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The Danger of Having No WHY

The Danger of Having No WHY

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

Emma Jane Hogbin Westby

June 03, 2014
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  1. The Danger of
    Having No WHY
    @emmajanehw
    E M M A J A N E W E S T B Y

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  2. Warning!
    The talk contains use of the “f” word.

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  3. Bold Claim
    I think the Backdrop fork was good for our community.
    Backdrop offers a clear mission statement.
    And it is forcing us to clarify our own product’s mission.

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  4. Agenda
    1. How (and why) to be selfish in a FOSS project.
    2. The danger of not having a clear mission statement.
    3. Discussion.

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  5. The Hobbit
    An unexpected bit of research

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  6. Everything had its place
    and
    every place had its thing.

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  7. “That’s not a dishcloth!
    It’s a doily.”

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  8. Bilbo chooses
    adventure.

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  9. Humans want to
    connect with people
    who believe what they believe.

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  10. What
    How
    Why
    Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle
    www.startwithwhy.com
    bit.ly/ss-tedtalk

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  11. Bilbo's WHY is “home”.
    “You don’t belong anywhere.”

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  12. To understand,
    transform, and remove
    obstacles to achieve a
    state of flow
    My WHY.

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  13. Discovering Your WHY
    Your purpose. Your cause. Your belief.
    Your personal mission statement.

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  14. What makes you smile?

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  15. When you lose track of
    time, what are
    you doing?

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  16. What are your favourite
    things to do?

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  17. Is there anything you
    don’t feel gifted at, but
    love doing anyway?

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  18. When people ask for
    your help, what do they
    want help with?

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  19. If you had to teach
    something, what would
    you teach?

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  20. Who would your
    students be?

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  21. When you quit, what’s
    typically your
    “last straw”?

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  22. Define your why.

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  23. This space intentionally
    left blank.

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  24. Bilbo was committed to
    WHY the dwarves were
    adventuring, not WHAT.

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  25. @emmajanehw
    2003ish
    Ripped the content
    storage tables out of
    Drupal
    for my own CMS.
    drupal.org/user/1773
    2005
    Came back to Drupal
    and started building
    sites for clients with
    walkah's help.
    2007 2009
    My first (and only) core patch.
    Moshe tells me my
    mom’s bookstore site
    shouldn’t be built
    with Drupal; that I
    should use
    WordPress instead.
    “For my mother, who
    asked for the manual
    to her web site.”
    2011
    Taught my first
    Drupal 8 workshop.
    2013 2014
    Still haven’t
    upgraded mum’s
    site from Drupal 5.

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  26. I sold the promise of
    easy growth.

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  27. I sold the state of flow to
    designers and themers.

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  28. What’s our mission
    statement?

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  29. Modernization of the
    infrastructure.
    My mission statement for Drupal 8.

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  30. “Our mission was to make Drupal
    fast, small, clean and on the
    bleeding-edge of technology.”

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  31. “At the end of the day, we can't
    make everybody happy
    and it is very important that you
    realize that.”

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  32. Dries, 2006
    http://buytaert.net/backward-compatibility

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  33. Drupal was trying
    to be consistent.
    So what happened?

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  34. “Come for the software,
    stay for the community.”

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  35. (you said) “Drupal 8
    Will Have Something
    for Everyone to Love”
    https://drupal.org/drupal-8.0

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  36. Stop doing that.

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  37. Put the stake back in the
    ground. Define, and own,
    the WHY.

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  38. Massive change
    doesn’t happen by magic.
    It happens by management.

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  39. Change management is
    the application of a
    structured process and set
    of tools for leading the
    people side of change to
    achieve a desired outcome.
    https://www.prosci.com/change-management/
    definition/

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  40. A shared
    definition of the
    problem…

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  41. so that stakeholders
    understand
    why change is necessary.

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  42. A shared
    vision of the future…

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  43. so that stakeholders
    understand
    how they will benefit.

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  44. Backdrop
    didn’t share Drupal’s
    definition of the
    problem.
    That was stressful but in a good way.

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  45. “The Drupal mission is to develop
    a leading edge open-source
    content management system
    that implements the latest
    thinking and best practices in
    community publishing,
    knowledge management, and
    software design.”
    https://drupal.org/mission

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  46. Does drupal.org
    accurately describe our
    WHY?

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  47. How do we define GOOD
    software?

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  48. Who has the authority to
    define GOOD?

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  49. When it’s DONE,
    how will we know?

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  50. Whose responsibility is
    the vision of DONE?

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  51. What did you think?
    E V A L U A T E T H I S S E S S I O N :
    A U S T I N 2 0 1 4 . D R U P A L . O R G / S C H E D U L E

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