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Your First 30 Days in a New DevRel Role
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Feb 6th, 2022

Your First 30 Days in a New DevRel Role

Your first 30 days in a new DevRel role will vary company to company, but there are some standard steps you can take to set yourself up for success. Use this week-by-week DevRel discovery guide to set the foundation of your program.

DevRel discovery, as I like to call it, is the process you go through after completing your onboarding to learn about the company, products, and stakeholders you will be working alongside.

  • Week 1 — understand the company landscape
  • Week 2 — program preparation and scheduling stakeholder calls
  • Week 3 — stakeholder interviews
  • Week 4 — developer experience audit

For the sake of clarity, let’s specify that this is your first 30 days after you’ve successfully completed company onboarding. As a DevRel function, fulfilling your company onboarding is incredibly important. You need to fully understand the business and product offerings to drive the greatest impact.

Week 1 — understand the company landscape

Week 1 you should focus on understanding the landscape around your company’s product offerings for developers.

Teams that can be incredibly valuable for this research are sales and sales engineering, or anyone else in the go-to-market org. Customer support or success can also be a valuable resource here as they work with your audience on a routine basis. You may even be able to find a lot of these answers on the internet if your company is 3+ years old and has a funding stage of Series A or greater. The research you will do on the internet will be impactful for your go-to-market strategy, so take lots of notes and find a way to organize those notes for your future self.

By the end of week 1, you should have most of these questions answered. Be sure to iterate on these answers as you grow in your role.

  • What products does your company offer to developers?
  • Is your company developer-first or developer-plus?
  • What is the monetization strategy for developer products?
  • What roles do developers play in the decision-making process currently?
  • Does your company have defined personas, specifically around developers?
  • What is the value proposition to developers?
  • What is the product-market fit?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • How are you different from your competitors?

Week 2 — program preparation and scheduling stakeholder calls

You spent your first week capturing insights to better understand the developer fit and landscape at your company. Now it’s time to prepare to speak to stakeholders. Acceptance and understanding with internal stakeholders can make or break the success of a Developer Relations program.

From what you know so far, pull together a “What is DevRel” slide deck that you can quickly present in 5 to 10 minutes with key stakeholders. It’s too early to bring too many company insights into the deck, but if there are places you think you can relate DevRel to your company objectives, by all means, go ahead and do so.

Schedule time with key stakeholders across your organization for next week (week 3). Who you meet with depends on your company size and stage. Compiling this list will be a lot easier at early-stage companies. Generally, you want to speak to people across the following functions:

  • Sales or Sales Engineering, specifically those selling to developers
  • Marketing or Product Marketing, specifically for developer products
  • Customer Success or Support, specifically those serving developers
  • Product, specifically those leading the developer products
  • Engineering, specifically those building the developer products
  • Other functions that are currently serving developer audiences in any capacity

Ideally, your manager should have insights into who you should speak with, but sometimes this isn’t always the case. Ask about a company org chart and leverage that to identify who you could speak to. You can also ask folks in your calls who else you should speak to.

Week 3 — stakeholder interviews

Aside from sharing your What is DevRel? presentation, the intent of this week is to mostly listen.

Who understands DevRel? Who has worked with this function before? Leverage your slide deck when someone doesn’t know or understand DevRel. You want to better understand who you have as an early ally and who you will need to explain things to more deeply as you progress in your role.

As you’re chatting with stakeholders, ask them what they think the company priorities are and how they align with their team's priorities. What are their own objectives and goals? What challenges do they face?

As you’re collecting data, you want to better understand how you can drive impact for that team, as well as better understand where you may be able to work alongside that team.

You should be able to answer these questions after your stakeholder interviews are completed:

  • Who within the company understands DevRel?
  • Who within the company doesn’t understand DevRel?
  • What are the goals & priorities of key stakeholders across the org?
  • What gaps or challenges do you foresee facing with internal stakeholder buy-in?
  • Which stakeholders will you work with on a regular basis?
  • What does the marketing funnel look like?
  • What does the sale process look like?
  • What tools do sales and marketing use to track conversions?
  • What other tools are procured and available for your use?

Take detailed notes. Defining a stakeholders list for use later by both yourself and your team will be incredibly helpful. Stakeholder understanding and support of DevRel are incredibly important.

Week 4 — developer experience audit

It’s time to put yourself in the shoes of the audience you will be serving.

Dive into your company’s website and current offerings as if you were a developer looking to discover and evaluate your company’s products for your use. You can even ask a developer peer to do the same. What things caught their attention? What did they like? What seemed to turn them away?

You should be able to answer the following questions as you work through your audit:

  • What products are available to you?
  • What features do those products serve?
  • How much do the products cost?
  • How long will it take you to implement those products?
  • Is there proper documentation to implement these products?
  • How long will it take you to reach “Hello World?”
  • What do the communications look like?
  • Do they have a published changelog?
  • How does your company currently appear to developers?
  • Are the communications and platforms promotional?

With the research you captured, pull together a summary from your developer experience audit. You will be serving this audience and may need to instill your knowledge and expertise to make improvements to this experience. This assessment will give you insights into the work you have ahead of you.

Summary

Following this guide, you'll have set yourself up to have a strong and successful DevRel program at your new company

Once you've completed your onboarding and 30 days of DevRel discovery, move to the next steps of building your developer personas and formalizing your program goals.

This article was originally posted on Devocate, which joined the Common Room family in August 2022. For more developer relations insights and resources, check out the Common Room blog. Learn more about Common Room’s solution for DevRel teams if you're looking for an intelligent community growth platform to educate, empower, and enable your community.

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