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Every year at DrupalCon, we aim to bring together people with a common interest who need to move a potential initiative forward or work together in other ways to help grow Drupal.
In Seattle, we brought together a room full of event organizers. This is the story of two hours locked in a room, deep in the heart of the Seattle Convention Center…Invitees
Thomas Scola, Michael Miles, Karthik Kalimuthu, Jessica Dearie, April Sides, Aimee Decker, Aimee Degnan, Michael Hess, Kaleem Clarkson, Jesse Hofmann-Smith, Jared Stoneberg, Rick Hawkins, Michael Anello, Leslie Glynn, Dan Moriarty, Kevin Thull, Jeremy Rasmussen, Quincy Austin , Brian Gilbert, Dori Kelner, Suzanne Dergacheva, Gábor Hojtsy, Steven Hughes, Raul Solano, Owen Lansbury, Dane Rossenrode, Juan Pablo Novillo Requena, Stephanie Lüpold, Kazu Hodota, Baddy Sonja Breidert, Nick Switzer, Elli Ludwigson, Matthew Saunders, Kelly Albrecht, Narcisse Mbunzama, Shawn Duncan, Pat Gilbert, Oyekan Abiodun, Mark Casias, Darren Oh, Gregg Marshall, Anson Han, Raed Al-khurayji, Gaurav Mishra, Shadab Ashraf,, Hussain Abbas, Jordana Fung, Josef Dabernig, Tushar Thatikonda, and myself - Rachel Lawson.
If I have missed any of your names, I apologise. Please let me know and I will update. Thank you to all who attended and especially to Avi Schwab who volunteered to take notes.Process
Some weeks before DrupalCon Seattle, I consulted with a number of people and devised a series of questions to pose to the room, to get the conversations started. I then divided the audience into groups and assigned each one of the questions, asking them to get together and prepare a five-minute “presentation” without recourse to audiovisual aids like a screen. I want to hear what they have to say, not look at fancy slides. There then followed 15 minutes of discussion including the whole room.
Once the round table began, we initially did a quick voting exercise to ensure we worked on the topics in priority order, plus some custom ordering to take into account not everyone can be in the room for the whole two hours. It is DrupalCon after all!Topics
More topics were initially set than were discussed. We took a group decision to spend more time on each topic, so lower priority items fell off the bottom until another day.
The following represent notes taken during the day and some reflection on the general flow of the discussion.Event Organizers as an “Official” Group?
We discussed whether we should look to form an “official” group, with a charter etc, that looks to help events coordinate and collaborate.
- Fostering the next generation of Drupalists
- Surfacing smaller events on Drupal.org
- Marketing camps to students and young people
- More case studies and paired sessions “How Disney/WWE/J&J made their website”
- Get agencies to engage clients. Win (camp) win (agency) win (client).
- How do we create value?
- We already have revenue, discussed below how we might turn that into value?
- Regional financial entities
- But maybe higher level organization to help create them
- Example: National Endowment for the Arts - national grants
- Regional, local all their own organizations
- Group representation:
- Globally diverse
- Diverse among camp sizes
- Intentionally contracting to do work and solve our problems
- Two separate things
- Global “Just enough” organization to support events
- Fiscal sponsorship & financial
- Who should this organization report to?
- Dries? DA?
- The DA is listening now. They’re good at doing events.
- Dries is only one Human Being
- Fewer and fewer working groups are reporting to him
- Global working group as CONNECTORS between groups. Some groups need very little, some need help being lifted up. How do we pool our resources together to solve event org problems?
There was certainly the will to create an official group and to put the necessary work into making it representative of the global event community. I’m highly encouraged by this and looking forward to this happening.What can we (Dries + DA) do to help you get your event to the next level?
We wanted to understand how the Drupal Association especially could provide the right support to events.
- Form for organizers to fill out before and after the event
- Drupal Association could help organize resource library for organizers
- Events would like to have some consistent opening slides that describe and promote the Drupal Association
- DA to promote Ticket sales
- Events want to be able to register as Drupal Association Supporting Partners under a new level just for them.
- DATA is worth its weight in gold - we all benefit by collecting data about each event in terms of numbers of attendees, sponsorship revenues, speakers, etc.
- Data could go into standardized letter for requesting sponsorship
- Templates for requesting sponsorships, also for saying thank you.
- Educate potential sponsors the value of these events
- Should a standardized CoC be required for DA support? What happens if someone doesn’t check the “We have a CoC” checkbox? Is it just required?
- Could we enforce participation through enforcement of the trademark?
- That might make more work for Dries in defending it
- Put other value behind agreement
- Could tie into CWG initiative to train CoC people
- Create a Speaker Directory for diverse speakers
- Incentivizing getting into the “Speaker Directory” could be a great honor
- Add to form: where did we find the speaker?
- Speaker Selection Panels
- D.o profile list speaking engagements
- Site distro for camps/starter kits/COD
- Drupal Europe is out there
- We have the resources in $$$, could gather resources and hire someone to do it
- Separation of Tasks from the Drupal Association
It seems that the greatest input the Drupal Association can have right now for event management is related to data and, especially, on Drupal.org. We should look to create a plan that takes input from this discussion, Suzanne Dergacheva (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QZppszEs_7J5P4gzXnCjHSfDoCZD0TfCDntXyGyhgzM/edit#) and Rachel Lawson’s (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Su5spAtDg_viKsCqxcaWg9DZ-T08DNot9MAOJRUCVek ) discussion documents on what that data should be.
We should look to represent data on Drupal.org wherever possible, rather than Google docs.Define a mission statement for why we organize events and how to measure success
One of the key factors to success of the project is coordination across all the places people interact with it. Having a common agreed-upon description of what in-person events are attempting to achieve would help. We wanted to know what would be involved in reaching such a common understanding through a mission statement.
- Set up focus group to define a common taxonomy.
- What kind of sessions does a camp want?
- Is the event mission-based or just regional
- Global mission statement and Camp-based sub-mission-statement
- Mission statement isn’t just a sidebar on the site
- Events should be able to report back on how their event connects back to the mission
- https://www.drupal.org/association/mission: The Drupal Association unites a global open source community to build, secure, and promote Drupal.
- India - over 50 camps that don’t have cohesive messaging
- A similar concept was discussed in a BoF in 2018 - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q5vNIlKQUUvAiJv36XaRWu365QaOJ7uQVLwDkCez4-g/edit#heading=h.70uw2e6zxslr
- Grow the community, awareness thereof, and lead collaboration across open source communities
- Scaling only happens when there’s demand
- Focus on the higher-level goals will pull up the lower ones
- We’re not doing any benefit to ourselves if we just keep talking to the same group of people
- How do we implement the data collection?
- Define & measure our KPI’s.
- Cross-pollinate camp participation
- Dashboard to improve visibility and encourage participation
- “Help people exploit and promote drupal”
- Improve skills
- Improve the product
- Connect people to resources, clients to solutions, providers to clients, etc
- How do we measure success?
- D.o signups for the event (groups.d.o is… not super)
- Add Drupal Ladder status to profile pages (and track how that coincides with event attendance)
- How do you use Drupal? (and check change over time)
- Reporting how many people participate in contribution
- Social media mentions
- Connect to a tag
A good discussion on exactly why we run events and defining what we want to achieve with them. Great to hear people saying that it is not enough to simply keep talking to the same people - part of an event’s mission should normally be attractive to people new to Drupal so we continue to grow.
The room agreed that a good mission statement for events would be “Help people exploit and promote drupal”Focussed Output
Dries had a very powerful slide in his Driesnote that set the focus for the upcoming year, for the whole project.
Slide from the Driesnote, photo by Rachel Lawson
I was keen to walk out of the room with an agreed focus for the group and we settled on the following, in order:
- Let’s do what’s needed to make the group official
- Let’s work on the ecosystem - how do we provide things like fiscal sponsorship across events of all sizes in US?
- We need to start collecting data from events in a single place.
Sticking to the focus above, the group who attended and others will be looking into the requirements for an official group to be formed, with a charter etc. Activities here should be updated as blog posts in www.drupal.org/community/event-organizersLessons Learned
My own lesson out of the exercise is that everyone has a very full timetable at DrupalCon and to make the invites much earlier before the event, to give people lots of preparation time. This also needs to be more clear of the facilities available in the room!
I will also look into adding the round tables into the official program, still as invite-only events but at least people can see them more easily and plan their days.I Want to Hear from You
I want to continue to hold round tables in the future on this and other topics of interest in the community.
What community initiatives should we be getting people together to look at the future? Let me know in the comments!