to use a product or service effectively. DevRel teams should provide comprehensive and up-to-date documentation that covers all aspects of the product or service. This documentation should be easily accessible and searchable, making it simple for developers to find the information they need quickly. DevRel teams should also encourage developers to contribute to the documentation by providing feedback and making suggestions for improvement.
DevRel teams should provide developers with reliable support. Developers need a way to reach out for assistance with issues related to the product or service. DevRel teams should provide various channels of support, whether that is Stack Overflow, office hours, discord, or social media. Depending on the product and service, support should be available during business hours and beyond, as developers often work outside of traditional business hours. It is essential to provide prompt and helpful support to build trust and credibility with developers.
Small products and communities often end up relying on Developer Relations teams to provide support but in the long run this is a common anti-pattern, as it can be difficult to scale support to the level that developers need. It is important to have a plan to scale support as the community grows. There are generally two paths
- Community - For large products, there should be inherent incentives for the community to provide support to each other. This can be done through gamification, or through a reputation system, or even via paid consultancies. The community should be able to provide support to each other, and the DevRel team should be gardeners helping to scale their efforts.
- Ticketing - For smaller products, it may be necessary to have a ticketing system in place to ensure that support requests are handled in a timely manner. This can be done through a ticketing system such as Zendesk, or through a community forum such as Discourse. The DevRel team should be responsible for ensuring that tickets are handled in a timely manner, often via consultants and contractors, possibly with a tiered system.
It is critical that all questions being answered are answered in a way that future web searches will find and match developers to the answers they need. SEO ends up being an important consideration for support channels.
DevRel teams should survey developers regularly to gain insight into their needs, preferences, and challenges. Surveys can help DevRel teams understand how developers are using the product or service and identify areas for improvement. Surveys should be well-designed, short, and easy to complete. DevRel teams should also be transparent about how they will use the survey data and communicate the results of the survey back to developers.
Important questions to ask include:
- NPS or Developer Satisfaction
- How did you hear about us?
- What's working well?
- What's not working well?