Discover > Plan > Build > Iterate

There comes a time when we must all recognize that what got us here won't get us there. Now is that time for Drupal. The governance models that were put in place to support the needs of the community years ago are no longer working as well as they should. The Drupal community has reached a level of maturity that requires greater clarity, integrity, and resilience.

An effort is underway to evolve Drupal’s community governance. The Drupal community is in the driver’s seat. The Drupal Association is helping navigate and get the community where it wants to go by providing the structure, support, and resources that are desperately needed to make progress. I, Whitney Hess, have been engaged to be a neutral facilitator of this process.

We are proposing a multi-phase approach to redesign Drupal’s community governance models, management, and decision-making practices: Discover > Plan > Build > Iterate. In this first phase, our goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of the Drupal community. We are conducting this research through a variety of methods: one-on-one interviews with select individuals; mediated group discussions; surveys and feedback forms.

We held seven hour-long Community Discussions over three days of DrupalCon. There were 6-10 participants per session. Though every session had its own energy and topics varied, all discussions were fruitful and impactful. Many participants said they left feeling better than when they arrived.

While there was some discussion about recent events in the sessions, the focus quickly shifted to brainstorming ideas for how to improve Drupal’s community governance. As mediator, it is my role to help people articulate their needs, and to support the community in devising strategies to better get those needs met. Please read the meeting summaries if you would like to get a sense of what was discussed.

There are currently seven online sessions scheduled over the next two weeks at a variety of times for the global community to participate in these facilitated discussions, and more will be scheduled if needed. If you want your voice heard, I strongly encourage you to join us. If you have questions or concerns about the sessions, you’re welcome to contact me directly at whitney@whitneyhess.com.

Once these sessions are completed, we will be conducting a short survey and other types of feedback forms to have the widest possible reach. We want to ensure that people have a variety of ways to constructively contribute to making Drupal the best it can be. We expect to launch these in late-May.

At the conclusion of the Discovery phase, we will move into Planning. We are at the earliest stages of conceiving a Governance Summit over 1-2 days in June to take all of the learnings from Discovery, and craft a strategy for specifically how to change Drupal’s community management and governance. As of today, we do not yet have dates, location, or participant information. We are waiting to see what comes out of Discovery before we devise any framework for how this can be achieved effectively and equitably. Again, the Drupal Association’s role here is to be a support, and to create space for the community to decide how it wants its governance to change.

I have very clearly heard a need for greater transparency into this process and how decisions are being made. I take that responsibility seriously, and will continue to share our progress along the way. Next up, please look out for a summary of our Discovery findings, to be shared in late-May/early-June.

With gratitude,

Whitney

Comments

jdegoes’s picture

If those who critique Drupal's existing structures of governance loudly — such as myself — are not invited to participate in the Governance Summit, then I for one will be extremely skeptical the attempt at reform is genuine. I hope you welcome both those who call for modest incremental improvements, and those who call for radical disruption, so that both may be well-represented in the planning phases of this project.

rachel_norfolk’s picture

you have been invited, we all have. Not quite sure what the problem is?

edit - ah, sorry, you mean something *after* the current meetings? Well, we shall have to see...

jdegoes’s picture

I'm definitely going to the online meetings (I couldn't make DC Baltimore), but I'm concerned that dissenting voices have representation not just in the collection of feedback, but in the organization of feedback around a concrete plan to improve governance going forward. If that meeting happens in "secret" with only voices that are content or that call for minor changes, then it will neither fairly represent the community, nor, in my opinion, be the kind of dramatic change needed to bring accountability, transparency, and representation to Drupal governance.

Jose Reyero’s picture

This is a good first step.

Though there's some assumption here I'd like to challenge, may I?

The governance models that were put in place to support the needs of the community years ago are no longer working as well as they should. 

AFAIK there were no governance models for the community as such and it was working nicely. Maybe it's been the recent try to "put some governance into the community" what has caused all the problems.

So my first question: Who says the Community needs more governance? or any governance at all?

A project like "Drupal Project", yes, it needs governance. The drupal.org site needs governance too. So does the Drupal Association.

But really, the "Drupal community"... who says it needs any governance at all? Or who can define the boundaries of it in the first place?

nod_’s picture

I'll assume good faith.

AFAIK there were no governance models for the community as such and it was working nicely. 

First there has always been a form of governance, either implicit or explicit. I'd be pointless to have a dictator and no governance, no? When it's implicit, governance issues are not visible for most people (the "working nicely" crowd) and those issues make sure people who are different are pushed out somehow. As far as I understand we're currently trying to make all this explicit to, at the very least, make sure people are not pushed out because of neglect.

Second you'll need to be more specific about "it was working nicely", otherwise we'll get lost in pointless arguments. What I read is "it was working nicely for people like me" and that's the whole issue, different people have different needs. 

So my first question: Who says the Community needs more governance? or any governance at all?

I have an issue with the formulation "needs more governance" because we don't all agree. What we do agree on is that we need "better" governance, to prevent a repeat of the past month. "More" or "less" governance is not the point. In any case, there is an easy answer: have a look at the meetings reports, it comes up explicitly several times that governance needs to be better.

But really, the "Drupal community"... who says it needs any governance at all? Or who can define the boundaries of it in the first place?

I've yet to see a community that has a Dictator or some kind and no governance. At the very least, most people involved in the community meetings seems to agree we need better governance. The boundaries will be sorted out through the process outlined in the article to begin with,  and I guess refined later on as we go.

I feel the article is there to make sure people like you are aware sessions are planned and you can and – seeing the type of questions you have – probably should attend to make sure your concerns are heard. 

Jose Reyero’s picture

I'll assume good faith.

Me too, I always do... :-(_

Now excuse if I don't feel like following up. Thanks for your thorough reply, anyway.

proweb365’s picture

 Who says the Community needs more governance? or any governance at all?

yurii-drupal’s picture

so, what's the result of it? just wonder if anybody was attending those sessions.

regards

p.s.

good start is to face the truth and don't count 3mln dead accounts as community population.