The Dynatrace Forum gets more than 100,000 page views every month, has over 140,000 posts submitted, and grows by roughly 80 new Community members every week. We talked to Karolina Linda, who is Senior Community Manager and a driving force behind the Dynatrace Community.
Karolina, please tell us: what is the Dynatrace Community and what exactly is your role?
To me, the Dynatrace Community is the people – customers, partners, prospects, and of course Dynatrace employees. At the very heart of the community is the Dynatrace Forum, the tool that allows the community to get support and exchange product knowledge and ideas. Our mission for the platform is to deliver real business value through crowd-sourced collaboration.
My role as a Community Manager is to grow and further develop the Dynatrace Community, and to build internal engagement with, and contribution to, the forum. This also means my role is to work on engagement strategies and programs, develop promotional activities, take care of daily tasks such as community moderation. Furthermore, my team and I work together closely with several departments at Dynatrace, from Product Management, Documentation, and Services through to Marketing and HR.
The Dynatrace Community has seen some significant development over the past years, and you were part of this journey. Tell us a bit about this.
When I started working with the community five years ago, I was responsible for the DC RUM community (Data Center Real User Monitoring) as one of several forums we had. After two years, with the switch from Ruxit to Dynatrace, we saw a huge opportunity for the new product on the market and decided to merge the existing forums to create one Dynatrace Community.
Not just the platform itself, but also the way we manage the forums has changed. Back in Ruxit times, only Product Managers were allowed to communicate with customers and partners. Once the forums were merged, traffic went up, the number of questions and product ideas increased, and now everyone in the company is enabled to contribute. We have thus recently started with internal workshops and stronger internal communication measures.
Can you tell us a bit more about these efforts and how you motivate Dynatracers to contribute?
Basically, by telling our team that all help provided – whether through in-product chat, a support ticket, or a forum post – is highly valuable and an important part of the user experience with Dynatrace.
Since the fall of last year, we have had a strong focus on promoting the Dynatrace Community internally. We have, for example, started organizing workshops locally in Gdansk, showing our development teams the features and benefits of the Community and ultimately increasing their confidence to contribute. We will continue with these trainings across all of our R&D labs and push engagement forward even more. Besides the workshops, we have also had a remote session as part of our internal Dev-to-Dev meeting format last month, where I introduced the Community and provided further insights, and we have introduced a session on Community in the Onboardings already across R&D.
With regards to motivation: once people find out a little bit more about the forums and how they work, and have set the tags for their interests, it is a great motivating factor itself to be able to help people with your knowhow in your field of expertise. That, and some rewards that we prepare for high engagement and contribution. We have an “Employee Member of the Month” award, which provides great visibility and certainly motivates the team, as fame lasts forever, right?
What’s great is that our approach seems to work. We have strong engagement among our Services and Product Management teams, and more recently, especially following our various internal communication measures, also among our dev teams. It is important that people know about the many self-service resources out there and how important and valuable their contribution is.
What would you say that community members appreciate most about this platform?
The Dynatrace Community is a highly active one, which makes the forums a very lively place. While it is a self-service platform, it is always appreciated if a Dynatracer steps in to answer a question due to the high trustworthiness of the Dynatrace team. Our users value the friendly and informal atmosphere of the forums, too.
Overall, it is safe to say that there is a vast number of reasons for being active in the forum, whether you are a prospect trying out Dynatrace as a demo, or a new client in the beginning phase of using the solution, or a partner company or client who wants to get support.
What do you personally enjoy about your work?
I just love my job! That’s also why I have been at Dynatrace for 11 years now. In my first six years, I was in the Technical Communications team, making use of my Computer Science background to support our clients and partners with product documentation. Then, five years ago I was asked whether I would like to move into community management, a decision I have never regretted, and which opened up a completely new universe for me. In this role, I can do what I love the most: engage with people, help them, provide value, and build relationships.
It also makes me very happy to see the high level of trust some users put in me. Whether they contact me directly asking for something, or they approach me at conferences to chat, the community values what we do and gives a lot back.
Moreover, I have a lot of touchpoints with various departments within Dynatrace, which I also really enjoy about my work.
In November of last year, you hired two Community Moderators to support you with the growing Community and hence growing workload. How has this step into a leadership role been for you?
In short, awesome! I knew that I wanted to hire people that have different skill sets and will complement the team rather than being copies of each other or myself. And that worked out perfectly.
I’ve always been a team player with strong interpersonal skills. What has been important to me from the very beginning was building an open and honest environment for the team. I very much value equality, trust, honesty, and teamwork. We quickly identified what our strengths are and who enjoys which tasks the most. We also do monthly retrospectives/team building workshops, which help a lot in terms of identifying things that work well and areas for improvement.
What I personally think works best is to simply show that you care about the team, to always be honest, open, understanding, and empathic. My team knows that it’s ok to have bad days and to make mistakes. After all, we are just humans. I’m also a firm believer in regular feedback.
Someone once said that having kids helps prepare you to be a good leader. From my personal experience, I would agree. Parenthood teaches you patience and empathy – qualities that are crucial if you really want to lead a team, and not just own it.
What are the biggest challenges coming with this new role?
The biggest challenge I think is to not measure people the same way and to not look at things from your own perspective. What motivates one person doesn’t necessarily motivate the other. As a team leader, you should keep this is mind all the time and treat people individually.
Let’s conclude this with a brief look into the future.
Right now, we are working together closely with D1 and our Support teams to align our responsibilities and come up with a new supportability platform. The idea is to have everything under one umbrella. In the process, we are also planning on restructuring the forum itself with some products reaching end-of-life. This and much more is going on. Never a dull day in my life as a Community Manager!