DevRel and community: Two sides of the same coin?
Community Assemble is a bi-weekly newsletter about creating and growing communities that add value to both customers and brands the right way. We feature tweets, quotes, blogs, and ideas from our experts and various community leaders across the globe.
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This Month’s issue circles around DevRel communities. In this edition, we will be speaking about all the buzz that is surrounded by devrel and the community space! Every software company now wants to have a community first!
Wait, I think they should rather have one. But then one can ask why?
DevRel is usually responsible for the entire developer journey, whereas a DevRel community is responsible for the journey from awareness to advocacy.
So how important are the roles of each in the developer’s world? Let’s dive in to find more!
What do you mean by Developer Relations?
DevRel is the marketing technique used to ensure that one's company, products, and developers establish a good, continuous relationship with external developers through mutual communication.
In simple words, DevRel or developer relations is a way to nurture a mutually beneficial relationship between product/organizations and software developers. It is an array of methods or strategies that help software companies to have a better relationship with software developers.
Having said that, the goals of each devrel team are solely based on the needs and objectives of each organization and hence will differ accordingly.
Are DevRel and community really two sides of the same coin?
Developer Relations is, at its core - community management for a technical audience. The purpose of Developer Relations, similar to community management, is to build relationships with and enable our communities, who happen to be technical individuals. Developer Relations professionals act as a liaison between their company and these communities, communicating feedback, advocating for the community’s needs, and making their experience with our product as smooth as possible.
You’ll notice I said Developer Relations professionals - not Developer Advocates. That’s because Developer Relations is the umbrella term for the team whose primary responsibility is building a community, both online and offline. This, of course, includes Developer Advocates, as well as Community Managers, and Technical Ambassadors (also known as Developer Evangelists). Some larger companies also include folks responsible for documentation, events, and social media, in addition to other roles, on the Developer Relations team.
All of these roles together form a healthy layer of connective tissue between the company and community as well as between our co-workers - connecting product and marketing, sales and engineering, customer support and product, and more, all for the sole purpose of further enabling our technical audience.
Why should every software have a developer community first?
So, when you’re launching a new software product, the first question that pops up is where will you onboard your new users, how will you target them and whom will you target? That’s when a community comes into the picture! A one-stop solution for all of the above needs! Well, of course, the important step is marketing the community to the masses no matter how specific your target user is.
1. The main reason having a developer community works wonders is due to the fact that developers are often the best people to identify flaws in the product and hence you can improve your product at the early stages before regular users get the opportunity to use it. They’re also ideal to help the organization onboard less tech-savvy users through the journey.
2. Ideally, we all wish that our minimum viable product will be perfect without flaws, but the truth is far from that. So the wise move is to create a developer community surrounding the product which will act as a beta testing program and will help produce contributors and ambassadors along the way, while also helping bring the product to perfection.
3. Having a developer community for your software product, can help reduce support costs. Having a lot of users in your community results in a lot of questions and conversations through the community itself.
A developer community can take the burden off support through a community usually in two ways:
i) Documentation Writing Programs: Reward systems are the best way to get your users to write product documentation.
ii) Open Community Forums: Invite users to take ownership of your community giving them important roles that make them belong to the community. It could be the role of a moderator, contributor or community head, as long as they feel like they have ownership they are bound to be more proactive!
Communities are the most effective way to achieve a number of goals linked to developer relations. After going through some of their key benefits, it's not an overstatement to say that communities are core to nurturing devrel in an organization.
Snippets of the week:
Community of the week:
Women who code is a developer community that thrives on building a world where women are proportionally represented as technical leaders, executives, founders, VCs, board members, and software engineers. Their mission is to inspire women to excel in technology careers.
Once you become a part of Women Who Code you gain access to programs and services that are designed to help you step up your tech career. They have over 290,000 members who are career-aged tech professionals operating at each level of the industry.
As they quote “We are committed to ensuring that Women Who Code is an anti-racist organization and recognize the power of our platform to be a force that affects change. Until we all experience justice and equity in our daily lives, none of us can”.
We are in awe of their vision and are super happy to celebrate their community.
Definitely more than just “community of the week” for us!
TOP 5 ARTICLES we found super interesting about DevRel:
1. This article written by Tessa Kriesel speaks about how you build a trust model for developers in a DevRel community.
2. Another insightful article that speaks about why any software needs a developer community more than a marketing strategy.
3. Written by Jean Yang, In this article, he speaks about some truths that both enterprise software buyers and builders can embrace to dispel harmful myths and improve the developer experience for all.
4. Sohini Pattnayak speaks about how you can be a developer advocate and how to break the stigma behind it.
5. Written by Mary Thengvall, this article gives an overall jist of DevRel and the various components of a DevRel online community.
Do you have any interesting DevRel communities that you know, that you’d want me to add here? You can reach out to me via mail, or Twitter.
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If community is at the core of your strategy, then click below to find out more: