dbt Labs

How dbt Labs used Common Room to support 24,000 data practitioners

"It’s really important for the Community, as it scales, to be present across multiple channels. We chose Common Room for the ability to see it all in one place and understand what’s happening across them all."

  • Anna Filippova

    Anna Filippova

    Senior Director of Data

  • Business model

    • Open-source
    • Product-led
    • Community-led
  • Teams

    • Community
    • Product
  • Use cases

    • Unified customer view
    • Workflow automation
  • Key signals

dbt adoption has grown 200% every year since launch in 2016, and the folks at dbt Labs view their Community as central to the company’s success. They pioneered the practice of Analytics Engineering—now over 9,000 companies use dbt and their Community has grown to more than 24,000 data practitioners committed to changing how data teams work together. To contribute to their enduring success, dbt Labs is dedicated to putting their Community first and enabling connections between members. They believe that creating lasting value for their Community will lead to commercial success, in that order.

The Challenge

dbt Labs' Community team supports their 24,000+ members, helping these data practitioners grow their careers, find, and support each other. Their work enables the rest of the organization to understand who their advocates are, how the dbt Community is growing, what is most important to the dbt Community at a given time, and who among the Community stand out as leaders for others. As the dbt Community continues to grow, maintaining close connections and meaningful relationships becomes more important than ever. Context on the 24,000+ Community members was no longer something that could be kept just in the heads of the folks on the dbt Labs Community team—they needed a better way to centrally store and share context to ensure they were able to continue delivering on their mission to help analysts create and disseminate organizational knowledge.

The Solution

dbt Labs’ Community team chose Common Room as their community intelligence platform to understand everything that’s happening across their Community channels, including Slack, Twitter, and GitHub. Common Room enables them to:

  • Collaborate. Build collective knowledge and capture context that allows teammates across dbt Labs to deepen existing Community relationships or engage with Community members who will be most impactful to their work.
  • Discover. Improve product experience through direct access to Community feedback for cross-functional teams.
  • Nurture. Streamline the management of events by driving attendee engagement and managing speaker information.

Building meaningful relationships through collective knowledge

With Common Room, dbt Labs shares context about the humans of the dbt Community to lay the groundwork for contextual, journey-specific conversations. It enables the team to build authentic, human-to-human relationships that better serve Community members. The team at dbt Labs can review context before engaging in a conversation to help provide more personalized touch points for members of the Community. dbt Labs uses Common Room to add personalized notes about previous conversations, ongoing work streams with other employees, topics of interest, and other relevant details that help their teammates understand what a community member might need.

This allows dbt Labs to:

  • Improve their Community members’ experiences and build stronger relationships by recognizing past ways Community members engaged with dbt Labs and with each other.
  • Scale up the Community team more quickly by ramping up newer team members with full visibility into the most important Community relationships, conversations and engagements with dbt Labs over time.
  • Increase the effectiveness of moderation with clear visibility into member activity across all community channels as well as any internal notes.
  • Streamline support and ensure outreach happens in the right place.

Improving the product experience through direct access to Community feedback

With Common Room, dbt Labs centralizes feedback from the Community to more easily share it across their organization. One of the first things Anna Filippova, dbt Labs’ Director of Community, did was give the dbt Labs Product team access to Common Room. They were already spending time in the dbt Community, but their interactions were primarily limited to Slack and individual conversations, rather than a holistic view of member feedback. “It’s really important that they have access to the same broad context we do,” said Filippova. With Common Room, dbt Labs’ Product team can now more easily access and understand Community activity and sentiment around product features, review and prioritize Community feedback, and proactively identify potential issues.

Hosting events at scale: driving engagement and streamlining operations

In 2021, dbt Labs’ annual Coalesce conference drew over 7,000 attendees with over 70 sessions across five days and four time zones. Planning, organizing, and hosting an event of this scale is no small feat.

To support attendees at such a large virtual event, dbt Labs’ Events team created Slack channels for each of the 70+ sessions as well as general channels for event conversations. Additionally, they monitored conversations across social media to understand feedback from attendees. With Common Room, the team accessed near real-time insights into what people were talking about or found most exciting and interesting hours before internal dashboards or other tools. This helped them understand who was participating—a mix of veteran members and newer Community members, experienced and newer dbt product users—to quickly identify what folks needed at different points during the event as well as any questions or threads that were missing a response.

The team also used Common Room to organize speaker information, which allows them to build context for future events and other Community spotlight activities. Viewing this event data alongside other contextual details of a Community member’s profile gives the team a 360-degree view into the information they need to identify future thought leaders, ensure diversity of representation and create opportunities to spotlight folks from underrepresented groups.

“It’s really important for us to keep track of who's participating by way of speaking at different events, writing articles with us, answering questions in Slack and so on, because it's a big time commitment and we want to make sure we're not overloading some of the same humans who generously contribute their time to the dbt Community,” Filippova emphasized. “Because we are able to see this activity in Common Room, if we know someone is already preparing for a Coalesce talk, hosting a Meetup, or writing an article with us, we’ll be mindful about reaching out to them about other activities during that time.”

“It’s also really important for us to continually say thank you to every person who contributed in some way to making this Community as rich and vibrant as it is today, and Common Room makes it easier for us to do that well.”

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