Developer Advocacy

DevRel = Community Management?

Developer relations and community management often look like two sides of the same coin, but taking a step back it becomes clear that they are distinct yet related.

Summary

  • DevRel and community management share many similarities.

  • When it comes to all three categories -- DX, DevRel and CM, the lines are blurred. There are roles and actions that can be performed by either or both. But it still makes sense of us to think of them as distinct practises.

  • DevRel of community management -- neither arrived fully formed.

  • DevRel and community management even though from the same root, have taken a different direction.

  • Difference between the two -- their end goals.

  • Community and community management is everywhere!

  • Genuine communities can be built even where there is no coding involved.

  • DevRel can too happen without any attempt at building or managing communities.

Scribbles

  • Developer Relations - DevRel

  • Developer Experience - DX

  • Community Management CM

  • How does one define the various roles/task under developer relations/experience and community management? -- Bands on a spectrum, the high school, em spectrum something like that.

  • Bands on the spectrum help us to understand their characteristics.

  • When it comes to all three categories -- DX, DevRel and CM, the lines are blurred. There are roles and actions that can be performed by either or both. But it still makes sense of us to think of them as distinct practises.

  • The diagram clearly helps in breaking any hierarchy, if at all. It helps in giving a clear-er approach from an implementation choice for an organization.

DevRel family tree

  • Wait! Wasn't it mentioned ⬆️ that there is no hierarchy? But now there is! Which can help us understand the interplay between developer relations and community management.

  • DevRel of community management -- neither arrived fully formed.

    • DevRel

      • Open source projects built awareness and attracted contributors with a mix of developer programs.

    • DX (Developer Experience)

      • Evolution of tech writing, User experience and more.

    • Community

      • Open source, PR, various forms of marketing and customer service.

Connection with Open Source

  • DevRel and community management even though from the same root, have taken a different direction.

  • In the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was rare for companies to involve themselves in open source.

  • Sun, Red Hat and Canonical are a few examples of open-source communities which borrowed methods from academia, special interest groups, and clubs, these were communities that developed their own ways to manage their development of software, attracting users and contributors.

  • Matthew (Author of the blog) thinks that it was Ubuntu's broader community focus was the point where community management and developer relations began to take separate paths.

  • Much of what everyone does in DevRel and community was pioneered by open-source communities.

DevRel and community do different things

  • Difference between the two -- their end goals.

  • DevRel

    • Building sustainable awareness, adoption, and community around developer-targeted products.

    • Community management is one of the techniques DevRel relies on.

  • CM

    • Creating and maintaining a process that enables people to comes together for a common goal.

Community without DevRel

  • Community and community management is everywhere!

  • Part of community management is called customer service, usually delivered through social media and forum software.

  • Genuine communities can be built even where there is no coding involved.

DevRel without community

  • DevRel can too happen without any attempt at building or managing communities.

Example

Take the example of the banks releasing open banking APIs. They have developer portals, many are starting to go out and talk at events, some publish content. Few, if any, are building genuine communities around their offerings. Perhaps within time some will have thriving communities but many will meet their goals without doing so.

Community management ≠ DevRel

  • Like it was mentioned earlier there is no hierarchy as such and both CM and DevRel can be essential in particular cases for growing a community of developers.

  • But they are not the same thing.