It was during one of our introduction to Drupal workshops at one of the councils we support that we came across one of the biggest issues faced by web teams in medium to large organisations.
One of the elements of our introduction to Drupal workshop is looking at how to start planning the build of your Drupal website. Which is essentially the same as with any other website. But Drupal has certain peculiarities that need to be taken into consideration when deciding on which theme and modules to use. This in itself is a process that needs to be carried out with care and consideration.
This is what happened and probably a lot of people who are part of a corporate communications/webteam will recognize.
We had looked at the theme that was to be used, installed it and decided on the modules and started to build the website and we were about to put it live. It is at this point that the director of communications walks in and says; excellent job, looks great.
Can I have a video in the middle of the front page please?.......
This is where I could see the tension in the webteams faces. Do I say no? Do I say, you cannot have that. Which is what should be said but it is the director of communications who is standing in front of you.
This is the result of what happens when Open Source technology gets introduced into an organisation without addressing the cultural differences that are required in order to adopt Open Source technology. Open Source means you are able to take ownership of your technology but with this ownership comes responsibility.
It is a little bit like building a house, at the architectural stage it is still relatively easy to make changes but if the build has started, the roof finished and a request comes in to move the chimney 10 feet to the left, you are going to have a problem. Of course with enough money the chimney can be moved.
It is for this reason that a Drupal stakeholder engagement workshop to the wider organisation can proof to be a valuable investment in the long term, as it helps increase awareness at board level of the processes involved when working with Open Source.
(if you are a corporate webteam member and have been effected by the issues mentionened in this blog post. Feel free to call us in confidence on: +44 (0)1865 741 762 and we will help you learn how to stay calm and say no to your line manager)