Need someone to lead product or development at your software company? I lead product and engineering teams and I'm looking for my next opportunity. Check out my resume and get in touch.

Developer Relations as Developer Success

October 19, 2020

Most companies see Developer Relations as a marketing role. The job is to build awareness, recruit developers, and get product feedback.

Instead, the most important part of Developer Relations is to treat them like you do your Customer Success teams.

The primary role of your DevRel team is to enable customer outcomes. They are there to make the customer successful.

Creating developer tools, tutorials, and documentation are "one-to-many" enablers for customer outcomes. They are not targeted at a specific customer or specific outcome. These tools help developers discover self-success with your product.

One on one deep consulting with customers is another DevRel tool for customer success. By helping your customer understand what outcomes they are after and the best way to use your product to reach those, you’re enabling your customer to succeed.

Look at how you do customer success elsewhere in the company. What do you focus on? Onboarding? Adoption? Building competencies with your product? Do those same things as part of your developer relations.

Outreach, marketing, and developer evangelism are a part of Developer Relations. But the companies that are most successful with developers aren’t spending most of their time at events and doing content marketing. They’re spending most of their time making sure their developer customers are successful.

Developer Experience Principle 6: Easy to Maintain

October 17, 2020

Easy To Maintain To have a successful developer experience, developer products must be Easy to Maintain. Developer products have lots of things in the periphery. Documentation, SDKs, sample applications, and management tools. If you can’t easily maintain these, they’ll drift away from the APIs. The reality a developer is working with will be different from the reality you’re trying to create.

Read more »

Developer Experience Principle 5: Easy to Trust

October 9, 2020

Easy to Trust

Trust is paramount in any relationship between a company and its customers. For developers building their products on top of your APIs, it’s even more so. Your ability to deliver directly affects their product. To feel comfortable with your product, it must be Easy to Trust.

Read more »

Developer Experience Principle 4: Easy to Get Help

October 8, 2020

Easy To Get Help

It should be Easy to Get Help when a developer is stuck or something goes wrong. Few companies release products without some way of getting help when needed. Developer products shouldn’t be either. In some ways, this is the most important principle of developer experience. Your customers will judge your API product by the quality of support they receive more than any other single factor.

Read more »

Developer Experience Principle 3: Easy to Build

October 5, 2020

Easy to Build

Once a developer has Discovered your product and decided to use it, you have to get them to stick with you. You can do that by making developers more productive. Building on your API should be a joy, not a chore. Many developer products have a great developer experience on the surface. Fewer focus on those building and maintaining robust applications. Developers thrive when it’s Easy to Build things that are more complex than Hello World.

Read more »

How to understand your product and your market

September 30, 2020

Once you’re measuring your product-market fit though the end-user satisfaction question you will want to know "why?" Why do the people who love your product love it?

It sounds strange, but most product people don’t understand their products. They know the product features. They know who they think the market is. But they don’t know who loves their product. They don’t know what those people love about it. And this can often be something different than what the product set out to be.

You can ask your end-users another question if you want to understand your product through the eyes of your biggest fans. Ask them what their favorite parts of your product are. You need to phrase this in a way that doesn’t ask about features, or you’ll get a boring list of functional features that doesn’t tell you much. Your product is more than a list of features. Your product feedback needs to be more than a list of features, too. You want feedback to be a mix of functional and non-functional things.

Ask, "What do you like best about the product?"

Phrased this way, some users may mention their favorite feature. Some will talk about how it makes them feel. Some will talk about what problem it solves for them. They might mention your customer service. Your pricing. Or even how fast and responsive the product is.

Cluster the responses. There will be outliers. Someone probably just loves that one of your buttons is purple. But the biggest clusters of responses coming from your biggest fans are the reason that your target customer loves your product. The people that fall into those clusters represent the target customer for the product you have today. There’s a growth opportunity in finding customers that are looking for a product that fills those same needs.

Recently Written

Developer Relations as Developer Success (Oct 19)
Outreach, marketing, and developer evangelism are a part of Developer Relations. But the companies that are most successful with developers spend most of their time on something else.
Developer Experience Principle 6: Easy to Maintain (Oct 17)
Keeping your product Easy to Maintain will improve the lives of your team and your customers. It will help keep your docs up to date. Your SDKs and APIs will be released in sync. Your tooling and overall experience will shine.
Developer Experience Principle 5: Easy to Trust (Oct 9)
A developer building part of their business on your product needs to believe that you're going to do the right thing for them and their customers.
Developer Experience Principle 4: Easy to Get Help (Oct 8)
The faster you can unblock a stuck developer, the better their experience will be.
Developer Experience Principle 3: Easy to Build (Oct 5)
A product makes it Easy to Build by focusing on productivity for developers building real-world applications.
How to understand your product and your market (Sep 30)
A customer development question you can ask to find out who your product is best for and why they'll love it.
Developer Experience Principle 2: Easy to Use (Sep 28)
Making it Easy to Use means letting the developer do everything without involving you.
Developer Experience Principle 1: Easy to Understand (Sep 25)
To create a great developer experience, you must strive for a product that is Easy to Understand. Reduce the amount of thinking that someone needs to do. Make their first encounter with your product clear and easy.


What I'm Reading


Adam Kalsey

+1 916 600 2497


Public Key

© 1999-2020 Adam Kalsey.