Developer Evangelists Manifesto
Good Developer Evangelists are bridges – they can talk and share information between multiple groups about a multitude of technologies. Internally they are a bridge between support, product management, engineering, and marketing teams. They are also a bridge between external developers and internal management and engineering. We are connectors in the broad sense of that word.
Broad goals for our team
1) Brand awareness – we help drive awareness for our product(s) and establish our company as a leader in Technology
2) Thought leaders in our own space - we each have an area of specialization and help to promote our product as a place where thought leaders work and that our opinion on a broad range of matters should be trusted
3) Making developers successful on our product - we work with the product team and external developers to help give external developers a sense of delight and excitement in using our product.
How are Evangelists perceived in the community
Just as a sales person gains trust from their customers by delivering the software to them on time and with the capabilities they promised – developer evangelists have to be trusted by the community they are talking to. Their trust is based on technical knowledge, honest assessment of the capabilities of their software, and being able to relate to the workflow and ways in which developers think.
Major attributes that make a good evangelist
In order to be effective in their role they have to have some key attributes and engage in a broad array of activities. It is important to remember that no one evangelist will be excellent at all these skills or activities but they need to be competent in all the areas and still engage in all the activities.
1) Technical skills in working with code and technology. Without this they can not talk credibly to external developers nor can they communicate effectively with internal engineering
2) Ability to speak effectively in public – they have to be able to get on stage, in front of a class, in front of customers, in a booth and convey both the marketing and technical message of the product. They have to be able to do it in a way that gets the developers excited about using the product and clearly see the benefits.
3) They need to be able to write effectively – they will need to write blog posts, respond to questions in forums, talk to users in IRC, write email to the engineering team, and send reports to management.
4) They have to be generally curious about technology and enjoy teaching it to others – they have to have a desire to seek out new tech and learn it, but they also have to generally have a desire to teach it to others rather than just use it themselves all the time. They need to be able to read blogs, twitter, talk to developers at shows, and other media channels to keep up with trends in their field. They need to spend a certain amount of time reading and contributing to social forums.
What do Evangelists do
In order to be effective in their role an evangelist has to engage in a broad array of activities. Some may be specialists in one of these areas but that does not mean they don’t have to be at least competent in all of these areas. Note this list is not in priority order since all of these activities are essential to be a good developer evangelist:
1) They need to get in front of developers – speaking at shows, attending shows, working at hackathons, talking or teaching at meetups
2) They need to be involved in some of the product management feedback, especially regarding roadmap issues so they can effectively communicate the product intention and direction to external developers
3) They need to be able to spend time talking to product engineers so they can effectively understand how the technology is supposed to work and give feedback so the engineers can understand how developers will use their product.
4) They need to spend time learning and using new technology, both in sample applications and real applications – this is the only way for them to be able to speak with authority both at shows and in written form
5) They need to spend some time teaching external developers how to use the products. They should also take the feedback learned in those classes back to the engineering team
6) They need to write blog content to help communicate their knowledge and interesting features for the platform.