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Part 5: Good Drupal Leadership: What are the relationships an organization needs to build to succeed with Drupal?

· Drupal,Leadership

Drupal’s entire existence is rooted in the fact that it is a collaboration of organizations and individuals, and that massive collaboration requires communication and relationships. Minimally, if an organization wants a secure website/application, it must connect with the Drupal community to be notified about security releases. Very few enterprise implementations of Drupal can be accomplished by a single, independent group. Websites and their digital experiences are too complex. Organizations frequently separate development from hosting. With decoupled implementations of Drupal, organizations are beginning to unravel the front-end from the backend.

The complexities and challenges of Drupal websites/applications are endless. Having good partners and hiring the right vendors can help strengthen an organization's planning and process. For example, SaaS hosting providers specializing in Drupal can easily be responsible for most of an organization's infrastructure-related tasks.

In my previous posts about good Drupal leadership, I discussed the challenges of planning, implementing, and resourcing. To help establish good Drupal leadership, organizations need to understand the type of relationships involved and what is required to strengthen these relationships.

Relationships types


Anyone not directly involved with Drupal will want to know, "What is Drupal?" An organization with an executive-level summary answering the “what” and “why” to Drupal can ease concerns. If Drupal is being offered as a service to other departments, creating a dedicated internal website with documentation can help define and communicate the Drupal service offerings. Sharing a case study on helps document how an organization is leveraging Drupal. Case studies also acknowledge a teams' hard work and inspire potential hires to work for an organization. 


Implementing an enterprise Drupal implementation can require external partners and service providers. Partners can help architect, build, and maintain a Drupal website. Sometimes, partners can assist with an organization's engagement with the Drupal community, helping sponsor contributions. 


As noted, hosting is a standard service offered around Drupal. SaaS hosting providers can help ensure that a website/application is stable and secure, allowing a team to focus on more specific business goals.Add paragraph text here.


By virtue of using Open Source software, an organization immediately has some relationship with the software and community. If a module's maintainer stops maintaining a module, for whatever reason, this can impact an organization's Drupal website/application. If an organization wants to get the most out of open source, it should become part of the community by getting involved.

Relationship tasks


An organization should try to build an internal Drupal community and team. Mentoring builds a solid team, and better onboarding increases productivity. Ideally, good onboarding leads to creating new mentors. Good leadership always thinks about the continual improvement of their team.


Mentoring is one of the most valuable and unique aspects of the Drupal community, and it is key to its success and its identity. Constantly learning, helping each other, and sharing are values at every level. By encouraging developers to get involved in Drupal, an organization takes advantage of the Drupal community's skills, leadership, and mentorship.


Drupal is one giant collaboration. Good Drupal leadership should encourage all forms of collaboration between team members, departments, partners, and the Drupal community.


It is essential to recognize that Drupal is not simply a product but a collaboration that produces a product. The product, Drupal, is only as good as the collaboration.


There are many ways for organizations and individuals to get involved. The most realistic approach to getting an organization to contribute to Open Source is to ensure that the contribution returns a value. Documenting each contribution and its reasoning can help encourage more contributions within an organization. Periodically, an organization should reevaluate and adjust its contributions.


I've covered many topics in this series of blog posts about good Drupal leadership and realized the most important trait or skill required is building and maintaining healthy relationships within and outside the organization. Sometimes these relationships translate into playing politics or simply caring about other people.

There are some miscellaneous tasks for good Drupal leadership, which I will save for my final post.

Image provided by Wikimedia commons and taken by Doug Coldwell

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