As Drupal, the Project, keeps growing and changing, so does DrupalCon. As the Events Team at the Drupal Association, we are continually working to improve the event - to strengthen the programming and to better fit the needs of attendees. Over the past year, we've heard through both formal and informal conversations that DrupalCon sprints are ready for a change.
A consistent topic in those conversations was that Extended Sprints, held on weekends before and after DrupalCon, may be too much. While 9 days of sprinting at previous DrupalCons evolved informally, they were a key part of the hard push that got Drupal 8 out the door. Concerns were raised that it is not healthy for contributors to continue at this pace. Contributors said that they were a little burnt out and didn't need as many days of sprinting.
A few weeks ago, we met with some of the sprint leads to discuss DrupalCon sprints to really hear what the Project needs at this point in its life-cycle. What we heard was: "Shorter sprints, with greater support." Based on this conversation with sprint leads, informal conversations from community members, and some feedback from the attendee survey, DrupalCon staff will no longer be organizing weekend Extended Sprints at DrupalCon going forward.
We will continue to support full day sprints from Monday through Friday. There is a dedicated sprint room throughout the week at the convention center, open Monday through Friday, as well as a designated location at the host hotel for 24 hour sprinting sessions. Sprint mentors are available at the DA sponsored mentor table in the exhibit hall throughout the conference to answer any questions about the contribution process, help new contributors pick which sprint best fits them, encourage new mentors to join Friday, and help both new contributors and new mentors know what to do to prepare for the sprints on Friday. We will concentrate our support on providing sufficient quality sprint space, and lunch and coffee, sprint room signage, supplies, special t-shirts for mentors, etc. - things that will help everyone have a quality productive sprint experience.
With these changes, our main objectives for DrupalCon sprints are to support current contributors, bring in new contributors, and nurture those who've dabbled, but not fully jumped in. We believe this is an imperative for the health of Drupal.
If you've attended a sprint at DrupalCon in the past, we certainly hope you will join us again in Baltimore. Our full conference website launched this week - be sure to check out the call for papers, buy a ticket, or apply for a scholarship.