Useful community success metrics

How experienced community leaders from various backgrounds started building community and what worked for them.


  • The difficulty for developer relations has always been how to collect quantitative data to demonstrate value, and most teams approach this in different ways based on team size and company stage.

  • In the talk, we examine what tales you can tell to assist leadership to understand what you do, which ones are beneficial, and why data presentation is so important.

  • The first thing you will hear from any experienced person about metrics is "It depends" -- "It totally depends", plus they also might give a smirk or say "okay! -- cutting right to the chase, are we!?", cause this is one of the hardest questions out there.

  • Metrics depends on the questions we're asking. We need to ask why first. Why do we need metrics? Where we are? What are the problems we are trying to solve?


What is a useful success metric?

  • It depends, where you are, what state you are at

  • If you go down the metrics you want to have, you are missing the point.

  • What answers are you trying to solve?

What advice or thoughts do you have about setting metrics for the first time?

  • Start Small

    • Ask: What your community is capable of?

    • Keep challenging yourself.

  • Establish a baseline

  • Build from there

  • Find areas of growth.

  • Establish a focus on where to grow.

  • Use vanity metrics as an exploration point, investigate and dig deeper.

Explain why metrics matter and that people know why you are tracking it.

  • Provide context to each metric.

  • "Why is this metric important?"

  • "How does it align with business goals"

  • "What decisions will this metric help us make?"

"Numbers are in their raw form are uninteresting — tell a story, show an impact or result"

  • Here's what we are doing.

  • Here's the success.

  • Here's the impact on the company.

  • Here's the impact it had on the community.

When it comes to community designing-think of it as system-owned feedback loops. -- @joenash

  • Community members want to get some value, a useful way to look at engagement would be tracking activities that provide that value to the members.

  • Instead of building up a huge infrastructure — how can you run smaller, more mindful tests to test out if your metrics are measuring the right things.[02:08]How do you know if a metric isn't working? How do you know if a metric isn't working? Look at the type of community we want to serve, and how is it compared to the community that we're actively serving.

  • There is a lifecycle of community and members, and that's ok. "Once you solve their problem, they will drop out and may never come back. That is just the natural lifecycle and it is important to understand that."

Can everyone talk about the most successful metric they can remember off the top of their head?

Why did it work? what was the context it worked in?

  • @Mary

    • Dev-rel Qualified Leads

    • Listen to the community first before your sales pitch.

  • @Matthew: Leads.

  • @Joe: Number of commits made by GitHub student users.

Community is ❌

  • Not marketing

  • Not sales

  • Not an audience

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