Going beyond the cacaphony of metrics: Why you need goals for effective community strategy | Distilled Homepage

Going beyond the cacaphony of metrics: Why you need goals for effective community strategy

James Bohrman

As a community manager or developer relations (DevRel) professional, you know how important it is to measure the success of your community initiatives. Metrics such as member engagement, retention, and growth are crucial for understanding how your community is performing and for making data-driven decisions about how to support and nurture it.

However, relying solely on metrics to guide your community strategy can be problematic. In this post, we’ll explore why a goals-first approach to community and DevRel strategy is necessary for both community growth and communicating the effectiveness of community initiatives to leadership. We’ll also provide practical advice on how to use community-focused OKR (Objectives and Key Results) tools to help you set and track your goals.

Why metrics aren’t enough

Metrics are essential for understanding how your community is performing, but they can only tell you so much. They provide a snapshot of what’s happening in the present and can help you identify trends and patterns over time. However, they don’t necessarily tell you why certain things are happening or what you should do about them.

For example, if you see that your community’s engagement levels are declining, metrics can help you understand the scope of the problem, but they won’t necessarily tell you what to do to fix it. Similarly, if your community is growing rapidly, metrics can help you understand the reasons for this growth, but they won’t necessarily tell you how to sustain it.

This is where goals come in. Goals provide a clear direction and purpose for your community strategy, helping you to focus on the things that matter most. They also provide a framework for understanding the impact of your efforts and help you to communicate the value of your work to leadership.

Setting goals for your community strategy

So, how do you go about setting goals for your community strategy? One effective approach is to use the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) framework. OKRs are a goal-setting methodology used by companies such as Google and LinkedIn to set clear, measurable objectives and track progress towards achieving them.

The key to using OKRs effectively is to ensure that your objectives are clear, measurable, and aligned with your overall business goals. For example, if your company’s goal is to increase customer loyalty, a potential community objective could be to increase the percentage of active members who have been a part of the community for more than a year. The key results for this objective might include things like increasing the number of events or programs aimed at retaining existing members, or improving the onboarding experience for new members.

It’s important to note that OKRs are not meant to be static. They should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain relevant and aligned with your business goals. This is especially important in the fast-paced world of community and DevRel, where priorities and needs can change quickly.

Using OKRs to track progress and communicate value

One of the key benefits of using OKRs to guide your community strategy is that they provide a clear framework for tracking progress and measuring success. By setting specific, measurable key results, you can easily see how your efforts are paying off and identify areas for improvement.

OKRs are also a great way to communicate the value of your community initiatives to leadership. By tying your objectives and key results to business goals, you can demonstrate how your work is contributing to the overall success of the company. This can be especially important when it comes to securing funding and resources for your community efforts.

Practical advice for using OKRs in your community strategy

So, how can you put these principles into practice and use OKRs to guide your community strategy? Here are a few practical tips:

  1. Start by identifying your core values and mission as a community. These will serve as the foundation for your OKRs and help ensure that your goals are aligned with your overall purpose.

  2. Identify key stakeholders within your community, including members, volunteers, and leadership. Involve them in the process of setting OKRs, as their input and perspective can be invaluable.

  3. Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) OKRs. These should be ambitious, but also realistic and achievable within a specific timeframe.

  4. Regularly review and assess your progress against your OKRs. This will help you identify areas where you are making progress and areas where you may need to adjust your strategy.

  5. Consider using a tool specifically designed for managing community and DevRel strategy, such as Distilled. These tools can help you track progress, engage stakeholders, and collaborate with your team to achieve your goals.


In conclusion, it is important to remember that metrics are just one aspect of a successful community strategy. While it is important to track and measure the success of your community, it is equally important to focus on the underlying goals and values that drive it.

By setting clear goals and regularly reviewing your progress against them, you can ensure that your community is aligned with your overall mission and values. By focusing on your goals, you can distill your community metrics and use them to make data-driven decisions that drive growth and engagement.

If you want to learn more about how to effectively set and manage your team’s OKRs, join our Slack community today. Our community members share insights and best practices on OKR-setting and can help you get started with OKRs. Just click this link to join. Or, if you’re ready to begin centralizing your organizations’ OKRs, go ahead and join the Distilled 2.0 waiting list! Lastly, don’t forget to check out our upcoming Product Hunt launch!

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