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Developer Relations (DevRel) is an essential function within software companies, dedicated to building strong relationships with developers, providing support and insights, and fostering a vibrant community around their products and solutions.

However, measuring the success of a DevRel function or team has always been challenging due to its supportive and enabling nature.  While it may sit within or closely linked to a sales or marketing department, the DevRel team are not involved directly in sales activities, and their roles and responsibilities go far beyond the onboarding stage.  Thus, lead conversions and common KPIs for sales teams are not relevant.  Therefore, making it difficult to demonstrate direct impact on revenue or leads.

In this blog post, we will explore various approaches to measure the success of DevRel teams, drawing insights from DevRel professionals I have spoken to recently and online resources.

Defining Success Metrics: Know Your Goals

Just as with most initiatives, the goals should always define the metrics, not vice versa.  The key to a successful DevRel team, and being able to measure that success, is to know your objectives before you begin.

Measuring success in DevRel typically requires a combination of metrics that align with:-

  1. The team’s goals
  2. Contribute to the company-wide KPIs
  3. Demonstrate the value of the organisation and its solution

So, ask yourself “What does success look like to us?” in accordance with the three areas above.  According to Francesca Krihely’s blog post on this topic, “picking a core focus area will help you and your team align on the right tactics to achieve those outcomes.”[1]

Four of the main tactics we’ve identified that DevRel teams often use to achieve their company goals objectives and hence are used as metrics include: Adoption, Developer Engagement, DevRel Qualified Leads and Documentation.

Adoption as a North Star Metric

Setting adoption as a primary goal can be a motivator for DevRel teams.  By tracking the adoption rate of a product or feature, teams can measure their impact on user engagement and satisfaction.  This metric can guide the creation of meaningful objectives and help teams align their goals with the company’s overarching objectives.  According to an article from @sw-yx “monthly active developers” (MAD) is what you need to be looking at first and foremost, “If growth is accelerating, good. If growth is constant, fine. If growth is 0% or worse then whatever you are doing isn’t working.”[2]

This can also be applied to the uptake of a particular platform or segment.  One response I received on a Slack channel to my question about measuring DevRel success was, “We set adoption as our north star and found it to be good motivator and guide for creating meaningful OKRs and helping the team to decide what is main goal aligned and what is not.  I found, however that creating this North Star Metric for one team is not particularly useful strategy because each team should decide on HOW they want to contribute to company goals.

We are at a starting phase and what worked well last year to show if DevRel can bring awareness in a specific developer segment was for example iOS projects added per week – if adding a DevRel to this role was useful then I would have expected this metric to go up.”

Developer Engagement

Developer engagement through community forums is crucial for DevRel teams, as much as they are for developers.  It serves as the bedrock of developer advocacy, enabling a valuable two-way interaction between the company and the community.

“As developer advocates, we can do the one thing neither company nor community can do, exist in both worlds.” – Kurt Kemple, The Developer Advocate’s Guide to Metrics and Reporting [3]

By actively participating in community forums, DevRels gain unparalleled insights into the needs, challenges, and successes experienced by developers and the company alike.  This context is invaluable, as it allows them to bridge the gap between the two sides and effectively address concerns, provide guidance, and foster meaningful connections.  The deeper the engagement in these forums, the greater their understanding becomes, empowering them to be more impactful advocates for developers and facilitators of positive relationships between the company and the community.

Yes, this is a hard one to measure, as the majority of the valuable data will be qualitative than quantitative.  However, metrics such as social media impressions, likes, shares, upvotes, comments and feedback can provide insights into the reach and impact of these activities (Tessa Mero, Oct 2021) [4].

DevRel Qualified Leads

DevRels may be a division of marketing in some businesses.  Moreover, DevRel efforts can contribute to generating Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), which are leads that show a potential interest in the company’s offering and are deemed qualified for further marketing and sales efforts.

In a talk given at DevRelCon 2020, DevRel expert (and Director of Developer Relations at Camunda), Mary Thengvall, spoke passionately about the need to use metrics that are already understood and used by businesses.  “Don’t create, re-use!”, Thengvall encouraged DevRel teams to repurpose the already familiar ‘MQLs’ to broaden the definition to include anyone who can provide value to the company. [5]

Mary presents various ways DevRel professionals can provide value across different departments, including marketing, product, engineering, business development, recruiting, and sales.

Tracking the details of DevRel Qualified Leads allows you to see who did what and to attribute value to tasks, so that you can see what works and what doesn’t in your campaign and the team’s impact on the sales pipeline.


Documentation is another valuable way to measure the effectiveness and success of a DevRel team. Effective documentation serves as a key resource for developers, enabling them to understand and utilise a company’s products and APIs. By analysing documentation-related metrics, a DevRel team can assess the impact they have on the developer community and the value they bring to the company. Here are a few reasons why documentation is a useful metric for measuring DevRel success:

  • Accessibility and Adoption: Documentation views, engagement, and feedback indicate how well the documentation meets developers’ needs and supports their journey.
  • Developer Satisfaction: Positive sentiment and high satisfaction levels reflect effective documentation that addresses developers’ pain points and helps them succeed.
  • Support and Issue Resolution: Monitoring support ticket reduction and self-service resolution rates shows how well the documentation assists developers in troubleshooting independently.
  • Community Engagement: Metrics like comments, contributions, and community-generated content reflect the level of engagement and knowledge sharing around the documentation.
  • Developer Onboarding: Metrics such as time to first success, ease of onboarding, and developer retention rates measure how well the documentation supports the onboarding experience.

Other Considerations

Apart from the metrics mentioned above, it’s essential to consider qualitative measures that showcase the impact of DevRel activities. These measures may not directly translate to ROI but can contribute to achieving specific goals, such as educating internal support engineers on complex cases or assisting sales in creating meaningful onboarding resources.

Furthermore, it is crucial to customise metrics and goals based on the unique needs and objectives of each DevRel team within an organisation. One-size-fits-all metrics may not accurately capture the diverse contributions of DevRel teams. Allowing teams to define their own goals and align them with company-wide objectives can foster a sense of ownership and ensure relevance to their specific responsibilities and target audience.


Measuring the success of a Developer Relations (DevRel) function or team can be challenging due to its supportive and enabling nature. Traditional sales-oriented metrics are not relevant, making it difficult to demonstrate direct impact on revenue or leads. However, by defining clear goals and aligning metrics with those goals, DevRel teams can effectively measure their success and demonstrate value.