Many tech companies have blogs where they walk through their process or stack, make announcements, or post incident postmortems. As an outside engineer following these is a great way to stay abreast with trends in the industry, and as an inside engineer writing the posts puts your name out there and lets you flex different skills.
At my current job my team recently launched a new team blog (using Hakyll, just like this blog!). This is a little different, although I suspect many companies have similar blogs. My team owns the platform that other app teams deploy and run their applications on so all of our direct customers are internal teams. We have a few goals for this blog that can be boiled down to: engagement, transparency, and accountability.
Our team has been working out various ways to engage with platform users off and on for some time, and this was the major motivating factor to make the blog. Today we are using the blog to post announcements, demos, recordings of office hours, and the like. We also include various ways users can access the team for support or give direct feedback.
Full disclosure, so far the blog hasn’t created much new engagement or feedback from teams. We are cautiously optimistic, though, that frequent posts and referrals back to it will encourage teams to pitch us more feature requests and help us learn about pain points that we may be missing.
Transparency & Accountability
A huge benefit to having this team blog is the increased transparency it gives other teams about where their platform is going. Obviously for users this can help plan for upcoming changes, but for us as a team it helps to keep us honest.
A PaaS requires a decent amount of work to keep the lights on, and it’s easy to get lost in only working on that. Making a roadmap available to stakeholders in an easy to consume manner keeps us on our toes and encourages us to seek more feature requests and other asks to make the other engineers happy customers.
Wrap It Up
When my team launched our internal blog we were thinking it would give users more tools to use our platform and get them more engaged. What we (or perhaps just I) was pleasantly surprised to find is that a blog with a regular post cadence helps to keep the team thinking about the user more, even if they aren’t directly giving us feedback.