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.
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 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.
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:
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.
I’ve pulled together a “What is DevRel?” slide deck template you can download and repurpose for your stakeholder conversations. It’s a great starting point for helping people understand Developer Relations and the anticipated impact of your program.
Unlock access to Tessa’s “What is DevRel?”
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:
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.
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:
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.
Following this guide, you'll have set yourself up to have a strong and successful DevRel program at your new company
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.
To assist with your stakeholder conversations, download the “What is DevRel?” slide deck template. The presentation is a nice starting point for helping stakeholders understand the role and impact of Developer Relations.
Unlock access to Tessa’s “What is DevRel?”