Drupal Association 2018 Execution Plan

The 2018 Goal: Growing Drupal Adoption

Drupal 8 is now more than two years old and data shows that it is prefered over Drupal 7. As Dries pointed out in his blog post, Drupal 8 is on the upswing. To lean into this growth, the Drupal Association’s primary goal in 2018 is to accelerate Drupal adoption through our channels: Drupal.org and DrupalCon and other community programs.

Levers for Growing Adoption

One might think that growing adoption is purely a marketing effort, but in fact it is much more. It requires nurturing the entire Drupal customer life cycle.

The Drupal Association primarily serves developers in the community and specifically those contributing time, talent, and treasure. To nurture Drupal adoption and to further step into our mission: to unite the open source community to help them build and promote the software, we need to pull the lense back and think more broadly, without reducing our support for the developer community.

When someone engages with a digital experience created with Drupal, like a cancer patient seeking specific information on the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center website or a concerned citizen of the City of London who needs community services information, that experience occurs because many types of personas worked together to create it - from decision maker to builders to marketers. To grow and ensure the longevity of Drupal digital experiences, we need to serve all of those personas.

The adoption journey consists of influencers and decision makers, who are either technical or marketing evaluators working at an end-user organization like a hospital or they are working at a service provider like a digital agency. The technical and marketing evaluators have unique ways of assessing software and we need to make it easy for each one to understand why they should choose Drupal and how to take the next step.

The user journey includes many personas ranging from the digital team who builds something amazing with Drupal to the trainers who teach the marketing department how to use the solution to the content editors and marketing campaign managers creating engagement and conversions with their visitors. Each persona needs to be a power user. Knowing how to easily make the biggest impact with Drupal helps them be heroes at work. Drupal is an extraordinarily powerful platform capable of many things, but adoption won’t grow if users misunderstand Drupal’s power and choose not to continue using it. To avoid this, we need to improve in two areas: total cost of ownership and ease of use.

The community journey includes many types of contributors: coders, camp organizers, mentors, and more. All roles are important for growing and strengthening the community while it innovates the software. The Drupal Association wants to foster a healthy, inclusive community that is focused on moving the project forward in supportive and productive ways. We want to find ways to provide more support and recognition for each community role.

Drupal Association’s 2018 Execution Plan

As you can see, growing Drupal adoption and retaining our users requires a focus on many more personas than we currently focus on today. We certainly have our work cut out for us. Given how broad this focus is, our 2018 execution plan includes near-term, high impact projects that fit within the capacity of our 17 person organization. It also takes into account that the channels we can improve are Drupal.org, DrupalCon, and our other community programs. When selecting the projects, we also kept in mind that while the Drupal Association is moving through its financial turnaround towards long term sustainability, we are not done yet, so we need to be mindful of budget constraints.

Focus areas of our 2018 execution plan

Accelerate the adoption journey of ambitious digital experiences including API-first solutions

  • by inspiring & informing evaluators with case studies and other resources to help convert them into users
  • by improving Drupal (the product) to improve total cost of ownership (TCO) and ease of use

Strengthen the user journey: Continue to delight existing users and help them expand Drupal usage

Support community health

  • foster diversity and inclusion with the DrupalCon diversity speaker program
  • expand the personas we serve and increase global support
  • strengthen connection between Dries Buytaert as the Project Lead and the community at large, on and off of Drupal.org
  • support governance improvements

Build a stronger foundation of support for the Drupal Association

  • ensure organizational and financial health
  • ensure staff satisfaction
  • create better understanding, collaboration between DA & community

Let’s take a closer look at the work we will do for each of these focus areas.

#1) Accelerate the adoption journey

Understand. To begin this work, we first need to understand how Drupal is adopted and who are the decision-making personas throughout Drupal’s customer lifecycle. We also need to understand the adoption journey for both the technical and marketing evaluator so that we can provide the best paths for them to choose Drupal. These insights will inform how we evolve our programs: Drupal.org and DrupalCon.

Drupal.org Front Page - This part of the website is where evaluators learn about Drupal and take the next step toward choosing the software and / or an agency to work with. 93% of our traffic is anonymous, so the first step is knowing who is coming to this page. We will conduct user research and study other software website’s evaluator experiences to determine best practices. Then, we will revamp the Drupal.org front page to better serve evaluators, using an iterative process.

By DrupalCon Nashville, we will roll out our first revamp (an MVP), which will streamline the evaluation path and provide content that helps them move to the next stage. Due to the Association’s lack of marketing and design resources, all Drupal promotional content will be curated from the community. To get to a fully redesigned front page experience, we will need to fundraise for design enhancement. If we find that we need original promotional content on the site, we will need to fundraise for these assets as well.

Drupal.org Tools & Services - Improving Drupal’s total cost of ownership and ease of use will help grow adoption and the Drupal Association can uniquely help with new tools.

  • Total Cost of Ownership - the Drupal Association will work with Drupal core maintainers and other community members to kick off the auto-updates initiative, which will help customers especially in the mid-market. This project will take more than a year and will require funding for sprints. We anticipate re-launching the Drupal 8 Accelerate fundraising campaign to support this effort.
  • East of use - As Dries mentioned at DrupalCon Vienna, many site builders feel left behind with Drupal 8 since they often do not have command line access and are not using tools like Composer. The Drupal Association has proposed building a tool for site builders with the help of Drupal core maintainers and others. Helping this segment will contribute to Drupal 8’s growth.

DrupalCon - While DrupalCon Nashville is largely a Drupal user and community event, we are serving the evaluator by adding in more programming that amplifies the power of Drupal’s digital experiences including API-first solutions.

  • Digital Experience Case Studies - Attendees coming for business and technical content will be inspired as they learn from experts how Drupal solutions were created and have made an impact for organizations like Weather.com, Symenatic, ACLU, and the U.S. Courts. Case studies are found in almost all tracks and specifically in the Ambitious Digital Experience Track.
  • API-first - We offer a new Decoupled Summit for peers to spend one day together discussing best practices for building API-first solutions. Attendees can be further inspired with decoupled case studies as well as sessions in the Horizons Track that shows how to push the boundaries with API-first. Plus, there are many sessions as well as training and labs, teaching attendees how to build decoupled solutions.

After DrupalCon Nashville, the team will strategize to holistically redesign DrupalCon so it better serves the personas within the Drupal customer lifecycle.

Strengthen the User Journey

Understand. A million organizations use Drupal, but we don’t know who they all are. By working with Drupal core maintainers, we will use Project Updates to gain insight into Drupal’s customer base. We will use this insight to better understand things like which sectors are best served or which modules are most used - all of which can better inform the Project and Drupal Association programs.

DrupalCon - As mentioned, DrupalCon Nashville is a user and community event, which has traditionally focused on the “Builder Persona” as well as the Drupal Business Owner Persona. This year, we expand to serve a few more user personas by offering the Technical Leadership Track and the Content Editor Track.

Support Community Health

One of Drupal’s top unique differentiators is our large, global, passionate community. As the Drupal Association and community come together to work on initiatives related to Drupal.org, DrupalCon and other Drupal Association programs, we want to help the community thrive by focusing in the following areas:

Inclusion - Drupal and our community is better when we include everyone to move Drupal forward in a positive and productive way. A diverse community results in great things. The Drupal Association wants to promote inclusivity by serving more personas, acting more globally, and expanding our DrupalCon speaker diversity initiative.

Expanding who we serve:

  • Persona - as we better understand how to serve our currently under-served personas like content editors and marketing managers, we also need to find a way to bring them into our community. An example of a question that we will ask in the course of this work is “how do camps run campaigns to attract Drupal evaluators?" Imagine if we had content editors in our community to help run these kinds of camp campaigns?
  • Global - our programs need to scale globally. That is why we are evaluating a new operational model for DrupalCon, starting in Europe. If we find that we can successfully license DrupalCon to a European entity, then we will use this model in other parts of the world, giving all community members the chance to experience the magic of DrupalCon. We are also looking at other existing programs like the camp fiscal sponsorship program. We are evaluating if Open Collective can support more countries than what we can currently support - for camps, project maintainers, and other community initiatives. Additionally, the Drupal Association Board is discussing how to meet the community's request for more global representation on the board through the community elected positions. Stay tuned get ready for the 2018 community board elections this summer!
  • DrupalCon speaker diversity - The DrupalCon team continued prioritizing speaker diversity to expand the speaker line up with high quality speakers from under-represented groups. Building off the initiative created last year where 33% of speakers were from under-represented groups, the track chairs worked hard to recruit diverse speakers and the Drupal Association contributed scholarships to help them attend the event. Of the speakers slated to speak at DrupalCon Nashville, 40% of them self-selected that they identify with an underrepresented group.
  • Contributors - We launched the contribution credit system a few years ago. The algorithm first rewarded code contributors. Last year we expanded it to recognize and reward Drupal Supporting Partners and those who contribute case studies. This year, we are working on a solution so we can finally credit camp organizers who put in so many hours to create special events around the world that move the project forward. How are we doing this? With OATH. Camps asked for Drupal.org user profile data so community members don’t have to create yet another Drupal-related profile page when they sign up for a camp. OATH allows us to push this information to camps and create a better experience for the camp attendee. Plus, this integration will also pull in information about the camp organizers into Drupal.org, allowing us to give them credit.

Creating a stronger connection between the Project Lead and the community - As one of the largest open source projects, it can be hard to scale relationships with one another - especially with the founder of the project, Dries Buytaert. We will foster more interaction between Dries and the community through roundtable discussions held virtually and at various Drupal events starting at DrupalCon Nashville. It is a chance to focus on important topics and have a discussion which fosters insight, understanding and moves the project forward in positive, productive ways.

Support Community Governance - Last year the community held many discussions on how to evolve community governance and came up with next steps. The Drupal Association looks forward to the release of the project’s shared values that will inform all of us as we work together on important community guidelines like the Drupal Code of Conduct.

Providing clarity within Drupal Association channels: Drupal.org and DrupalCon. In response to the community discussions, the Drupal Association will provide the community with more clarity on what is expected behavior in general and for leaders and what are the consequences of unacceptable behavior. We have already updated the DrupalCon Speaker Agreement and DrupalCon Code of Conduct with the help from many in the community. We will also update the Drupal.org Terms of Service in a similar fashion.

Improved Developer Tooling. Last year we worked with several community members to evaluate developer tooling. We published a detailed analysis of our findings and of our prototype work with three key options: GitHub, GitLab, and BitBucket (read more here). At the time of posting, there were a few key blockers to some of the options - but this situation is changing rapidly. If we find that blockers are removed and we have capacity this year, we will start the migration - and, of course, we will communicate to the community before we do anything.

Drupal Association Support

The Drupal Association can never achieve its mission without the support of the community and support comes in several forms: time, talent, and treasure. We are ever grateful for the thousands who contribute countless hours who move the Drupal project forward.

Financial Support
The Drupal Association is making strides with its financial turnaround (2017 details coming soon. It’s positive news) and we will continue to focus on sustainability in 2018. Financial success means we need to meet our KPIs: 10% Net Margin % and 15% cash reserve.

Reaching those KPIs will require a mix of focus:

  • Continue showing value to our funders: DrupalCon attendees and sponsors, members and Supporters, digital advertisers and sponsors, and Drupal job posters
  • Launching the Drupal 8 Accelerate fundraising program for key initiatives like Auto-updates
  • Identifying sponsored work for the engineering team to solve a common pain point
  • Creating a value add service for Drupal that can be monetized

Community Support

In addition to financial support, the Drupal Association wants to grow its ambassadorship. We will build a stronger relationship with the community through improved engagement and communication efforts especially through the help of our new Community Liaison.

Staff Support

Additionally, we want to focus on a thriving staff, who are supported and empowered to do great mission-driven work for the community in a sustainable way. We use OfficeVibe as one of the ways to monitor team health and our goal is to remain above our agreed upon healthy targets. 

Reduce compliance risk

Operationally, we want to reduce the Drupal Association’s risk so that nothing impacts the community programs like keeping Drupal.org online. While we do many things to reduce risk like hold event insurance, this year we are specifically focusing on having:

  • All drupal.org subsites GDPR ready by May 1, 2018
  • All commerce sites updated for reduced PCI scope by May 1, 2018, to ease the effort of maintaining compliance

Execution Plan Dashboard

Similar to last year, we use an execution plan dashboard to breakdown our projects and assign metrics and milestones to them. You can find the 2018 execution plan here.

We provide progress updates in the public board meetings and the board packet includes a full report. We release the board packet with the execution dashboard after each board meeting via a blog and we post board packets and other board relate materials here

Follow Drupal Association blogs related to board meetings if you would like to see how we are doing against our plan.

We are excited to serve the community and work with many of you in 2018. It's amazing what we can accomplish together.

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