Posts Tagged ‘SMART goals’

Setting goals for your evangelism and advocacy teams

Having an advocate or evangelist team engaging with your community is a good thing, but it’s essential to decide up front what goals you want to achieve. This post will help you understand how and why to define those goals.

All too often, companies hire a few knowledgeable presenters, send them out to present at conferences and call it evangelism. Yes, presenting at conferences is great, but at some point, someone should ask the question, what’s the return we get from this team.

Even if you decide your goal is to present to new audience, the speakers themselves need direction. Can they present on any topic at all? Databases? Websites? Diversity in the workplace? Presentation skills?

If you hired an evangelist or advocate you likely had a goal in mind when you did. Something you thought would be improved by hiring the team. It’s a good idea to define the goals of the team before you hire them and send them out to be awesome.

The goals you set for your team should be SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely.

What is a SMART Goal?

Specific

Target a specific area for improvement. You want to reach more developers, what types of developers? University students? Developers working at companies? Beginner developers? Back end developers? Front end developers? You can developer better tactics to achieve your goals if you are specific.

Measurable

Once you set a goal how will you know if you achieved it if it is not measurable. It’s great to have a high level vision of what you want to achieve such as ‘strong relationships with the developer community’ but how do you measure it? Do you want to track the number of user groups you meet? The number of developers who post in your community forum? Or the number of developers who download your SDK?

You need to be VERY careful when you decide what to measure. If you tell your team their goal is to get as many developers as possible to download your SDK, they might decide to give away flying monkeys at conference booths to everyone who downloads the SDK. Okay you get a lot of downloads, but are you actually engaging with the developers and building interest and loyalty in your product? (side note I am infamous for always wanting to give away flying monkeys)

flying monkey

Flying Monkeys for everyone who downloads the SDK

Achievable

When you decide on a goal that is measurable you need to set a target. Are you trying to get 5,000 developers to download your SDK or 50,000?

Your goal should be a stretch. You want to push your team to be creative, but it should also be achievable. If you set a target that cannot be achieved there is a risk your team will be frustrated and demoralized.

Relevant

(sometimes listed as Realistic but I find that redundant since achievable is already a criteria)

Your goals should be relevant to the company objectives and direction.

Over the years, Microsoft’s mission statement changed from “a computer on every desk and in every home” in the Bill Gates years, to “create a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most” in the Steve Ballmer years to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” under Satya Nadella. When I was a developer evangelist at Microsoft in the Ballmer years, my goal was to get developers to build apps for Windows Phone and Windows. If a phone has a wider selection of apps, consumers are more likely to purchase the device. I understood how my goals helped the company achieve their mission.

Timely

Set a timeframe for your goals. Many teams set yearly goals because that ties in nicely with annual performance reviews.

Managing team expectations

Once you have set your team goals, make sure they are clearly communicated to the team. Everyone should understand what defines success for the team, so they can work together to achieve success.

In my perfect world, I could get a job as an evangelist and just spend my time picking and choosing conferences I want to attend and presenting to developers. I love presenting at conferences and workshops, it’s fun, and all modesty aside, I’m pretty good at it. Another evangelist might prefer to spend their time playing with the product and creating git repos. Another evangelist might want to spend all their time blogging and tweeting. Which one is right for your team, and which one will be happy on your team, depends on a match of your goals with their skills and interests.

Summary

Evangelism and advocacy teams can add a lot of value, but make sure you sit down each year and agree on goals for your team to define what success looks like for your team!

If you found this post helpful, you may want to check out my previous post: Evangelism vs Advocacy