From Chaos to Clarity: A DevRel Manager’s Journey to Success

How to Effectively Plan Your Quarter as a DevRel Lead

Harpreet Sahota
9 min readJun 28, 2023
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Once upon a time, in the bustling world of tech, there was a Developer Relations (DevRel) Manager named Sam. Well, his actual name was Harpreet, but let’s stick with Sam for the sake of this story, shall we?

Sam, our hero, is a charismatic character, always ready to dive headfirst into the fray, armed with a smile and a seemingly endless supply of energy (all traits that Harpreet does not have).

He was a jack-of-all-trades, master of… well, he wasn’t quite sure.

For a year, Sam was like a kid in a candy store, trying everything that caught his eye. He created content, managed communities, hosted webinars, and even made surprise guest appearances on podcasts.

It was all a whirlwind of activity, a blur of code and coffee.

It felt like he was doing everything right, but something was missing.

Despite all the hustle and bustle, Sam felt like he was spinning his wheels, stuck in a tech-filled version of Groundhog Day.

One day, while nursing his third cup of coffee and staring at his overflowing inbox, it hit him. He was busy, sure, but was he effective? He had been doing a lot, but was it the right lot?

He realized that success wasn’t about doing everything but the right things and measuring their impact.

With this newfound wisdom, Sam decided to step back and strategize.

He dusted off his old whiteboard, rolled his sleeves, and got to work. He started by aligning his DevRel objectives with the business goals, setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to serve as his North Star. He was no longer shooting in the dark; he had targets and a plan to hit them.

Next, he established a baseline for measurement and crafted a content strategy. No more random acts of content creation; every piece of content had a purpose and a place in the grand scheme. He felt like a maestro, orchestrating a symphony of strategic actions.

The following weeks were all about execution and measurement.

Sam was still creating content and managing communities, but now he also tracked his KPIs. He was no longer just doing but learning, adjusting, and improving. He even scheduled a mid-quarter review to analyze his performance and make necessary adjustments.

It was like halftime at the Super Bowl but with less confetti and more spreadsheets.

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

As the weeks rolled on, Sam started implementing scalability tactics.

He was no longer a one-man band; he was building an orchestra. He was planning for growth, ensuring that his efforts were sustainable and could be expanded.

He was no longer just surviving; he was thriving.

In the final week of the quarter, Sam conducted a full analysis of his KPIs, reviewed his activities, and planned for the next quarter. He reflected on what worked and what didn’t, using these insights to plan for future success. He was no longer just hoping for the best but planning for it.

Sam’s journey from chaos to clarity wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

He went from spinning his wheels to steering the ship, from doing random things to executing a strategic plan. He learned that success isn’t about doing everything but the right things and measuring their impact. And with a plan in place and a twinkle in his eye, Sam was ready to take on the world, one KPI at a time.

Here’s your blueprint for success next quarter, straight from our hero’s playbook

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash
  1. Weeks 1–2 — Align your objectives with business goals and set KPIs: Don’t just do things for the sake of doing them. Make sure your efforts align with your business goals and set measurable KPIs.
  2. Weeks 3–4 — Establish a baseline for measurement and create a content strategy: Start tracking your efforts and create a content strategy that serves your overall goals.
  3. Weeks 5–12 — Execute your strategy and measure your KPIs: Implement your plans and keep track of your KPIs. Don’t forget to review and adjust your plans as needed.
  4. Starting from Week 8 — Implement scalability tactics: Make sure your efforts are sustainable and can be expanded. Start planning for growth.
  5. Week 13 — Review and plan for the next quarter: Reflect on what worked and didn’t, and use those insights to plan for future success.

Everyone Talks About KPIs and Metric in DevRel, But How Do I Develop Them?

KPIs and metrics are the bread and butter of any strategic plan.

They’re like the GPS guiding your journey, the compass pointing you in the right direction. But how do you set them up? Well, dear reader, buckle up because we’re about to embark on a journey to the land of KPIs and metrics.

Our hero Sam (or Harpreet, if you’re feeling formal) is here to guide us.

Identifying Business Goals and Aligning Them with DevRel Objectives

First things first, you need to understand the big picture.

What are your company’s goals for this quarter or year? How does your company measure success? Is it through revenue, user growth, market share, or the number of coffee cups consumed in a week? (Just kidding about the last one, unless you’re a coffee company, then it might be relevant.)

Next, determine how your Developer Relations role ties into these goals.

How does building a community and having strong developer relations help your company achieve its business goals? If you’re scratching your head, don’t worry. Here’s a hint: consider how your activities can attract and retain users, promote your offerings, educate potential users, and solicit user feedback to improve your platform.

Finally, what are your key objectives for your DevRel role for the upcoming quarter?

Remember, these should tie into your company’s overall goals. If your company aims to increase its user base, your objective might be to grow the community.

Here’s how to identify and align to business goals

  • Overall business goals for the year: Increase user base by 30%, acquire 5 major enterprise clients, achieve a 20% increase in annual recurring revenue, and raise awareness and usage of the open-source offering.
  • The company measures success through user growth, revenue growth, client acquisition, and the growth and engagement of the open-source community.
  • The Developer Relations role ties into these goals by attracting and retaining users through community engagement, promoting the open-source offering, educating potential users through content and events, and soliciting user feedback to improve the platform. Developer Relations can provide valuable technical expertise during the sales process for enterprise acquisition.
  • Key objectives for your DevRel role for the upcoming quarter: Increase community members by 40%, increase engagement within the community (measured through comments, posts, event attendance), increase open-source project usage and contributions by 25%, and provide technical support for 2 enterprise sales processes.

Defining Your KPIs

Now that you’ve got your objectives, it’s time to define your KPIs.

These are the measurable outcomes that indicate you’re successfully meeting your objectives. For example, if your goal is to grow the community, a KPI might be the monthly number of new community members.

Start by asking yourself what specific outcomes indicate you’re successfully meeting your DevRel objectives. How can these outcomes be measured in a quantifiable way? What current data points are you tracking? And what additional data might you need to collect to measure your KPIs?

Remember, KPIs are not set in stone. They’re more like a living, breathing part of your strategy that should be tracked and reviewed regularly. So, don’t forget to check in on them occasionally. It’s like watering a plant; you need regular attention to ensure it’s growing in the right direction.

Here’s how to think through defining KPIs

  • Specific outcomes indicating successful DevRel objectives: Growth in community membership, increased engagement rates within the community, increased usage and contributions to the open-source project, and positive feedback from the enterprise sales team on technical support provided.
  • These outcomes can be measured through the number of new community members, engagement rate metrics (comments, posts, event attendance), GitHub metrics (downloads, stars, pull requests), and feedback from the enterprise sales team.
  • You might be tracking GitHub stars, downloads, and community membership. Additional data to collect might include more detailed engagement metrics within the community, feedback from the sales team, and tracking of specific contributions to the open-source project.
  • KPIs will be reviewed monthly to assess progress and adjust tactics as necessary.

How Do I Create a System to Track KPIs?

Tracking of KPIs is the unsung hero of any strategic plan.

It’s like the backstage crew of a theater production, working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly. But how do you set up a system to track KPIs?

Identify the Source of Data

First things first, you need to know where your data is coming from.

It’s like going on a treasure hunt; you need a map to guide you to the treasure. For example, community membership numbers might come from your platform analytics or membership management system. Engagement rates could be tracked through social media analytics, website analytics, or forum software. Open-source project usage and contributions can be monitored using GitHub’s built-in analytics.

So, grab your map and start hunting for data!

Establish a Data Collection Process

Now that you know where your data is, you need to figure out how to collect it.

This might involve exporting data from different platforms, using APIs to gather data automatically, or manually counting in some cases. Remember, the goal is to make data collection as automated as possible to save time and reduce errors.

It’s like setting up a conveyor belt in a factory; the more automated it is, the more efficient the process.

Create a KPI Dashboard

Next, you need a place to display your data.

Enter the KPI Dashboard, a visual tool that displays your key metrics. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet or as complex as a custom dashboard built with a business intelligence tool. The dashboard should be easily updatable, visually clear, and accessible to stakeholders.

It’s like your command center, where you can see everything at a glance.

Set a Review Schedule

Decide how often you will review your KPIs.

This could be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc., depending on the KPI. Regularly reviewing your KPIs allows you to identify and react to trends or issues quickly.

It’s like checking the weather forecast; you must do it regularly to know if you need an umbrella or sunscreen.

Document Your Process

Don’t forget to write down your process for tracking KPIs.

This should include where the data comes from, how it’s collected, updated on the dashboard, and when and how it’s reviewed. This documentation is useful for training, onboarding new team members, and ensuring consistency in your tracking process.

It’s like your recipe for success; write it down so you can replicate it.

Continuously Improve

Finally, remember that your first system might not be perfect, and that’s okay.

Be open to refining your process as you go. You might find new tools, new data sources, or better ways of visualizing your data that can improve your tracking system over time.

It’s like baking a cake; you might need to tweak the recipe a few times to get it just right.

And there you have it, a blueprint for creating a system to track KPIs. It might seem daunting initially, but remember, even our hero Sam (or Harpreet) started from scratch. So, roll up your sleeves, grab a coffee, and start planning your journey to success.

Wrapping It Up

And there you have it, folks!

The tale of our hero Sam (or Harpreet, if you’ve been paying attention) and his journey from a chaotic, wheel-spinning DevRel Manager to a strategic, KPI-crushing powerhouse. It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it?

You’ve learned that success in Developer Relations isn’t about doing everything; it’s about doing the right things and measuring their impact.

You’ve discovered the importance of aligning DevRel objectives with business goals, setting measurable KPIs, and creating a strategic plan. You’ve delved into the nitty-gritty of developing KPIs and metrics, and we’ve explored how to create a system to track them.

But remember, this isn’t just Sam’s journey; it’s yours too.

Whether you’re a seasoned DevRel Manager or just starting out, we hope this blueprint helps you navigate your own path to success. Remember to align your objectives, define your KPIs, establish your tracking system, and most importantly, keep refining and improving.

So, here’s to you, future Sams of the world.

May your journey be less chaotic and more strategic, less about spinning wheels and more about moving forward. And when you feel like you’re stuck in your own version of Groundhog Day, just remember our hero Sam and his journey from chaos to clarity.

As we wrap up this tale, let’s raise our coffee cups to all the Sams out there, spinning their wheels and looking for a way forward.

Here’s your blueprint, straight from our hero’s playbook.



Harpreet Sahota

🤖 Generative AI Hacker | 👨🏽‍💻 AI Engineer | Hacker-in- Residence at Voxel 51