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Serah Njambi Kiburu - Feedback cycles and their role in improving overall developer experiences

API The Docs Virtual 2023 Feedback, Metrics and Analytics Recap

This talk was presented at API The Docs Virtual 2023 Feedback, Metrics and Analytics event series on 25 January. We are glad to present the video recording, slide deck, talk summary, and the panel discussion below. Enjoy!

Visit the talk listing page for an overview of all presentations!

Serah Njambi Kiburu

Senior Developer Advocate at Spotify

Serah's presentation (video recording)

Serah's slides

The value of adoption

” Adoption has to be the finest form of flattery”

  • Goal: Empower myriads of people to do as many different things with the API we set up as possible.
    • Instafest: puts your most popular artists on a poster showing who would feature on your festival.
    • Every noise at once: puts every genre of music on a page and gives you a sample of what the genre sounds like.
  • Developer portal is a good way to empower people to extend their experiences as they like.


Developer Journeys

Developers want to:

  • understand what you’re offering.
  • find out if the product is right for them.
  • experiment with the product.
  • interact with the community.

Once you understand the developer journey, you will know the best way to design the APIs so that they want to adopt them.


Facets of Developer Experience work

” So how can we think about all the pain points that they might potentially have or they’re already facing if it’s an existing resource and fix that for them.

  1. Interfacing with community of users to triage issues, understand use cases, discuss ideas, foster innovation, recognize efforts, maintain feedback loops.
  2. Documentation to facilitate discovery, decision-making, onboarding.
  3. Standardization in the way APIs are designed and developed.
  4. Ease of experimentation via consoles, tutorials, code snippets, sandboxes.
  5. Ease of use via reference docs, error codes, changelogs, versioning.
  6. Use case amplification as a source of inspiration and clarity around use.

” You’re looking to resolve pain points but at the heart of things, you are looking to make things as seamless as possible. So that people in their development journey will have what we call a self-serve experience.


Feedback: role, modes, cycles

” A really big part of community sustainability that’s dependent on how you setup your feedback cycles, how you set up your feedback networks

  • The linear feedback model is the most common, but it can fail at any juncture, resulting in misunderstandings, miscommunication, and loss of trust and time.
  • Feedback cycles are ideal but you have to keep track of them. It takes dedicated resources.

There are many modes by which you can listen intently and actively, advocating for your users.

  1. 1:1 Interviews or shadowing: Check-ins with individual developers or teams to hear about their experiences firsthand. It takes a lot of time and is not very efficient.
  2. Office hours and developer days: Periodic scheduled check-ins online or as meetups to hear from developers and offer realtime support. It is periodic with a lot of downtime between meetings.
  3. Feedback channels: Dedicated spaces like forms, issues repositories, Slack or Discord channels and forum pages for people to interact with owners and maintainers of the APIs they use regularly.
  4. Advocates and councils: Working in roles like developer advocates to constantly think about DX and Developer Journeys, interface with and advocate for end users, and/or set up community councils so your users can be heard and responded to regularly.


At this event, the presentations were followed by a panel discussion, where the speakers shared further thoughts and insights.


Participants: Serah Njambi Kiburu, Kumar Dhanagopal, Laura Vass, Kristof Van Tomme.

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