4 Baby Steps to getting started with metrics

I find getting started on things is one of the hardest things to do. When I started into looking at metrics, there were a lot of great examples of end results and amazing dashboards, but nobody yet mapping out how to get there. This quick primer gives you a background of my journey to getting started with doing DevRel metrics, and hopefully it can help you!

HELP! I have no metrics!

A few years back, I was added to a growing team at Sitecore that up until then was just a few people trying to do everything. I had never had DevRel as my job role before. Or product marketing. I took charge of our enablement program and started trying to build out some ways of reporting on what we were doing.

Ultimately, I wanted to capture what we did accurately, but also make it clear that the investment in our team was worth it.

We had nothing.

It’s probably important to note that our team is part of product marketing, which in turn reports into the Marketing department. Why is that important?

Well, different departments value different things and have a different understanding of the value of DevRel. Our marketing department was very clear that they wanted to make data-driven decisions. And I knew that meant making sure we had data to back up our decisions.

There I was, like a lot of you at some point in your day, looking at a blank PowerPoint slide trying to figure out what to say.

“What would you say you DO here?”

Before I could even think about taking steps to measure something, I needed to understand what our team does.

We don’t have a SaaS-based developer API. We’ve got a platform for on-prem, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS… all done with an Enterprise purchasing model. We want to help marketing teams deliver the best customer experiences possible. Devs, IT, tech folks aren’t always the customer. Sometimes they influence the purchase, sometimes they work at an implementation partner, sometimes they are freelancers helping out customers.

So there we are, in this enterprise delivery model, trying to help devs at partners, at customers, and also freelancers,

We try to do this through:

  1. Helping out with the documentation and training teams in product,
  2. Creating videos and blogs, and live presentations ,
  3. Delivering enablement for our sales engineers so they understand the WHAT and HOW,
  4. Participating in the community channels and social,
  5. Supporting the customer community with the customer success team,
  6. Supporting product marketing with launches, positioning for technical audiences, that sort of thing.

It’s a lot.

And somewhere in there we need to track what it is we’re doing. We needed some first steps.

So what were those first steps?

Our starting point was nothing. No access to data stores, no dashboards, no insights. That meant a clean slate to draw our path!

We had to do baby steps. We had to grow this thing. I had to find a way to piece out a bit of time here and there to make things just a little bit better.

Just like a continuous delivery cycle, you need to iterate and improve.

I’ll be trying to deep dive into the 4 basic steps that we took, but so that you can get started, here is a quick summary of those steps:

  1. Starting small with counting things. Counting things is not a great value metric, but it gives you a base to build upon and does have benefits.
  2. Expanding into tracking analytics. There are a lot of basic “eyeball” analytics you can get fairly easily that let you evolve past the counting stage and start seeing a bit of data on impact. Combined with your counting you can start doing Effort vs. Impact analysis.
  3. Figuring out what is popular. This allows you to start digging into what specifically is driving your analytics metrics. Looking at things like which topics tend to be driving helps you plan your work going forward and get insights into the needs of your audience.
  4. Wrapping a story around your data. Numbers are great at influencing people, but without a context (the “why”) the analysis is left open to interpretation. The story, the interpretation of the data, is where you help people understand what your team is doing and what is happening.

I hope this helps you get started, and I’ll keep updating this post with links to deep-dive articles as I get a chance to write them!

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

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