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The Components of A Developer Experience

September 19, 2020

You’ve built an API or other developer tool but no one’s using it. People find it, but then don’t adopt it. That’s because you forgot the human element of the API: the Developer Experience.

How do you build a great developer experience? What things beyond the API do you need to design, build, and maintain? The best way to think about this is to think of your API as a product.

You wouldn’t build a product and then put no thought at all into how you take it to market, how you support it, or how people will buy it. But that’s exactly what happens with most developer tools and APIs. Someone builds it, writes some quick documentation, and publishes it to the world. That’s as far as it goes, and the API never becomes the raging success it could have been.

What do you need to create to build an experience that developers will love?

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Principles of Developer Experience: An Introduction

September 15, 2020

If you’re hoping to attract developers to build on your product, it’s not enough to simply release an API. Your product might be for developers that work at your company, partners that you hope to integrate more closely with, third parties that want to sell on your marketplace, or customers that are clamoring for a way to automate their businesses. In all cases, you’ll have more success if you think about your developer platform as a product.

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The KPI that measures Product-Market Fit

September 9, 2020

Asking the users of your software, “How disappointed would you be if you could no longer use this product” is a great way to gauge satisfaction. It’s also a good way to measure product-market fit.

The answers aren’t going to tell you if you’re there yet. But the trend of answers will tell you if you’re moving in the right direction.

If you ask this question to a different small group of your users every week, you can measure trends over time in those that say they’d be extremely disappointed to lose your product.

The answer scale I prefer is a simple three-point scale. Users can answer “extremely disappointed,” “somewhat disappointed,” or “I don’t care.” This makes it simple to answer and also makes it a simple metric to track.

Using this scale, the percentage of people that pick the “extremely disappointed” option is your product-market fit performance indicator. The larger percentage of your users that feel this way, the more likely you’re delivering the right product to the right market.

There’s no such thing as a good or a bad percentage. Comparing your numbers to another company’s won’t be useful. The only useful measurement is if your number is going up or down. As long as it’s trending up you’re achieving or retaining your product-market fit.

Don't use NPS to measure user happiness for enterprise software

September 7, 2020

Net Promoter survey from SurveyMonkeyNet Promoter Score (NPS) has become the standard metric for gauging customer satisfaction and loyalty. Ask people to rate from 0 to 10 the question, “how likely are you to recommend this product to a friend or colleague?”There’s a ton of valid criticisms of the metric and methodology, but for enterprise software, there’s an extra problem.

The NPS question is not relevant to the end users of the software.

Does it matter to the future of your expense management software if an entry-level outside sales rep at your customer would recommend your software?

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Ask One Question To Help You Reach Product-Market Fit

September 3, 2020

Everyone wants product-market fit, that magical state when the market you’re selling to wants the product you make. But how do you measure it? How do you know that you’re on the right track? How do you know what you should be doing next to advance toward product-market fit?

There’s a single question you can use to identify what your customers want from you.

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How to scale your product team from one product manager to an entire organization

August 25, 2020

Note: This post deals with the scaling issues of a high growth company that starts with a single product person and needs to grow beyond that. That’s the structure and path I have the most experience with, and if you’re doing something different, this might not apply to your situation.

Most companies start with a single product manager. As the product grows in size and complexity, the demands on the product manager’s time increase, and you hire several product managers to share the load. This is usually a haphazard process leading to problems.

As your product management team scales, you’ll have issues around redundancy, communication, and consistency.

Read more »

Recently Written

The Components of A Developer Experience (Sep 19)
Making your API a well-rounded product will help developers decide if your API is right for them and help grow their usage.
Principles of Developer Experience: An Introduction (Sep 15)
You can create a great developer experience for everything you build. Introducing the six principles of developer experience.
The KPI that measures Product-Market Fit (Sep 9)
If you ask this question to a different small group of your users every week, you can measure trends over time to determine if you're moving toward product-market fit.
Don't use NPS to measure user happiness for enterprise software (Sep 7)
Measuring the satisfaction and enjoyment of end users is a key to unlocking product-led growth. Net Promoter Score is the wrong tool for this.
Ask One Question To Help You Reach Product-Market Fit (Sep 3)
Learn what adjacent problems you need to solve to become twice as valuable to your customers.
How to scale your product team from one product manager to an entire organization (Aug 25)
As your product management team scales, you'll have issues around redundancy, communication, and consistency. Here's now you might solve those.
Software engineering manager interview questions (Aug 6)
Here are some questions I like to use to get a sense of who an engineering manager is and how they work.
A framework for onboarding new employees (May 15)
There’s no single good way to onboard an employee that works for every role. Here's a framework for creating a process that you can adapt to each situation.

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