Developer tools is the best business going.
You make people more effective at solving problems, and when they win, you’re a partner in their success.
It sounds great on paper, but you know it’s never that easy. There aren’t many overnight successes in dev tools. You have to support ongoing cycles of iteration, making your product more effective for the developers who need it, as those developers themselves iterate into their final forms. It’s a lot of work.
What’s scary is that you don’t always know if you’re iterating in the right direction. Scarier still is knowing that if you’re wrong, you’ve set fire to enormous piles of time, labor budget and, ultimately: runway.
After 12 years of working with developers, I’m convinced there’s a better way to do this.
First, you need to make sure you understand where your tools are creating the highest impact. Because you win when your developers are successful, you need a clear understanding of how your tools can influence developer career progression. This impacts everything, from who your developer marketing targets, to how you to communicate about your products, to which abstractions and artifacts you invest in.
Beyond research investments, you need ongoing, everyday structure to maintain relationships and goodwill with the stakeholders in your emerging developer ecosystem. Relationships are work and support is hard. Unchecked, this stuff can drain your time and attention, leaving you choosing between ongoing engagement and making progress on your roadmap, leaving both to suffer.
The hardest part of a developer tools business is this: most of the people who matter to your long term success will never be in your daily standup. It’s work to keep them informed, and more work still to learn from them to identify your biggest opportunities for leverage.
Don’t despair! These are hard problems, but they’re also solvable.
We can build the systems you need for ongoing communication that feeds into your product, informs your planning, and rewards your hungriest stakeholders. I can’t offer you any silver bullets or quick fixes. But I can promise you that building these cycles of communication and integration into your business will take the guesswork out of reaching your goals.
Uploop is here to help you become the backbone of developers’ everyday workflows. Reach out to learn more about how we can work together to make it happen.