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Part 4: Good Drupal Leadership: What resources does an organization need to build a Drupal team?

· Drupal,Leadership

People and teams build great software. It’s hard to find skilled Drupal developers, and it’s equally challenging to train Drupal developers. Drupal's documentation is not great. Meanwhile, one can gather an immense amount of information when attending a DrupalCon, DrupalCamp, or local meetup. There are myriad ways to learn Drupal. It is important to recognize that everyone has different ways to learn. Good Drupal leadership means providing teams with the tools and resources they need to learn Drupal.

Resourcing challenges

Learning

Drupal has a steep learning curve. It takes a few years to become a Drupal expert. Luckily, the Drupal community is passionate about mentoring and encouraging new contributors. Drupal beginners can easily find themselves in discussions with Drupal experts. Good Drupal leadership understands that learning will be an ongoing expectation.

Competing

Finding good Drupal talent is not easy. Agencies try to snatch up all the good Drupal developers to help grow their expertise and business. Organizations implementing Drupal can struggle to find and pay talented Drupal developers. The single best way for an organization to hire the best Drupal talents is to have a presence in the Drupal community. From sharing a case study on Drupal.org, to joining the Drupal Association, to sponsoring events, and contributing code, each of these steps helps build your organization's presence in the community.

Growing

Drupal is twenty years old, and it is not a shiny new thing. Drupal’s age can make it hard to attract Drupal talent. At the same time, Drupal has an advantage in that the "Drop is always moving." To attract talent, organizations might want to keep up with the latest and most significant trends. For example, building decoupled implementations of Drupal makes it possible for teams to spread their wings and use the latest front-end technologies.

Resourcing tasks

Hire

There is not much unique about the process of hiring Drupal developers. If your organization wants to hire the best Drupal developers, they should consider allowing team members to be remote. If you can't find a talented Drupal developer, it is worth looking for talented developers who can and are willing to learn Drupal.

Another approach (and one that appeals to me personally) is finding what I like to call a master site builder who knows how to build and maintain a Drupal website without ever writing any code. This approach is more about finding people who understand and appreciate Drupal and training them to become developers.

Train

There is no one size fits all approach to train Drupal developers. The good news is there are several ways to train Drupal developers. There is documentation, tutorials, and videos. Professional trainers can help ramp up a team. Acquia offers certifications that can help motivate a team to master a certain level of proficiency with Drupal. Contributing code to the Drupal community can help developers improve their skillset by allowing developers outside your organization to provide feedback and suggestions.

Improve

If an organization wants to grow and keep its talent, they need to provide opportunities for team members to build relationships within an organization and the Drupal community. If you want your team members to improve their knowledge of Drupal, getting involved in the community via attending and presenting at Drupal events is a good way to accomplish that. Having an internal Drupal meetup or lunch-n-learn with short lightning talks can help developers improve their presentation skills.

Summary

This post focuses on recruiting, training, and growing an organization's Drupal talent and practice. An organization's Drupal practice strengths lie in the relationships within the team, as well as in the outside teams that work with Drupal partners and the community. My next blog post will talk about "What are the relationships an organization needs to build to succeed with Drupal?"

For now, please post your tips and suggestions for building an organization's Drupal team.

Image provided by Wikimedia commons and taken by Doug Coldwell.

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