Drafting impact-driven DevRel strategy is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. I feel that there are some optimizations as an industry that folks can make in terms of developer relations as they're drafting that strategy, to ensure that we're prioritizing things correctly and reporting the things that we need to be reporting.
DevRel is like navigating an escape room
I think about DevRel strategy in a variety of different ways. As we engage with one another, we start to talk about our challenges and the things that we struggle with, and I think a lot of us struggle with prioritization and making the right decisions in the right way.
Oftentimes, that comes down to being very strategic and being very clear on what your focuses are, what your program needs to do, what your company needs you to accomplish, and what that's going to look like.
I started thinking about an analogy for DevRel. What’s it like to work in DevRel without a clear strategy? My head immediately went to an escape room.
Inside escape rooms, you don't know what you're doing. You're unsure of what the puzzle’s going to be, but you know that the goal is to get out. So, if we know that our goal is to get out, what are the steps that we have to track back towards so that we can actually escape the escape room?
DevRel is very relatable to an escape room; there’s lots of chaos and trying to figure out how to get out.
And when we get into those escape rooms, we essentially start to think about what the first step is, and the first thing is always action. We’ve got to move forward, go find something, and start to solve the puzzle.
But when you think about that, if everyone's just willy-nilly trying to solve the puzzle and there's no teamwork, strategy, direction, or priority of how you're trying to solve that puzzle or who's doing what, it can feel really chaotic.
You know that you have to get something done, whether it be serving developer users, driving acquisition, or improving customer satisfaction. Whatever that might be, your end goal is to escape that room. That end goal comes from our company and comes from the program needs that we have.
So, if we can pretend we're in an escape room and figure out what we need to do to work through the steps to actually get out of the escape room, or in our case to launch and facilitate successful developer programs, we just need a little strategy and a little bit of togetherness to bring this together.
This is where my DevRel framework comes into play.
Introducing the DevRel framework
I’ve had the amazing opportunity of working in developer relations for a variety of different companies. I’m currently the Head of Platform Developer Relations over at Snapchat.
As I've worked through these various programs, I've helped at companies as a full-time employee, I've also coached and done advisor work, as well as contractual work to come in and build developer relations programs.
I've had the great opportunity of getting to see and follow through with several different programs in different industries, different stages of company and product cycle, different levels of investment, developer first versus developer plus companies, and this is the framework that I’ve found the most success with.
We're going to start with discovery. It's the idea of thinking through, what do I need to know?
Oftentimes, we spend a lot of time in discovery when we first join a company. We're getting to know the team or getting to know the company. We're getting to know their goals and their objectives. What’s their mission? Why am I here? What are we trying to do and accomplish together?
From there, you start to dive into product, you start to understand the product more, and you start to work a little bit deeper in that space. It's all things that we always do when we first get into that role.
Coming back to a discovery stage after you've joined a company can feel a little weird, but it’s something that you should continually be considering because things change. So, spending a great deal of time on the discovery is incredibly important.
From there, we're going to learn a lot, and then we're going to start to draft our strategy doc.