At the end of May, I shared how The Drupal Association went through some hard staffing reductions so we could better align our expenses with revenue, making the organization much more sustainable. While this is a challenging transition, it allows The Association to serve our mission long into the future.
Part of this transition includes deciding where to focus our smaller team and, unfortunately, identifying work we can no longer take on. I want to give transparency into these decisions so we can best set expectations and invite the community to take over programs and work efforts we can no longer do.
Our mission is to unite the community to build and promote Drupal. As I mention in my blog post, now that Drupal 8 is out, our focus is to put more energy into the “Promote Drupal” portion of the mission.
We will do this by improving the adoption journey within Drupal.org and DrupalCon. By adoption journey, I’m referring to the decision making path someone takes to chose a new content management platform for their organization. These decision makers narrow their choice by talking to industry peers and service providers, reading analyst reports, and gathering information online and at conferences. When decision makers visit Drupal.org or attend DrupalCon as part of their fact finding mission, we want to make it easier for them to see that Drupal is the right choice. We will curate content that highlights the power of Drupal solutions, amplifies success stories, and connects the decision makers with Drupal service providers and industry peers.
It’s important that we play our role in growing the number of organizations using Drupal because gaining more Drupal customers is good for the project. They employ Drupal developers, contribute back code, and provide financial support. Plus, highlighting Drupal successes on Drupal.org and at DrupalCon creates a rallying point for our community. Let’s celebrate the many amazing ways organizations are using our community-built software.
I do want to point out that the community will still have the great resources they need to continue building and releasing the software. We will still level up developer skills and host large sprints at DrupalCon. And, Drupal.org will continue to provide the tools and resources the community needs to release new versions.
What we can’t do right now is invest in new ways to improve the contribution journey. By contribution journey, I am referring to the path a person takes to join the community online and in person, to collaborate with others and contribute code, documentation, camp organization, etc. So right now, we are not spending resources to improve this contribution journey. However, we are studying what improvements are needed so we can invest in them again as we become financially stronger.
As we serve our mission, we will also focus on strengthening The Association’s sustainability. Naturally aligning expenses with resources is the biggest step in that direction. Now we will focus on strengthening our financial health by prioritizing revenue-generating initiatives as thoughtfully as we can. We’re starting this effort by finding out how to add value to each segment of our community so we can update our programs, making them even more attractive for people and companies to invest in.
There are many segments that make up our community from the individual to the business community of Drupal Shops, hosting companies, and technology companies. Each segment funds our mission work by buying Drupalcon tickets and sponsorships, by becoming Members and Supporting Partners, finding talent on Drupal Jobs, and buying Drupal.org digital opportunities. We will talk with members in each of these segments and see how we can make these programs better and more valuable to them.
Plus, our community has grown over the years and we need to welcome newcomers and find out how we can provide them with value that they are willing to pay for. Specifically, system integrators like Tata Consultancy Services and WIPRO and digital agencies like WPP and Digitas are now using Drupal to build ambitious digital experiences for their clients. By interviewing these organizations throughout the summer and fall, we will have a much better understanding of how to best support these kinds of organizations.
While the details I provided above are high level, The Drupal Association staff are operating from a 12 month execution plan that includes roadmaps with milestones and metrics. As we selected the work in our roadmap, we applied three imperatives:
- Strengthen our financial health: Simply put, we will thoughtfully prioritize revenue generating opportunities that rebuild our cash reserves so we are more stable and do this in ways that add value to the community.
- Execute well: We are picking a few areas to focus on so we are able to deliver results and make an impact. We are using good old fashion project management best practices to properly scope work and get stakeholder input to make sure we set ourselves up for success.
- Determine strategic direction for future planning: While we are heads down working on our execution plan for the next year, we need to know where to focus next to best serve the community. The Drupal Association board and staff will spend time this year determining that strategic direction.
We want to share details of the work we will do this year, but rather than make this blog post even longer with all of that detail, we will do a blog series from the Events, Engineering, MarComm, Revenue, and Operations departments.
Each department will explain what their focus is in more detail and it will explain what work we are not able to do given our smaller size. Plus, we will highlight where community members can get involved to take on the work we can no longer do. If you are interested in volunteering your time to work on community programs, please contact me. We would love to work with you!
As the Executive Director of The Drupal Association, I am inspired by the community values of kindness, collaboration, learning, and doing our best. The Drupal community is a bright spot in a complex world and I am personally motivated to protect its health and longevity.
Outside of work, you can find me exploring nature with my family and friends or working out with my bootcamp squad doing 100 burpees in the 100℉ / 38℃ heat of Tucson, Arizona, USA.