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Tasha Alfano
Staff Product Manager, Libraries and SDKs, TwilioFebruary 8

Developer Audience - now we are talking! As someone who worked as an engineer using SDKs, then building SDKs, and then moved into Product Management, I have a lot of opinions on this! We can definitely think about a ‘developer persona’ the way we all have different personas for our respective products, but all developers are definitely not the same. Building for different development platforms can add another layer of differentiation and complexity as well. 

I have a secret though, when you work on developer tools, you already have an amazing pilot group - the engineering team building the product! The teams I work with come to customer meetings, drive discussions with our users, write documents, and pitch new ideas. They are your biggest untapped resource if you’re working on developer focused tooling. If I'm struggling with a decision or just need a pulse check on something, the team is the perfect group of people to ask! As I mentioned before, I'm always tagging Engineering, PMM, and other team members early and often in documents or analysis as soon as I start on something new. 

My second biggest recommendation for working for a developer audience is to to think about all of the tangential items related to the actual product; documentation, examples, interactive apps, or code comments. In my experience, developers love an easy to use library, and they also value transparency and good documentation. 

The other thing I cannot reiterate enough for developer tooling is the change management aspect. When developers depend on your libraries or APIs, making a change has to be thoughtful. Whether it is promoting a library from Beta to GA, or versioning your library, you have to maintain transparency as well as versioning expectations. Breaking someone else's usage of your tools is no fun at all. This is especially important as you deprecate or end of life a tool, the notice you need to give a developer is much different than making a change to a view in a UI.