Drupal Association Board Meeting: May 22, 2013

(Apologies for how long it took me to get this post published. We had few things to deal with right after DrupalCon which made it difficult to hop right on this post.)

We are nearly half way through the year already, so we took the opportunity of our public board meeting at DrupalCon to share our progress on our annual goals, and to finalize our Governance plan. You can review the minutes or check out Stephanie El Hajj's remarkably detailed transcript, but if short and sweet is your goal, then here are some highlights from what we discussed.

DrupalCon Portland was Amazing

Our DrupalCon team put together some summary slides that highlight some of the great news for the Project coming out of DrupalCon. The Cons serve several key parts of our mission, and did so spectacularly this year:

  • Growing the Drupal Project: This was the biggest DrupalCon we've ever had, with 3,300 registrants, many of whom are first time attendees (more real data analysis later). Cons help attract folks who are newer to the Project and integrate them into the community. One measure of this success is that we sold out 11 of 15 trainings with nearly 500 participants this year. While in some ways, a bigger Con means success because we're growing the Project, we know that it won't matter how many people are in the room if they don't know how to connect with one another. This tension is important for us to think about as we design future Cons.
  • Accelerate the Project: The many official and unofficial sprints that happen around the Cons create some remarkable momentum for the Project. This year, we worked closely with Sprint Leads Cathy Theys (yestCT), Jess (xjm), and Andrea Soper (ZenDoodles) to support their work in creating one of the biggest sprint days we've ever had, with a record number of people participating in the issue queue on Friday and a record number of participants in the "Get Involved with Core" sprint - about 350.
  • Generate Revenue for Community Projects: That we did! We're still closing the books on DrupalCon (and will share when they ARE closed), but this Con will definitely make significant contributions to our other programs: supporting the Drupal.org infrastructure, Community Cultivations GrantsDrupalCon Grants & ScholarshipsGlobal Trainings Days, and more. 
  • Promote Drupal: DrupalCon also has a great potential to drive more adoption of Drupal by including more site evaluators and decision makers in the Con, or events around the Con. Portland did not go too far in that direction, but we're working at making that a bigger part of future Cons.

Drupal7 Upgrade Will Happen

In March, we rebooted the D7 upgrade project. This time out, we put together a ratio of metrics that we can use to understand if the project is on track or in danger of falling off-schedule or out of scope. We're comparing the percent of closed issues to budget spent to hours spent.  It looked like this as of May 22:

Our estimates had us launching 5 to 10 weeks after DrupalCon. Although some work has continued in the weeks since DrupalCon, a majority of our team spent a significant amount of time focused on security coming out of Portland, so we're likely looking at 5 to 10 weeks from now as our delivery date. 

The current focus is on getting the QA process up and running and addressing the issues raised here. 

Once we complete the D7 upgrade, the DA tech team will turn its attention to creating new landing pages on D.O to support DA revenue priorities, working with the new Governance Working Groups, and completing some "operational excellence" projects on Drupal.org, including notification systems, case sensitive user names, auto-generating comments for commits, and other items. 

Creating New Revenue Opportunities

As we've talked about in earlier posts, 2013 is the year that DA pivots from being an organization built around supporting DrupalCons, to an organization that can more ably serve the entirety of our mission. In other words - we're looking to bring more resources and provide much better support of Drupal.org and the related hardware and software the Proejct needs. If we're going to do that, we need to open up new revenue opportunities that help us build a fully-staffed tech team to work alongside our Working Groups and community volunteers. 

Megan Sanicki, our Associate Director, updated us on her plans for making that revenue happen by building a broader base of supporters and sponsors that reflects one of the remarkable Drupal benefits - its extensibility. Megan and her colleague Rich are working to build out and recruit Independent Software Vendors into our sponsorship and partner pool. These sponsors, like Alfresco, Janrain, and Authorize.net are a perfect fit for our community and exemplify Dries's WEM vision for Drupal

Governance Approved!

After over a year of working with the community, we were ready to present a Governance Plan to the board for approval. We already managed to write a more detailed post about this process and the results last week.


May is the third month that we've been able to publish and make publicly available a full set of financials. At this board meeting, we reviewed the April financials.  We also put together a draft overview of how to read the financial statements. It's not complete yet, and we'll be adding to it as we receive feedback and questions. I also want to highlight a couple of notes we made verbally in the meeting: 

  • The budget to actual reporting on the income statement is pretty innaccurate right now, so don't be too alarmed when it looks like we're 127% behind on a revenue line item. We just got our budget approved in February (2 weeks after I started!), and needed to get it into the accounting system ASAP. Normally, our expenses and income go in cycles, mostly driven by the Cons. We didn't have time to evaluate those patterns and enter the budget into the system in a way that represents them. To save time, we just spread all income and expenses out evenly across the 12 months. We'll be rectifying that when we get a moment to breath, but we're going to see a high amount of variance until then. That will be fixed starting with the June financials.
  • It's also important to know that you won't find any Con revenue on the income statement until AFTER that Con has happened. Until we open the doors and start serving you coffee, we have to reimburse you, our sponsors, etc. if the Con gets cancelled. For that reason, this revenue is recorded on our balance sheet - and that's where you'll see the Portland DrupalCon revenue, in the liabilites section (because, again, we have to give it back if we don't produce the Con). In the May financials, all this revenue will move to the income statement. So that looks funny too, and we'll work on ways to make that revenue easier to see.

A Sneak Peek at 2014

Though 2013 is barely half over, we're already starting to think about what the DA needs to accomplish in 2014. I shared some thoughts at the board meeting about what we want to do, and what we'll need to do it. Though our planning process is not complete, I think it's safe to say that we'll be pursuing a few key objectives.

  • Building more technical capacity to better serve Drupal.org users
  • Dedicating more resources to support Camps, Training Days, Community Cultivation Grants, and other community programs
  • Supporting the D8 release globally

As you can see, we're going to be busy over here at the DA. What do you think of the direction we're heading in?