Developer Advocacy

How to scale a developer relations team

Google’s Uttam Tripathi shares practical advice on how to scale a developer relations team to meet your programme’s growing needs.
Video

Summary:

  • Principles for building developer programs and strategy.

    • Feedback.

    • Community first.

    • Diversity and inclusion.

  • Four Pillars to scale your DevRel Teams

    • Team

      • Personas

      • Type of Role

      • Expanding Globally and Scaling

      • Pipeline for DevRel Hires

      • Org your DevRel is a part of.

    • Outreach

      • Know what are developers that are most relevant for you.

      • Online channels.

      • Influencers and community managers.

    • Operations

      • Vendor partners as an extended team

      • Swag

    • Feedback

Scribbles:

  • If you get unlimited resources and a budget...

    • Probably bad news for your company because they’re not being thoughtful about how they are investing and the floodgates are literally open.

    • Doesn’t really focus one to innovate as it should be.

  • What is really scaling?

    • Preparing the ground for the next wave of growth.

Principles for building developer programs and strategy.

  • Feedback.

    • Dev rel traditionally has been an outward-focus function.

    • There needs to be two-way advocacy.

      • Need to be able to take the developer feedback and bring it back to the Product & Eng Team.

  • Community first.

    • If you’re able to do it the majority of the time, that itself is good news.

    • Did you have influence in your Product & Eng Teams to block a product launch if you think that launch is not going to be beneficial for your developers?

    • If you have strong signals and feedback that the product is not ready, are you able to make that call?

    • When you are sharing content for meet-ups or events among your developer community, is that the content that you and your Product & Eng Team want to push out?

    • Focusing on the needs of the developer community really helps you win their trust in the long run and that really pays back also in business value.

  • Diversity and inclusion.

    • Important -- developer community that we’ve worked with and engage are also representative of these developers that we want to eventually engage with.

Teams

  • What kind of personas exists in the DevRel world?

  • What kind of roles exists?

  • Developer Advocate is a much more common word being used now.

    • Folks who go on stage.

    • The ones that go at events.

    • At meet-ups and talks.

    • Go behind the camera and record talks -- share more scalably

    • Public face for your developer programs and your platform.

  • Community Manager.

    • Very quickly, if your product is starting to get traction, there will be a community that will build around it.

    • Folks who are helping swags for meet-ups, helping buy pizza for the hackathon.

    • Helping run events if your company has to run those first-party events themselves.

  • Other roles -- Developer Program Engineers, Developer Advocates are going and talking about the vision of the platform, getting people excited.

  • Specialized roles like Developer Program Engineers exist.

    • In many companies, especially if the dev rel team is fairly small, Developer Advocates will be doing the same responsibility.

  • Tech Writers.

    • Call-to-action.

    • Inspiring someone with a key message.

    • Experience that that developer website has is key.

    • Having a really solid technical writer team is important.

Expanding globally and scaling.

  • Dev rel teams typically get started wherever the host organization is based but then very quickly realize.

  • The challenge is hiring leaders in these key hubs who can really grow your dev rel presence over there.

  • Focusing on hubs.

    • Figuring out the demographic that works best for your program and needs.

Pipeline for DevRel hires

  • Where do we hire for Dev rel?

  • Traditional interview formats of either hiring for a software engineer role doesn’t really help.

  • LinkedIn

    • You look at people with dev rel titles, that pool is growing.

  • Software engineers in your company who are keen

    • Offer them a rotation opportunity or a short-term project for them to explore dev rel as a practice.

  • Hiring some of the community managers from the broader developer community that your org. works with.

Which org is your DevRel part of?

  • Doesn't matter which organization your dev rel team is part of.

    • The obvious ones are marketing.

    • Irrespective of where you are, you can be successful if your dev rel organization.

    • Use your influence to land your dev rel team where you would be most comfortable with.

    • If you strongly think that your dev rel team should be part of marketing, make that pitch early on.

Outreach

  • That number around 20 million has not shifted in the last five years.

  • Know what are developers that are most relevant for you.

    • Are you really engaging with developers that are relevant for your platform?

  • Online channels.

    • Events are very expensive, expensive on time, expensive on resources.

      • Don’t give you a channel to constantly engage with your developers.

    • Explore online channels.

      • Helps you get a lot more traction.

  • Influencers and community managers.

    • Identify key influencers and community leaders in those markets and build relationships with them.

    • Reach a lot more developers than a traditional channel will probably offer you.

Operations

  • Dev rel is a job that requires a lot of travel for example.

  • Vendor partners as an extended team

    • Are you booking all your travel yourself or is there someone, a vendor or an agency who can help you?

  • There are organizations that can help you.

  • Swag.

    • Procblem when we have swags being produced centrally, not headquarters. And we’re trying to ship it worldwide.

    • Way too expensive if your developers are in emerging markets.

    • Shipping cost.

    • Producing locally.

      • Has a positive impact on the environmental footprint.

Feedback

  • A key part of the developer ecosystem, the work that we do is gathering developer feedback.

  • This is an area where sometimes it’s okay to not focus on scale.

  • Face-to-face conversations where the developers were sharing their pain points.