Speaker Deck

The Danger of Having No WHY

by Emma Jane Hogbin Westby

Published June 3, 2014 in Technology

I am exceptionally proud of the Drupal community. Together we foster the development of excellent software, and raise the capacity of our individual contributors. During the Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 upgrade, I have seen increasingly more tension as long standing community members no longer feel that Drupal is their product. We are in a period of transition. By looking to the lessons provided by change management, we can see that we are already doing a lot right. The piece that appears to be missing is a clearly defined, and shared vision.

By design, our community does not have a "mission statement" or single focus. Dries does outline road maps for each release, but it is the community which drives the direction. I like how the community is able to drive the direction of the software, but I also think it makes it difficult for people to decide if they want to (1) start participating and (2) continue participating. There is an unspoken assumption that growth is good; that more contributors are needed; and that the code base must support increasingly more complex systems. Is it time we wrote down these assumptions? Is it time to revisit our Principles?

This session is a two-part session:

1. To guide people through the creation of their own personal mission statement, allowing them to more easily evaluate if their time on Drupal is in conflict with their own values.
2. To kick-off a conversation about having a mission statement for Drupal: the benefits of having a single vision; and the possible culture clash against our existing model.

This presentation was the keynote presentation at DrupalSouth in 2014. It was very well received and sparked some excellent discussion at the conference (and afterwards too!). The slides are here: https://speakerdeck.com/emmajane/lessons-from-an-unlikely-superhero