You might have noticed there is a proposal for a structure change for the Joomla! project. We have had a government working group for a couple of years now and today was the day they presented their proposal.
Some background. In 2011 (I was at this time OSM Board Member and events team leader) we met in San Jose for a leadership summit to discuss how we can work better together. In those days the communication between teams was not good some people would say non existing. A meeting helps and my feeling the years after the San Jose Summit was it was getting better and better. Notwithstanding that we said at the summit that we might need a structural change and we started the ball rolling. In the following discussions some kind of business structure seemed to be the right way. To keep the story short, the proposal changed a bit here and there but the main direction was a more business like structure. For a long time I thought this was the right way, but I have changed my mind. And here are the reasons.
We are at a totally different starting point than we were in 2011:
- Communication is better
- We have seen a lot of initiatives to put the project forward, code sprints, pbf events, marketing, documentation, JandBeyond
- Many small groups are working together to make something good and give it back to the community
So the problems we identified in 2011 are not the same as we have today. We have a lot more people directly working in teams, communicating without barriers but we still need to allow people to get more close to the project. Give them a greater feeling of being a part of the project. The number of people directly involved and volunteering has increased on the culture we have, being a non-corporate backed project, without having a single leader. Instead we have a lot of people doing good things. I said years ago at JAB10 “no one can stop you from doing good things“ and today this is more true than ever.
Will a structure with a bunch of people electing each other be better than what we have now? Will this solve the biggest problem in not having people leading with the guts to make decisions and probably getting hurt when it might be not the best decision. Are we empowering people by giving them a title such as Coordinator, Team member or whatever. Plain and simple: No.
We need to create a safe environment for people, they must feel that they can make mistakes and be welcome to learn. The structure is not the problem it is the mindset.
It is good to fail - that means you are trying hard and not being safe - the important thing is to recognise when something fails and take appropriate action.
I know it hurts and the government working group have worked hard to get the document in the state it is now. And I totally understand that it is hard when you are on a road to stop make a side step to check if it is the right road. The hard truth is: the business structure road is the wrong way for Joomla! as a project.
If we are going to change the structure then let us go the Joomla! way and try to implement a concept like “liquid democracy“ - let us be brave.