The question most critical to your company’s and developer program’s future…

In conversations with developers and research surveys developer relation professionals ask a lot of questions of developers. Developers are asked about what versions of products they are using, what technologies they care about, what new features would you like in products and programs, etc. All of these questions help to improve products, developer advocacy, developer messaging and more. During his Evans Data Developer Relations Conference 2017 keynote, Scott Apeland, Director of Intel’s Developer Network, was discussing the many different customer insight inputs that Intel uses to improve their developer program. One of the areas that Scott mentioned that the Intel team really works on is one piece of specific feedback they get from their developer program members. This part of their planning is based on one simple and important question. This is the same question that all developer relations professionals should ask their program members. Asking the question periodically and analyzing the results, you can plan your next round of content creation, activities and outreach. You can continue to measure, analyze changes and update your plans and actions. If you’re not asking this one important question, you will miss a key factor in your developer program success. What is this most important question?


How likely is it that you would recommend the developer program to a friend or colleague?

Asking members of your developer program this one simple question will help you understand the health of your outreach. It will help you understand how happy and loyal your members are. This one question comes from business loyalty guru Fred Reichheld introduced in a Harvard Business Review article in December 2003 titled “The One Number You Need to Grow“. The one question was later covered in more detail in his book “The Ultimate Question“, now in its second edition. From the Amazon book description: “By asking customers this question, you identify detractors, who sully your firm’s reputation and readily switch to competitors, and promoters, who generate good profits and true, sustainable growth. You also generate a vital metric: your Net Promoter Score. Since the book was first published, Net Promoter has transformed companies, across industries and sectors, constituting a game-changing system and ethos that rivals Six Sigma in its power.”

Intel NPS Scale

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Ask your developer program members the one question and give an answer choice range of usually zero to ten.  Zero on the left allows members to tell you they are “not likely” to recommend your developer program to a friend or colleague. Ten on the right lets your developer program members tel you they are “very likely” to recommend your program. In your analysis you break the choice range into three sections:

  • Detractors – those who answer in the range of zero to six
  • Passives – those who answer in the range of seven to eight
  • Promoters- those who answer in the range of nine to ten

To calculate the Net Promoter Score you will first calculate the percent of program members who are detractors and those who are promoters. To get your final Net Promoter Score you subtract the percentage of detractors from the percent who are promoters. Note: those members who are categorized as passives are included in the total number of respondents that is used to calculate the percentages of promoters and detractors and have an effect of moving the NPS towards zero.

Intel NPS Calculation

Using NPS and Additional Feedback to Improve Your Program

Scott Apeland went on to detail how Intel’s developer relation team takes the NPS score and additional developer member feedback from developer members who would and would not recommend the program to their friends and colleagues. Using the results they create an action plan, execute the plan, measure NPS again, gather newer feedback, and evolve the program. NPS is just one part of a complete developer program success measurement regimen.

Thank you Scott for a great keynote presentation.  DevRelate members (it’s free to join) will find the Evans Data Developer Relations Conference presentations on the DevRelate site.

What Satisfaction Measurements do you use for your Developer Relations Program?

Send me an email if you have additional satisfaction measurements that you use for your developer relations program. I would also love to hear if you use NPS as part of your program success measurements.

David I Facebook Avatar

David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99