Avoiding the DevRel ROI Trap with Better Strategic Alignment

What’s the first question when a developer advocate meets a developer advocate?
What’s the first question when a developer advocate meets a developer advocate?

The endless search for the holy metric

What if KPIs are not *always* the answer?

A recipe for a perfect strategy

DevRel strategy = Company Strategy ∩ Developers’ Needs ∩ What developer avocados are good at
A perfect DevRel strategy recipe that’s strikingly reminiscent of Ikigai
  • doing someone else’s job, or
  • worrying about being unable to explain your actions, or
  • not doing DevRel work at all.
DevRel strategy != Other people’s jobs, not advocating for devs’ needs, things not aligned with company strategy

Strategic alignment tools

OKRs helped us pick our battles and become active participants in the broader company strategy.

The relation between KPIs and OKRs

Real-world implementation of OKRs for DevRel

Planning

The order of steps during the planning session is essential. We first take into consideration the company strategy, and only then we try to map our skills and our knowledge about developers to it in order to come up with the right mix of activities.

Tracking

Regular updates close the gap between the executives and teams.

Lessons learned

  • We learned to settle for less-than-ideal metrics, sometimes for metrics influenced indirectly. We favor simplicity over excessive accuracy.
  • We learned not to depend on other teams when it comes to collecting data for reporting. Often, people like customer success managers or sales reps have the data you’re looking for but they’re also often swamped with work so they forget to report it.
  • We learned to pay attention to how people within the company understand our work and goals. If we notice, e.g. during a retrospective meeting, that there is a lack of information or understanding somewhere, we don’t hesitate and set up an OKR to change that. Hint: a good way to solve this issue is to collaborate on a project with the given person or team.
  • We learned to introduce new KPIs only when we see a repetitive pattern that we can measure in the long-term and that gives us actionable info. We revise our KPIs regularly and drop metrics that are no longer relevant. We monitor things like API and SDK adoption, Developer NPS, adoption of 3rd party tools, and some essential community metrics.

How strategic alignment helped our DevRel

If culture eats strategy for breakfast, then strategy eats metrics for brunch.
If culture eats strategy for breakfast, then strategy eats metrics for dinner the night before. 😀

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Dev @Microsoft. All posts at https://petrsvihlik.com/

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Petr Švihlík

Petr Švihlík

Dev @Microsoft. All posts at https://petrsvihlik.com/

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