At the end of 2017, we ran our third annual SilverStripe community survey (check the 2016 and 2015 results). It’s a great way for us here in New Zealand to stay on the pulse of community needs, in addition to other channels like our meetups in various locations, GitHub issue trackers, social media and the Slack channel. This survey can also help you make informed decisions in your own context, since we’re publishing the (anonymised) results.
Who you are
Overall, over a hundred of you have responded, with the vast majority in a technical role. An interesting shift in roles has happened since last year: The number of people classifying themselves into a “frontend” role has doubled (from 16% to 29%). While most of you are employed full-time, a third are self employed or freelance (38%).
Geographically speaking, most of you are on either side of the Tasman Sea: 35% in New Zealand and 13% in Australia. Australian respondents have significantly increased since our last survey, which validates our efforts in this region. We’ve had responses from 24 countries (incl. Iran, Honduras and Sudan), fantastic to see such a diversity. US and Canada amount to 7% total, with UK at 13%.
We’ve added some questions this year to determine relative sizes of projects implemented with SilverStripe, and the size of teams working on them. 17% of you work alone, 50% work in a small team (1-3 people). Only a quarter of respondents say that their average projects take more than three months, with every tenth response turning around projects in less than two weeks.
How you rate our Community Tools
GitHub is regarded as the most useful community tool overall (3.7 in a weighted average of 1 to 5). The docs.silverstripe.org and api.silverstripe.org websites follow closely, seen as “very useful” by two thirds of the community, continuing a trend from last years. Chat has become much more useful since we switched from IRC to Slack (from 2.7 to 3.5 in a weighted average of 1 to 5). We’ve no longer asked about the usefulness of the forums since these were switched off late last year. A handful of respondents indicated a preference for more persistence to community-based knowledge than Slack can provide.
Overall, you’ve given us a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 65, which is up from 52 in 2016. Anything over 50 is widely regarded as an excellent customer satisfaction score in our industry, so we’re quite stoked! Note: This isn’t a randomised survey, so results will always be skewed towards people who bother responding in the first place.
In terms of improvements, the most mentioned phrases were Modules, Documentation, Support, Performance, Ecommerce, Content Blocks. Despite the relatively high usefulness rating of our documentation, improving it (both for newcomers and advanced users) was your number one concern. A handful of responses mentioned a bigger community size as a driver for a higher rating.
Feedback is only valuable if it can influence our priorities and decision making. While we can’t satisfy every respondent, there’s a few common threads that we’re planning to focus on:
- Forums: We agree that persistent knowledge is important for our community, and want to ensure you have the right tools for that. We’ve got a lot of our bases covered between Slack, GitHub, blogs, docs.silverstripe.org and StackOverflow. There’s still some gaps where knowledge doesn’t have a good home, so we’re putting the challenge back to you: Do you want to create a community-maintained forum?
- Improve documentation: We’ve put a lot of energy into our upgrading guide and tools for SilverStripe 4, and made docs updates part of our Definition of Done for every pull request merge. Each of the 18 lessons was reviewed and partially rewritten for SilverStripe 4. We’ve also improved Google search results by making better use of the canonical tag and redirections. Documentation work is never done, of course. Did we mention that all docs are open source on GitHub and ready for contributions? ;)
- Content Blocks: We’re spending months of team effort on content blocks at the moment, which will benefit the wider community in creating a common foundation for this emerging way to manage website content.
Thanks everyone for taking the time to tell us how we’re doing. Feel free to dig through the (anonymised) detailed results. We’re looking forward to working with all of you in 2018!
Do you want to stay updated with changes in the community and stay in the loop? Join the SilverStripe community slack channels!