Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a Technical Product Manager in Berlin focused on improving the developer experience. I’m a community builder & prototyper with 10+ years of Frontend product development experience from companies including SAP & Sapient. I’ve been speaking, writing about prototyping, and helping career switchers and graduates land their dream Frontend/UX job.
What do you feel is the most important part of your job?
Community-driven product innovation. Continuous community engagement to understand the developer’s pain using your product and identify top opportunities worth solving those drive business outcomes. Bring more empathy to the developers using your product by understanding their pain and challenges, touchpoints, tools they use, and how their journey looks now.
Some of the questions to start thinking about - What stops them from getting their job done quickly? What part of the journey can you make it easy? What tools can you provide to get the developer job done quickly? How can you make developers live easy?
It is important to have a shared understanding among product team members; by frequently involving engineers and designers participating in pair programming sessions and user interviews with community developers to understand the context of the problem space. So product team members have the same shared knowledge to design better solutions to the user problem. It helps you to shape the efficient solution for the right problem and is easy to align.
What is something you’re challenged with?
It’s essential to have a shared understanding of the problem and context of community developers. You should encourage everyone in the team to talk or observe how developers use your product. Develop empathy for your users.
I have tried sharing the pair programming session videos with my team. They never look back at those videos! It’s always a low priority for engineers and designers in the team to watch an hour-long video recording. What seems to work is Inviting the engineers and designers for the pair programming sessions with the community developers. They get a chance to observe the struggle of the community developers, having the debriefing session immediately after the pair programming session and collecting all the observations, where the team always has access to it, such as the MIRO board. The team can reference these notes anytime to get a better understanding of the user problems.
Tell us about a time you were inspired by someone or something in DevRel.
The way Stripe team provides excellent tools for digital builders by working backward and continuously listening to developers and their challenges. Innovation of great products happens better understand by listening to customers constantly. Example: Tweet from Patrick, CEO of Stripe, asking the community, “What would you like it to do a command-line interface for Stripe?”.
We're building a command line interface for Stripe! What would you like it to do? https://t.co/lNdzUUToxI— Patrick Collison (@patrickc) August 2, 2019
Importance of building a community around the problem space and running product innovation through the community. How can you leverage the quick feedback loop on the product ideas?
Peter Yang, Product Lead at Reddit, summarized the benefit of the community in his recent LinkedIn post.
What makes a great developer experience? Address specific needs of different developer personas. Example: Learn React guide provide docs for different developer persona
What’s one change you’d like to see in DevRel?
“Product thinking in DevRel”
Besides marketing and community support responsibilities, how can you make DevRel more product-focused? How do you innovate along with the community?
Let the DevRel team bring the product teams closer to the community.
Usually, product teams work on the problem space during the product discovery phase to learn about the customer pain and needs. So how can you make this discovery process continuous? By making it easy for the product team(Engineers and Designer, and Product Manager) to engage continuously with the community to better understand the customer problems and the developer touchpoints.
In my experience, I usually hear the product team giving an excuse for not participating in the community, busy, busy! More focused on their product feature solutioning part.
Get product teams closer to the community by talking about the benefits of helping community developers. Show them the value of community. Some of them are -
- Beta testers to get feedback on their early access product features.
- With a better understanding of the user problem and need, the product team can provide a better solution.
- Hypothesis validation. Less risky, less effort, and quicker feedback from the community.