February 12th, 2016
Drupal.org, the home of the Drupal community, has grown organically for many years. At some point it grew so large that a clear decision making structure became a necessity. The Drupal Association staff was not in the place to provide it at that time: our entire technology team for Drupal.org, including all its sub-sites and services, consisted of only two people, myself and Neil Drumm—so we turned to community for help.
In the summer of 2013, the three Drupal.org Working Groups were announced. Governance committees, consisting of community members and staff, created to act as a collective ‘product owner’ for the website. In the following two and a half years, with their guidance and feedback, we implemented many new features, performed user research, developed content strategy, and drastically improved the infrastructure behind Drupal.org.
At the same time the Drupal Association staff kept growing. We hired our first full-time infrastructure staff member, brought in the CTO and customer service coordinator a few months later, then a developer and two more infrastructure team members. And finally, we hired a project manager, a web designer, and one more Drupal developer. Our communications team grew, too: over the last two years, the Drupal Association brought in a content strategist and a dedicated writer. Overall, our capacity increased and a lot of gaps in skills and experience were filled.
Having skilled staff working full-time on Drupal.org, we were finally able to provide product direction, set a roadmap, and execute on it. We adopted Scrum as our project management methodology, with a new sprint starting every two weeks. This encourages iteration and pivoting based on the situation, instead of working against a ‘set in stone’ year long plan. As our staffing situation changed, we started to realize that the valuable time of dedicated community volunteers can be spent more efficiently than making them sit in countless planning and update meetings with staff.
At the end of last year, the Drupal Association Board, with the input of several Working Group members, made a decision that it is time for staff to work on Drupal.org improvements directly with the community. This means that the Drupal.org Working Groups will transition into an advisory group, with former Drupal.org Working Groups members available as advisors to provide feedback and input on specific initiatives the team is working on, relevant to their own skills and expertise.
The only requirement the Board and Drupal.org Working Groups themselves put out before the transition could happen is this: they asked that the Association staff create a clear process for community members to be able to suggest items on the Drupal.org roadmap, and provide a path for those community members to volunteer to help with implementation. With the input from the Working Groups and the Board, we created such a process. It was launched last week.
As we reach the end of an era, I’d like to personally thank each member who served at various times on Drupal.org Working Groups over the past three years. Your time, skills, and experience you shared with us has been invaluable.
Gerhard Killesreiter / killes
Narayan Newton / nnewton
Melissa Anderson / eliza411
Angela Byron / webchick
Kim Pepper / kim.pepper
George DeMet / gdemet
Jeff Eaton / eaton
Roy Scholten / yoroy
David Hernandez / davidhernandez
Cathy Theys / YesCT
Thank you! It’s been a pleasure to share all those moments, conversations, ideas, debates, and workshops.
While the role of these wonderful people is shifting to a less formal advisory one, we will still be calling on their expertise and help as we continue our work on making Drupal.org a better place.
–Image by Roy Scholten.