Codegarden 2018 - Umbraco Gold Partner Summit roundup
So for me Codegarden starts on the Tuesday, the day before the main event. (Well actually it started on the Monday afternoon/evening culminating in an in-depth discussion about world crisp/chip domination by Lays, who in turn own Walkers in the UK and a number of sub-brands around the globe, who knew!! Amazing what intersesting chats a late night hotel bar and single malt whiskey can bring to the table!)
Anyway, back to Umbraco. The gold partner summit is a day where the HQ have an opportunity to roundup the last 12 months and garner feedback from a number of Gold Partners. Of course each of which have their own agenda, as we are all basically competitors but generally there are a core group of agencies who have a single goal. Ultimately to make Umbraco as good as it can be for us, our clients and the community as a whole.
Some great ideas were discussed around community involvement, communication from the HQ out to the wider world, HQ/core projects (Forms, Deploy, Headless etc) and direction of the HQ and of course the more than exciting prospect of V8 and the impact that will have over the next 12 - 18 months.
So the Umbraco HQ has doubled in size over the past 12 months, both in terms of revenue and number of employees. I asked the question 'so how big are you going to get?' As it stands the plan is to continue the growth of the company and the project for the foreseeable future at a sensible level. I understand that all revenue goes back into the project to help maintain it as a healthy, viable company.
For the past 2 years Umbraco have been undergoing a change with the corporate side growing significantly. Whilst the word 'corporate' may strike fear into the hearts of developers and other open source advocates, in all honesty it is needed to a certain degree to create a sustainable ecosystem that survives.
As an example, it was disclosed that before the corporate side of the project came on board, something like 90% of the revenue was being spent on developer salaries. Whilst that is good for developers, it's not necessarily good for the project.
Which is why over the past 2 years there has been a huge increase in the sales & support side at the HQ. Before there was no team, now there is a full team working full time on Cloud and other support issues. They have a voice and are a testament to the way a support team shoudl operate. They are quick, responsive and have some really impressive stats in terms of response times and satisfaction levels! They handle ~1000 customer requests per month. 55% get a reply within the first hour.
The new CTO
This year was the first opportunity we’ve had to meet Jacob Midtgaard-Olesen in person. Jacob started at the HQ in January as CTO taking the reins and helping drive the HQ core projects forward and initial impressions are really positive.
He also seems very open to the community and collaboration, so welcome Jacob! Lets see how we can all help drive Umbraco forward and improve and grow it together.
So there have been a number of improvements over the past 12 months both in terms of content and also partner profiles on Umbraco.com. We can now add case studies and categorise ourselves more effectively which is great.
Last year we pointed out the fact that umbraco.com was very 'salesy' and cloud focussed. As soon as you hit the homepage you were forced into a sales funnel with no real mention of the benefits and a feel for the Umbraco community. This has been worked on through the year and now, whilst it is still Cloud focussed, it's not as in your face. Admittedly there is still work to do, but hopefully this will happen over the next few months.
Community Pull Requests
The lifeblood of any open source project are community pull requests. For those non-techy people reading this, a pull request is something that a developer has worked on for the core of Umbraco, maybe a bug fix or a new feature, that they then submit to the core to review. If they approve it, it gets added to the next release of Umbraco or it may be taken by the HQ adapted and improved, and then added. Either way, these are hugely helpful and are what keeps the project healthy and alive.
However, the process of reviewing the huge list of community pull requests has stagnated, mainly due to lack of resource at the HQ. They are still a small team by software development company standards and they only have a certain capacity...until now!
Sebastiaan Jansen has taken on the role of Head of PR (not public relations...Pull Request!) and is now the owner of the process. He will make sure that the community is feeling the love and doesn't feel like the great work they are doing is falling on deaf ears. This in my opinion is a great move, and one that has been long needed.
As a general roundup though, the summit was a great day. A lot was discussed and posed to the HQ. They have some things to think about and respond on, but it seems they are all still moving in the right direction and the feeling was really positive both from the HQ and the attendees.
Looking forward to next year already!