Developer Relations (AKA DevRel) need to show how attractive a specific software project is and keep developers motivated, engaged and get more and more developers to either use or contribute to the project. At this point, marketing funnel model seems to work well. However, are marketing analytics tools enough to show to the companies the real value that comes from their developer communities?
Measuring community health for a DevRel
Recruit developers, motivate them, and finally, manage them towards active product developers… These are some of the goals a DevRel tries to achieve. In order to interact with the project, developers have several platforms and interfaces to use such as forums, site documentation, Slack, GitHub, etc. When DevRel wants to measure the activity and performance of these touch-points, they quickly realize that “traditional” marketing analytics tools to measure site traffic, event success, etc. are limited.
Thus, being able to get evidence about the activity of these data sources and get aggregated information within a consistent platform seems to be crucial to better analyze community health.
1- Usually Open Source developers contribute to many projects at the same time. Do you know which projects are those?
As a DevRel I want to know what topics motivate my developer community in order to decide what features should I add to my software technology stack in order to make it more attractive. Each community is different from others and you should focus on what’s going on around your projects in order to understand their developer behaviors and needs.
2- Who’s leading your software project?
The same as marketing tries to identify who our brand advocates are within social media channels, a DevRel should also identify who are the core contributors and most important, which ones come from outside the company.
3- Is product development getting done as expected? Are there any bottlenecks within the software development process?
Forums, issue tracking systems, code review systems are places where developers can ask about the software, report issues, or simply seek for technical support. One important metric a DevRel can measure is the time to answer and the time to solve those questions and requests. The more committed to solve people’s requests is a community, a better impression of welcoming place will have the community, don’t you think?
To Sum Up…
Indeed DevRel activities need marketing, but developer relations is more than marketing. The way developers interact with a company software technology, the tools they use to get in contact with, the people they meet during their journey… Marketing analytics tools are not prepared yet as they don’t give DevRel an overall idea of their developer community health.
What a DevRel actually needs, is an all-in-one platform where measuring the different data sources (GitHub, GitLab, Stackoverflow, Slack, mailing lists,etc) and being able to obtain aggregated information and unify data, in order to measure the real value that comes from their developer community and get faster reporting.
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