Anna Tsolakou - Why you need a Developer Relations team for your API

API the Docs Virtual Event Series 2021 Recap

This talk was presented at API The Docs Virtual 2021 event series on 14 April. We are glad to present the video recording, slide deck and talk summary below. Enjoy!

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Anna Tsolakou

Developer Advocate at Amadeus for Developers

Anna's presentation (video recording)



Anna's slides



API The Docs podcast

Meet the Developer Relations & API product management team on Amadeus for Developers – Anna Tsolakou's colleagues Alvaro Navarro and Anthony Roux were our guests on the API The Docs podcast.

What is a Developer Relations (DevRel) team?

  • A diverse team with different skills and backgrounds (as customers also have diverse needs)
  • The bridge between API and the developer community: raises customer voice internally and bring feedback
  • The public face of your API: represent the API and the technology they offer
  • DevRels understand how developers feel about your product, what they build and how to succeed

Why you need a DevRel team

In this competitive environment providing quality APIs is the minimum you can do for your users, but developers expect more than that.

Developer experience:

  • Ensure that users can integrate APIs easily and efficiently
  • Developers expect: reduced technical complexity, API access in their own environment, simple authorization, error handling, code examples
  • It is important to provide users with the right tools
  • Easy access to the APIs in user's own programming language and environment
  • SDKs reducing time and technical complexity, developers can start coding easier

Documentation and guides:

  • API documentation has to be complete, consistent and clear
  • Your customers come with diverse experience and industry knowledge: API reference is not enough
  • Even without tutorials you can show more complex processes step by step
  • Any type of educational content is valuable - could generate more visits

Developer community:

  • Build a developer community with the goal of bringing awareness and adoption over focusing strictly on technology
  • Engage with the community at different events:
    • Hackathons (online/offline): awareness, innovation, feedback. See how people feel from when they use your API from the beginning (account creation) to the end (solution building)
    • Conferences and meetups (online/offline): knowledge sharing, networking, feedback
    • Embrace open-source: demos & SDKs, developers love using and contributing to OS, trust building
    • Building an online developer community: single place for users to get support and networking

Demo applications

  • Think of a use case, include new APIs and publish the code
  • Give developers ideas and inspiration of what kind of apps they can create
  • Great way to promote your APIs
  • Developers can start on the solution much faster if they have a place to start from
  • Good for early stage startups, potential customers, hackathons and students

Customer support

  • DevRel people have knowledge both in the APIs and the industry
  • Developers are active on many online channels (GitHub, Twitter, Stackoverflow) besides the official support channel
  • Feedback source: understand both the customer ideas and struggle, and get a good understanding of the market trends
  • Amadeus built an API health monitoring system to identify bugs before users suffer them.

Feedback Ensure that the feedback coming from the developers pass smoothly in order to build an attractive product roadmap.

  1. Collecting feedback through the customer support channels, events, surveys, and scheduled calls
  2. Sharing feedback internally: invest in a tool to get a clear overview, use different labels and prioritize them
  3. Get back to users when feedback is implemented

Payoff

(based on Amadeus team’s experience)

  • Building a happy community: developers who love your product and talk about it
  • Reducing onboarding process
  • Successful customers: their success is your success

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