Let the games begin

As much as my cohort and friend walkah takes digs at sprints ;-), I myself am a huge fan, caught up in the giddy wave of “getting shit done” while hanging around with a bunch of geeks eating Pringles and ice cream. With the Knight Foundation awarding me money to make it happen in the name of all documentation goodness, I am getting ready to rumble. Earlier this week I talked generally about what that money is for and here I want to get into a little more detail. So what am I doing?

First sprint

To kick things off, we actually already have an organizational sprint happening in Toronto, Ontario next weekend (March 21-22). This “game plan” sprint is going to bring together nine community members (myself – add1sun, webchick, drumm, emmajane, LeeHunter, Cindy McCourt, Todd Nienkerk, JohnNoc and David Strauss), who will lock themselves in a hotel for a weekend and hopefully emerge with some concrete goals for a beautiful Drupal docs future and, more importantly, at least an idea of how to go about accomplishing them. There is a “Long range planning sprint” handbook section up on where the community can help us fill things in and be part of the discussion. As we move through the weekend we will be posting in various places: on the documentation mailing list, in the issue queue or through blog posts. The idea is that after this sprint we will have more overall direction and begin to attack the real pain points that we have in documentation with a concerted effort.

I knew I wanted to get a small group of people together, from varying backgrounds, to take a good hard look at the road ahead. So, I went ahead and planned this sprint, even though I didn’t know if I would have Knight Foundation funding. It is just too important to forward progress. Gathering people does cost money though, and so I have to give a huge shout-out to four companies that backed me up by putting money where their mouths are. Development Seed (who really went above and beyond), Palantir, Lullabot and Acquia offered to cover all costs for this “game plan” sprint in the event that Knight did not award me funds. I couldn’t have moved forward with such speed as I am if they hadn’t gotten my back, so next time you see any of these peeps, please let them know you appreciate that they support the very important, but often neglected, documentation efforts in this community. While I am thanking people, I am also extremely grateful to everyone attending the Toronto sprint because every single person is donating their time and energy. The funding only covers actual expenses (travel, food, lodging), not time.


While Toronto is a limited focus sprint to actually get our collective asses together, I am also planning to attend a number of Drupalcamps to spread the documentation love, and talk to Drupalers about where docs are and where they could be. I’ve already booked my ticket for DrupalCamp Galway and will be grabbing a ticket for DrupalCamp Centroamerica in the next week or so. That covers most of April for me (there are those crazy things like work and family that need to be fit in as well). May is shaping up to be a tour of Scandinavia with DrupalCamp Copenhagen, DrupalCamp Stockholm and maybe some mid-week Drupaling in Helsinki. I plan to try to do at least one DrupalCamp a month, around the world, for the next year. Obviously I won’t be able to make every camp, but if you have a camp coming up this year, the sooner you can nail down dates/venue, the easier it is for me to pencil it in to my schedule.

So what is all of this camp travel about? Well, not only am I going to support local camps, give presentations, and run doc sprints, but the main goal is to spark interest and energy in local groups to carry on doc work in their region. That is, I really, really want folks to continue doc sprinting after I leave. This will become even more important as we begin to move non-English doc efforts forward. Aside from day-to-day doc tasks, I look forward to sitting down and talking about the issues and concerns we have in the Drupal community with documentation worldwide.

Whew, OK, so that is a “brief” rundown and you will be hearing more about what goes on throughout the year. If you want in on this awesome doc action, you can check out the Contribute to documentation section of the Getting Involved handbook to start talking to like-minded souls and getting your hands dirty.