Joomla Forum for the Future Official Recap
On January 17-19 2020, many top community members were invited to attend the Forum for the Future. This was a forum rather than an unconference, four streams were suggested, but also other pressing matters were presented and discussed. The purpose of the event was to facilitate communication between teams, involve people from outside the community to share their knowledge, experience and allow us to see beyond our "world" while working together on the 4 most important topics of our volunteer organization.
Initially the attendees were separated into streams/categories, each tasked with brainstorming to define areas of concern and provide actionable improvements for the project. These streams were Market, Technology, Professionalising, Re-Engagement.
Important: these are only discussion points, not fully made decisions on the direction of the Joomla project.
Goal: Identify and address
Summary: One of the main accomplishments was the reformation of the marketing team. A brief SWOT analysis was performed, to be combined with the 2014 analysis. Basic target markets were also identified and prioritized. Discussions were conducted on reaching those markets. The full meeting notes can be found here, and a summary from Sunday's final discussions can be found here.
Goal: Structuring short-term, medium-term and long-term goals
Summary: In the short term it is important that Joomla 4 will be completed. So summarizing the Joomla 4 blockers and the obligation to work on them was essential. Long-term and medium-term tasks were discussed and will further be discussed in a structured form, possibly with a final vote. Everyone saw it as important that not only developers, but everyone involved (web hosts, integrators, users, marketing ...) will be part in planning new functions.
Goal: To investigate the options of professionalizing some aspects of the project.
Summary: The Professionalism team tackled a number of topics. In summary the overall conclusion was that we needed to do more in order to present a far more professional view to the world at large, especially considering that we occupy a significant position in terms of market share of the internet. We recognised that first and foremost, Joomla is a business which comprises a software package and a community, it is important to understand and accept both. In terms of delivering class beating software we must do more to present a more professional front, we need a detailed product roadmap which is based on our view of the market and who our customers are, not just based on what our developers happen to be passionate about. We recognised that to be more effective we would need to hire (and therefore pay) for staff, initially in the areas of project and programme management. These might be full time staff, they might be contractors, but managing tasks across the organisation against detailed specifications and deadlines were key to building our professional image. We also considered and accepted that there may be areas of the roadmap where it would be necessary to pay for development because no volunteers were available for a particular feature, this would then lead to a bid management process which we also outlined. To that end we then drilled into these individual areas and are continuing discussions to map out what is required, so that this might be presented to the OSM board.
Stream: Re-Engage & Re-Ignite
Goal: Create new ways to encourage engagement in the community to help sustain the Joomla ecosystem
Summary: Joomla is a community and a software - one cannot exist without the other. The Re-Engage & Re-Ignite team brainstormed a number of topics centered around increasing people’s awareness of Joomla and encouraging them to get involved. This starts by making better use of the call to action links on the joomla.org homepage - ‘Meet Joomla’ and ‘Find Help’. It continues by encouraging people to get involved by attending a Virtual User Group, or by sitting a Content Creator Exam. Both provide advantages to businesses that use Joomla, as well as the Joomla ecosystem itself. The ecosystem can be further nurtured by defining and expanding Educational Outreach initiatives. Joomla powers people, and people power Joomla - the balance needs to be restored.
Throughout the event, the overall sense of community was strong. Frequently the leads from each stream would present the results of current discussions to all attendees, which resulted in questions and comments from the group as a whole.