Figure out how to identify and nurture our strengths
This is an excerpt from an email I sent the partner list in mid 2017
My concern of late has been that we are very focussed on our weaknesses, real or perceived, but not on nurturing, protecting and building on our strengths. There actually have been a lot of good things happening at the coal face and I worry that if we don't identify and focus on those successes, the people involved in them will leave us or reduce their effort and engagement.
What I see as our strengths -
We have a really strong group of people involved on a daily basis with code & code review and from a technical point of view I think the code quality is probably the best it has ever been. Unit tests have increased by 25% since 4.6 and the number of people writing them by 50%. The quality of code review has been going up and our release processes have been improving. We've had lower turnover of the people doing most of the work and it has been showing. People like Jitendra, Monish & Seamus are doing probably dozens of hours of work each week between them for the community that we are not paying for (over & above client-oriented work). Also notable input from people like Matt Wire, Compucore staff (many), Dave Jenkins, Chris B, John Kingsnorth, Allan Shaw and a bunch of others. And of course Tim & Coleman are consistently improving the code base. The trend with technical debt in core has reversed and it is coming out faster than it is going in. We have dealt with a number of difficult proposals for improvements in core and have managed to come up with better ways to implement them.
Andrew's release notes are fantastic. The extensions team seems to be collaborating well & Sean Madsen is doing a phenomenal job on documentation. Mark H continues to drive civicrm_entity & while I don't use it anymore I know a lot of people do & it's a big effort. The Word press guys seem to also be really reactive and productive.
Not every call everyone has made is right. We have made mistakes. We have made absolutely no progress on getting people to share the load of release testing, there is a very small group of people doing review & merging and they have been under a huge amount of pressure. All that combined with the fact that we have probably never had a security release with no regressions has made for a tricky month.
If you asked me to compare our technical collaboration with 2 years ago I would say it is out-of-sight better. The experience I have when I work with other technical collaborators on actually working with code is really positive. However, I have never felt more beaten up and miserable about being part of the CiviCRM community than I have this year.
I never spelt out what the last sentence alluded to, but a series of things were said and done within the partner community in early to mid 2017 that shattered my trust, and I spent several months questioning whether I wanted to remain involved in CiviCRM.
In the end I did take some steps to protect myself but didn't leave the community. I am currently working with others on product maintenance and am provisionally prepared to continue to do so after the governance sprint. However, I think all our conversations start from a 'we should do this' & we focus far too little on identifying and protecting our strengths, at great risk.