Product Adoption: How to Get Developers to Use Your Product

By June 12, 2017ALL

“If you build it, they will come” is not a reliable product philosophy. Never assume developers are ready to adopt your product. It takes a significant amount of research, marketing, and redesign to create a fail-proof product that developers will want. Here are three methods to get developers to adopt your product.

Don’t Sell to Businesses — Sell to People

Businesses are not well-tuned machines but living creatures, writes Rulian Estivalletti in Hackernoon. You successfully sell to a business if you consider the different departments like organs that need the other parts to function. In a business, one part isn’t more critical than the other, as the whole enterprise will fail without each other.

In order to get developers to adopt your product, you must understand how your product can solve the developer’s challenges. But you must understand how your product can fit into the rest of the company’s mission, too.

Minimize the Risks and Unknowns

If developers perceive risk associated with a particular product or tool, they won’t using it — even if it could maximize their profit. A study conducted by Japanese researchers found that developers will avoid certain tools even if the “probability of the effect of the tools is unknown.”

Before promoting your product, minimize any risks and unknowns. Early testing, frequent releases, stakeholder communication, and agile development are key factors in reducing software development risk.

Understand the Deployment Pipeline

Though developers are ultimately the end users of your product, you’ve still got to accomplish the task of getting the head of the development team and in some cases the company and management on board with a major product purchase.

“Enterprise adoption is not a necessary condition for developer adoption, but it is a sufficient condition,” writes Yev Bronshteyn, Senior Software Engineer at Black Duck Software, in the Red Hat Developer Blog. “So when a technology is effectively marketed to and reliably supported for the enterprise, developer adoption follows.”

Bronsthteyn points to Java as an example. Java is over 15 years old, which makes it an aging grandparent in tech years. But developers continue to use it because of its proven track record. Enterprise adoption, Bronshteyn argues, begins by registering on developers’ radars, getting adopted by business, and then working effectively and reliably for the company.

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