No one gives a &*^@# about your DevRel/Community Programs (and what to do about it) #0: The Set Up

Tale as old as time...

This series is based on a few conversations I've had lately with friends in the DevRel/Community space. It's tough out there right now. This is a collection of lessons learned—most of them the hard way ;)—in the hopes they can help others.

We've all been there (or many of us, at least):

You rose up the ranks slinging code around, solving tech-y problems, shipping features, smashing bugs, and then one day someone (perhaps even yourself!) realized WOAH! You are actually able to communicate with other human beings!?! And then, WHOMP! You found yourself in a DevRel/Community position. :D Congrats! 🎉

And now here you are out there every day, busting your ass creating content, speaking at conferences, hosting meetups, building online communities, and on and on. You start to see some success: other developers are engaging with you, you're seeing various community channels light up with activity, you're meeting amazing people and figuring ways to do things with them. So you start to do MORE, and see even MORE success, and the cycle keeps repeats over and over until suddenly you wake up one morning and find yourself completely overburdened by an absolutely unsustainable amount of work, stressed out, not sleeping, both physically and mentally unable to keep up the pace.

So you then do what any of us might do in this situation: you desperately ask for help, from just about anyone at your organization you can think of.

But all too often, this is what happens in response:


Now you feel defeated, alone, unappreciated, burnt out. Your motivation gets completely sucked out of you. Your developer community starts to suffer in turn. Then your metrics start to get impacted. And now performance review season is upon us...

oh no | BoardGameGeek

But it doesn't have to be this way. Let's chat! :)

Why does "**crickets**" happen?

Let's start with some reasons it DOESN'T happen:

  • Your co-workers are lazy

  • Your co-workers are idiots

  • Your co-workers hate you

  • The work you are doing is useless and has no meaning

  • You're a terrible person

No, when this happens, there's normally a very simple root cause, which is generally one or more of the following:

  1. You have an alignment problem: Your goals/expectations are not in step with your organization's... or worse, your boss's. 😬

  2. You have a collaboration problem: You are trying to get people to care about the things you care about, but they don't; they care about things they care about! 😮 And worse, you've been stuck working in a silo and don't have cross-functional colleagues who can speak to what you do.

  3. You have a prioritization problem: You absolutely love helping others, so you say YES to ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING and now you've found yourself in a very bad spot.

  4. You have an awareness problem: You are so busy doing the work that you forget to tell people about the work that you're doing.

  5. You have a data problem: The work you're doing isn't captured in a way that's visible to the people who make business decisions (like whether or not to continue staffing a DevRel team 😬).

Well, that's quite a list. Ok wise guy, so how do we mitigate against these, then?

Stay tuned! 😎