The Joomla! Super Sprint in London England
There's a reason they call it a Super Sprint!
On January 20, 2017 a small but very talented group of Joomlers descended on London England for a Joomla! Super Sprint. This was one of the best Joomla events that I have participated in.
There were some questions ahead of the event about the value for the money that was being spent for it. I can say with absolute confidence that it was tremendous value for the money. I also think some of the elements of the Super Sprint should be in all Joomla events.
All Joomla events should have some of the elements that this event had
I've been to a lot of Joomla events, JoomlaDay's, World Conferences, JABs and JUGs. Many of them were excellent. The London Super Sprint had something extra for me in it.
So what was that element? It was the interaction between the different teams that I have never experienced at an event before. This may have happened at events I haven't attended, but this was the first time I remember mixing it up with members of the Production Leadership Team (PLT), the Marketing Team (MWG) of which I was a part of, the User Experience Working Group (JUX), the Webmasters Team, the Joomla! Optimisation Team (JOT) and the Joomla.org Redesign Team. Everyone got to see and have input into what the other groups were working on.
Also spread among those teams were individuals that are also part of other official Joomla teams that were not there specifically for the sprint. For example, I am currently an Open Source Matters (OSM) board member as well as a Capital Team member so there were opportunities for people at the sprint to talk about issues relating to OSM and Capital. This was great because everyone benefits by being able to ask questions and get information about things that are on their mind that relate to those positions.
Meeting people in person for the first time makes for terrific relationship building
in an open source project like Joomla you know a lot of people from around the world. Most of the interaction is virtual. Sometimes communicating this way can cause unintentional misunderstandings. Personal interaction is far better. When you are face to face the things that you have in common are foremost. Disagreements on issues are usually handled in a more conciliatory fashion, often in a pleasant social environment. It's a lot easier to agree to disagree this way. There wasn't much disagreement at this event though. There was plenty of unity and willingness to work together. The respect for one another's professionalism was very evident.
There were a number of people there that I have seen at other events and it was wonderful to see them again. I also met some people for the very first time such as this new contributor to the project, Lili Espinosa. Lili is a very talented graphic designer who worked long hours during the sprint contributing her skills creating imagery for Joomla website properties. Another person I hadn't met in person before is the very talented Ufuk Avcu. Ufuk sat beside me in the Marketing Team conference room and I got to know him a little. While we were all busy doing the things we went to London specifically to do, he quickly showed me a few things I could improve on one of my own websites which was a big bonus for me. Ufuk also showed me code examples from a framework that he uses which I am now learning and looking forward to working with on a future website. Thank you Ufuk! Sandra Thevenet was also there. I see her contributing all the time via the virtual channels. She's really talented and it's great to be around these kinds of people. They help lift your own game higher. I think some of this is magic.
The social events were great too, Joomlers know how to have fun
One thing I know for sure is that Joomlers work hard and they also know how to have a great time when they get together. I haven't had a good laugh in a long time like I did while sharing a drink and a story with Mark Smeed from the Joomla! Extensions Directory (JED) Team one night. Everyone at the table we were sitting at all turned to see what was so funny. it was refreshing and I needed that. Oh and the humour, both dry and not so dry, that came from the guys and ladies who get together in the 'smoking lounges' here and there. I'm no smoker but I went out of my way to hang out a bit with them. It was cold in the smoking lounges in London in January but the fun and jokes are well worth it.
The bottom line
Lots of stuff got done at this sprint. I went there purposefully to work with the Marketing Team and specifically to move the ad server project forward. The Joomla ad server is a project whereby we will be able to manage all the advertising for Joomla website properties from one location. We will also sell advertising packages directly to sponsors. We've wanted to do this for a long time but sometimes things in the Joomla community happen on Joomlatime. That's volunteer time. Things got done over this weekend which might have taken many more months to accomplish and it was mainly due to working together in person. The way things came about wasn't specifically what was preplanned, it actually worked out better because of the dynamics of people interacting with one another and a sense of urgency to accomplish things because of the short amount time that we had to be together. I firmly believe the value of this sprint was well above the money spent. All kinds of progress was made from each of the teams there. This is like a shot of adrenalin for the project. I hope we do many more of these Super Sprints.
Lot's of people contributed to my being able to be at this event but I would like to give a special thank you to Rowan Hoskyns Abrahall who put her heart and soul into making this event happen. Thank you Rowan, I appreciated all the work you put into this. You made me feel special in London, I know I wasn't the only one who felt this way.