Speaking to API Strategy While Still Celebrating The Little Things That Matter

by Kin Lane, API Evangelist Twitter LinkedIn Github Email

I was talking with Preetham from our product team at Postman last week about how much we’ve grown and how are messaging has shifted. Postman has 20M users, and while our bottom-up messaging is stronger than ever, we are spending a lot of time working on our top-down messaging. I am fascinated with what leadership at enterprise organizations are thinking, and find myself immersed in talks about strategy, lifecycle, and governance, but I love moments where my thoughts get grounded by folks like Preetham who is hyper focused on “sticking to our roots”, and celebrating the moments developers are having throughout their day.

Preetham reminded me (once again) that most developers do not have any reason to care about strategy, the API Lifecycle, and definitely could care less about API governance. Most API developers, whether producer or consumer, are just happy when some friction in their day is reduced, and they are able to enjoy their work a little bit more. Preetham is like, developers just want the authentication to work, or be able to reduce work using environment variables, and “why can’t we just celebrate this?”. Why are we expecting that every API developer think about al of the stages along the API Lifecycle, when their day is much finer grain than that.

As an API strategist, analysts, pundits, and know-it-all, we get so caught up in the big theoretical picture. Sure, It is my job to help elevate folks to help them thinking about strategy and see the big picture, but this doesn’t mean we can’t also celebrate the incremental wins, and the little moments that matter to us in our day. This is really the art and humanity in this API game where we struggle against the overlapping tractor beams of technology and business. We need to be able to steer us in the direction they want, where what matters is what reduced friction for, and enables us human beings. While our daily actions need to fit into the overall context of our enterprise API strategy, we also need to be in tune with the little things that matter to our teams in their day.

I enjoy these regular reminders. I am steeped in API strategy, lifecycle, and governance for months now, and I needed this grounding. I will be doing more work to identify and celebrate the little things that matter to folks on the ground floor who aren’t thinking about or incentivized to care about strategy. Teams are just looking to get through their day. I want to not just do a better job at noticing what these little things are, but also do a better job of connecting them to the overall strategy. I feel like this is where I will find the best stories, tying my storytelling to the realities on ground floor to the strategy on the upper floors of our operations, while perpetually looking for the alignment between business and development, but also with external consumers.