DrupalCon Dublin 2016

03 October 2016

The Big Blue Door team are just back from DrupalCon Dublin and as a first time conference attendee I thought I’d post a quick summary of some initial thoughts and personal highlights.

Scale

DrupalCon is huge! The level of attendance is pretty astonishing, with people from all over the world coming along for the week long event. As a team we managed to catch up with colleagues and friends from the USA, India, the Ukraine and Poland to name but a few. The thing that really struck me was the diverse talent on show - the full range of developers (frontend specialists, backend etc), SysAdmins, Project Managers, Marketers, Designers, Business Owners and so on. If you wanted to put together a new team of talent then DrupalCon was the place to be - and from our own experience a lot of networking focused on putting together remote teams from across the globe to meet the huge demand for Drupal right now from the business world.

Drupalcon Dublin main hall

Community

It’s always been a fabled thing about Drupal - come from the code and stay for the community - but from my perspective it’s true. The BBD team had a great time at the various workshop sessions, but also really enjoyed becoming a more central part of the community, by attending some of the wider events going on around the conference; specifically drinks on the boat, the pre-note, Trivia night, the sprints and more.

Drupalcon Dublin Big Blue Door Team

Drupal 8 is moving on at pace

In the main keynote from Dries, the creator of Drupal, we were given a snapshot of some of the new items coming in version 8.2 which is being released on the 5th October - and put simply there’s some really interesting features which are going to make all of our lives easier and help give clients an awesome experience of the software. Brand new easy block positioning, slide in system trays allowing menu additions and edits from inplace editing, easy media library interfaces and more are all just around the corner. That’s in addition to significant updates to the workflow process and the API-First and BigPipe initiatives. Keep an eye on the roadmap and strategic initiatives for more details.

We’re in the process of rebuilding this site in D8 so it’s great to see the forthcoming release cycle. Watch this space for our own relaunch :-)

On the topic of D8 across the team we attended a number of sessions throughout the conference - one of which was hosted by Ben Wilding, MD at Cameron and Wilding, who looked at the state of D8 in the marketplace and adoption on client projects. The good news is that plenty of agencies are now delivering active D8 projects and that far more are in the pipeline. Dries also mentioned that he expects uptake to ramp up in Q4, as more and more contrib modules are ported across. If you are still using D6, or even have a D7 site which needs a refresh get in touch for a chat.

Drupalcon Dublin Dries Buytaert keynote

So many lessons learned

There were so many session highlights for me from all the workshops I attended - far too many to detail in fact, but here are a few brief highlights:

  • Drupal stacks up really well against most competitors, and frankly supasses most (I’m too polite to mention names, but you know who they are)...

  • SCRUM and KANBAN can both be great fits for our client needs - focus on picking the right methodology for the right project, rather than being too engrained in one solution

  • Personal growth across the team, from devs to PMs is vital - set achievable yet challenging quarterly targets (a big thanks to Steve Parks from Convivio for a great session on Leading Healthy Teams as part of the Being Human track).

  • Devolve and give responsibility to your team - trust them to deliver a fantastic product

  • Project Management isn’t quite a science - listen and engage with your team on a personal level and find out what makes them tick

  • Be bold about technical debt, even if this means tricky conversations with customers. They’ll thank you for it in the end.

  • Agile across a range of agencies and locations can deliver superb results; BBD was part of the session delivered on managing an agile team of internal and external partners.

Drupalcon Dublin Big Blue Door Team drinks

Conclusion

If you didn’t manage to make the conference this year, why not start early and persuade your boss / business owner to give you the time off next year - Vienna has now been announced as the venue, and should be another great week. As a first timer to the conference I learnt so much and have come back to the day job fully re-enthused and excited to be working as part of a great software project. That in itself, plus all the social enjoyment with the Big Blue Door team has made it a great week. Oh, and the Guinness…

Dublin Penny bridge