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The Process for Evolving Community Governance

May 5th, 2017

Discover > Plan > Build > Iterate

There comes a time when we must all recognize that what got us here won't get us there. Now is that time for Drupal. The governance models that were put in place to support the needs of the community years ago are no longer working as well as they should. The Drupal community has reached a level of maturity that requires greater clarity, integrity, and resilience.

An effort is underway to evolve Drupal’s community governance. The Drupal community is in the driver’s seat. The Drupal Association is helping navigate and get the community where it wants to go by providing the structure, support, and resources that are desperately needed to make progress. I, Whitney Hess, have been engaged to be a neutral facilitator of this process.

We are proposing a multi-phase approach to redesign Drupal’s community governance models, management, and decision-making practices: Discover > Plan > Build > Iterate. In this first phase, our goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of the Drupal community. We are conducting this research through a variety of methods: one-on-one interviews with select individuals; mediated group discussions; surveys and feedback forms.

We held seven hour-long Community Discussions over three days of DrupalCon. There were 6-10 participants per session. Though every session had its own energy and topics varied, all discussions were fruitful and impactful. Many participants said they left feeling better than when they arrived.

While there was some discussion about recent events in the sessions, the focus quickly shifted to brainstorming ideas for how to improve Drupal’s community governance. As mediator, it is my role to help people articulate their needs, and to support the community in devising strategies to better get those needs met. Please read the meeting summaries if you would like to get a sense of what was discussed.

There are currently seven online sessions scheduled over the next two weeks at a variety of times for the global community to participate in these facilitated discussions, and more will be scheduled if needed. If you want your voice heard, I strongly encourage you to join us. If you have questions or concerns about the sessions, you’re welcome to contact me directly at whitney@whitneyhess.com.

Once these sessions are completed, we will be conducting a short survey and other types of feedback forms to have the widest possible reach. We want to ensure that people have a variety of ways to constructively contribute to making Drupal the best it can be. We expect to launch these in late-May.

At the conclusion of the Discovery phase, we will move into Planning. We are at the earliest stages of conceiving a Governance Summit over 1-2 days in June to take all of the learnings from Discovery, and craft a strategy for specifically how to change Drupal’s community management and governance. As of today, we do not yet have dates, location, or participant information. We are waiting to see what comes out of Discovery before we devise any framework for how this can be achieved effectively and equitably. Again, the Drupal Association’s role here is to be a support, and to create space for the community to decide how it wants its governance to change.

I have very clearly heard a need for greater transparency into this process and how decisions are being made. I take that responsibility seriously, and will continue to share our progress along the way. Next up, please look out for a summary of our Discovery findings, to be shared in late-May/early-June.

With gratitude,

Whitney