The Drupal Community boasts of having more than a hundred thousand active contributors to this Open Source platform. People around the globe contribute to the codebase and more teaming up together. Businesses nowadays are staying ahead of the competition by encouraging contributions. Everything is about making together and building a better place, if you are not adding value you are already out of the league.
Why should I contribute?
You may be in one of those organizations who agree to disagree with the point above and might ask “Why should I spend my time and resources for something I don’t see value in?” Well, then my friend you should be the first ones to start volunteer contributions with whatever little you can because open source is what it is going to be in future and it will open doors for you, the ones you didn’t even know exists.
It’s difficult to come by a CV of a seasoned developer without the mentions of an open source contribution because they know it matters, it makes a good portfolio of your work which you can showcase to your dream company. What is more, you can also ask your mentor in the community to vouch for you. Imagine going to work for some XYZ company and one of the project manager sends in a recommendation with a big Yes Please! If you are starting your way into the tech world, ask people who matter and have been there, they will tell you networking matters. Get to know the industry inside out and show people that you’ve got what it takes.
And what if you ARE one of those organizations who do not believe in giving back to the community? Well, you might be making money from the software, but in turn you are inflicting scars on yourself. Putting it in simple words “It impacts sales”, you are missing out on valuable and authentic advocacy and will end up beating your own drum. Who does direct marketing when the Drupal community itself shows what you are capable of? Get your bragging rights certified.
Image Courtesy : Dries himself!
What are we doing to build a better place?
Contribution is a good way to learn while doing for newbies and experienced professionals alike and is one of the most valuable things one can do. Recently in a write-up Dries explains about how this actually works, who funds these contributions. Also focuses on credits system and the importance of volunteer contributions. He discussed about the top 30 contributors and recognized them for putting a lot of their time and effort in developing Drupal and its contributed modules.
Among the top 25 is one of our developers from Valuebound, Rakesh. He is one of the most experienced and humble souls working and contributing in the community. Along with contributions he makes sure to document his learning and I must mention, he does that thing real nice. This doesn’t end with him here, among the top 10 we also have another awesome dev guy who has been a thorough and serious active contributors who recently left Valuebound. And I saved the best for the last, Valuebound is one among the top four organizations sponsoring these kinds of contributions and we are proud as a team.
There are two sides to this coin as well, givers and takers and we make sure to be a part of both the sides of the coin and in turn be a part of the larger initiative run by this awesome community.
What to contribute? Tech & Non-Tech
A contribution in a tech community isn’t necessarily tech oriented. Look at Mozilla’s contribute guideline. It is one of the best places to explore what tech contributions can mean from a non-tech contribution. Drupal’s contribution page on their website paints a complete picture on how to go about making a contribution and getting involved.
There are tons of things you can do. All those non-geeky folks around, there is a lot of stuff you can do too! Ranging from Documentation, Translations, Testing to Marketing and even Donations. Yes, everything helps and we kid you not.
To quote Drupal.org “We depend on our diverse community of passionate volunteers to move the project forward by working on not just web development and user support but also many other contributions and interests (such as marketing, organising user groups and camps, speaking at events, maintaining documentation and helping to review issues)”.
Yes we know you could if you would have had the time. Oh wait, there is something you can do too! Yep, in 30 minutes that too, isn’t that great?
How to Contribute?
Drupal had started out as 100% volunteer contributed and now it turns out that 69% of the contributions are sponsored.With more than twenty five thousand websites using Drupal as falling into the top 1 Mil, it is time to rethink what we are giving back to the community for this open source platform which helps us earn our bit from it.
So what if your organization doesn’t have a working plan in place yet? We had chalked out a process flow sometime ago which helped us to get things going with our team, works well with your remote team too.
There is of course a possibility of you working in an organization which doesn’t believe in contributions. In such a case drupal.org has explained in depth what to do and there is a whole section dedicated just for someone like you. That’s the power of this community!
Get to know your teammates well, grab a cup of coffee or handout with a mug of beer. Talk work and non-work banter. Get to know what works and what doesn't. I’m sure that shouldn’t take a long time since you have already been colleagues. For a new employee or colleague it will just be like a regular work norm that is a part of the work and shouldn’t be difficult because it is a part of what’s expected. Find out how can he or she be of help.
Find out what your community needs, which are the most critical projects and the most important issues. Work on them, help out another dev team in need. Most of the issues are detailed, pick out one and start working on it. If you happen to get stuck, read blogs, reach out to your mentor ping other contributors and go over to IRC channels. Ask. Do not stop yourself if you find it difficult at first, people are helpful that is what a community is for. Find it difficult? Start with something easier.
It boosts the morale of an employee to build and work with a collaborative and constructive team. When your employees or colleagues love what they do, you won’t need to see anymore grumpy faces on Monday mornings. Each day will be a celebration and fill the workplace with lots of positivity. And nope this ain’t philosophical, it matters. Those dirty looks you get at times when you tell a no to a raise will stop. They will know what matters and they will work to get shit done, cuz they love what they do, with whom they do, for what they do.
Put it into schedule
It is not always possible that someone volunteers and things fall into place. More than often that will happen, sprints will get rescheduled and it will do more harm than help. Why I know? Cause, been there, done that!
And then we restructured our plan, we evaluated our employee strength and put things into a well documented rock solid plan. But does that mean it won’t ever fail? It might, at least now we know we have put some effort and we know who’s accountable for what. Figure out how much time your employees can devote through the business on a quarterly basis, taking into account your operational needs.
Recognize : Let the world know
Once things have fallen into place and you have successfully made your first plan a success,make it a part of conversation.Let your customers know, especially let the community know. Yes, you have earned the bragging rights! And did I tell you you would get free marketing and that too vouched? Wow! Isn’t it?
Make it a part of respect giving. Set examples. Showcase talents. Mark an email to all other employees. Do it often and do it regularly. What’s worse than not contributing is giving a sudden and permanent halt to whatever you have done. Shows you are irresponsible, period.
What do you get?
You’re well respected, your customers are loyal and your employees are happier because you might not be aware of corporate social responsibility but your consumers sure are.
Are you doing your bit? Help us help you!
Image Courtesy : http://garfieldtech.com/