Establishing a Strategic DevRel Program

Developer relations (DevRel) teams play a crucial role in attracting, supporting, and empowering the developers building on a company’s platforms. However, to maximize impact, it’s essential that DevRel strategy aligns with and ladders up to overall business goals. This article guides structuring a strategic DevRel program poised to drive growth, adoption, and community engagement.

Connecting DevRel to Company Mission and Priorities

The work of DevRel teams sits at the intersection of marketing, product, sales, support, and community engagement. While each DevRel activity serves developers, the program as a whole should tie to broader organizational objectives:

  • Growing the user base
  • Increasing engagement and retention
  • Gathering product feedback and ideas
  • Reducing support costs
  • Driving revenue through new products/features
  • Enabling partners and the ecosystem

Before determining any specific initiatives or tactics, DevRel leaders must connect with executives to understand company priorities for the year ahead. What are the challenges DevRel can help solve? How will its success be measured? Tethering goals to business outcomes provides purpose and sets expectations.

Crafting a Unified DevRel Roadmap

With executive direction setting the stage, DevRel can craft a roadmap of major initiatives mapping to those priorities:

  • Deliver training content on new capabilities to support adoption
  • Spotlight customer wins and growth metrics at conferences
  • Gather input on ease-of-use issues impacting churn
  • Showcase new moneitization tools at hackathons
  • Publish getting started guides for priority integrations

The roadmap should articulate major milestones over the next 12-18 months and specify associated impact metrics. It becomes a guiding document aligned around serving developers while advancing critical outcomes.

Structuring Roles to Support the Developer Journey

What organizational model best supports the roadmap? Successful DevRel teams incorporate specialized roles while encouraging tight collaboration across functions:

  • Developer advocates focus on technical engagement and support in the community.
  • Evangelists spread awareness and drive adoption through events, social media.
  • Content strategists produce learning resources – videos, blogs, training.
  • Developer marketing coordinates messaging and positioning.
  • Data analysts provide feedback loops based on usage metrics.

There is no one-size-fits all model. But staffing should map to supporting developers across their journey – from initial awareness to ongoing education/support and ultimately loyalty and advocacy.

Cross-functional coordination also amplifies impact, for example:

– Content and evangelism partnering on nurturing trials into customers.
– Advocates and support collaborating to address platform issues surfaced by developers.
– Product managers utilizing user studies and research to inform roadmaps.

Making Progress Visible Through Marketing Campaigns

To connect work streams, DevRel orgs often frame their efforts as sequenced marketing campaigns focused on priority outcomes:

Campaign: Drive Adoption of Platform Version 2.0
  • Developer advocates host office hours sessions on new capabilities
  • Evangelists highlight key features at 5 partner conferences
  • Blog series and video walkthroughs demo the updated workflows
  • Establish a migration support forum to assist developers

Campaign frameworks help consolidate initiatives around common objectives while increasing alignment and transparency. Teams can better visualize contributions to broader goals.

Providing Resources to Execute

Of course, without proper investment, DevRel teams cannot execute ambitious roadmaps supporting crucial initiatives. Executives may need education on required budgets to achieve expected outcomes. Teams should secure:

Staffing sufficient to specialize and scale activities
Tools & infrastructure like forums, content management systems
Program funding for events, content production, swag, travel

Optimizing these resources unlocks the ability to strategically support developers while moving company goals forward.

The opportunity for DevRel has never been bigger. But only with executive buy-in, strategic alignment to priorities, unified roadmaps, specialized roles, and adequate investment can teams fully realize their potential and steer developers to success. Treat this as imperative in elevating DevRel within any organization.

If this article resonated and you recognize gaps in your DevRel strategy and alignment to business goals, let our team of experts conduct an in-depth assessment. We can review your existing program, identify improvement opportunities, and provide strategic recommendations tailored to your key objectives.