It really doesn’t seem like it was only two weeks ago that I walked through the doors of the cleverly named ‘White Building’ in Reading (yes, you guessed it, it’s white!) to start my first day working for Acquia as Mautic Community Manager!
I knew that this was going to be very much a ‘hit the ground running’ kind of job .. it couldn’t be anything else given the challenges facing the community and the exciting opportunity that comes with Acquia’s commitment to support the growth of the Open Source project after it acquired Mautic Inc. three months ago. I wasn’t quite expecting to hit the ground at a sprint though ;)
Here’s a quick review of my first two weeks at Acquia, and some insights into what’s on the horizon over the next few months.
Like any new job, the first few days are almost always consumed with getting on-boarded within the organisation.
The basic stuff like being issued a laptop (my first ever Mac, which has had its own challenges being a Linux user exclusively for the past 8 years or so!), set up on all the different systems that are used within the organisation, going through the HR on-boarding and learning about all the great benefits Acquia offers its employees. There are a few mandatory training units that I had to complete in the first week, plus a 100 day training plan exploring all the Acquia products and services which I’ll be chipping away at over the next month or two!
Next, the IT onboarding and running through all the do’s and don’t, security policies and so forth. I was glad to see Acquia issuing all staff with a Yubikey which I’ve been using for years and mandating two-factor authentication on all resources.
Then, learning more about the organisation as a whole, its structure, and where my role fits. In an organisation of over 900 staff, it can be a bit challenging figuring out who does what!
I learned a lot - someone gave a great example of it being like drinking from a firehose, and it certainly felt like that at times!
It was also great to have the day in the office in Reading - I will be working remotely so it’s helpful to meet people face to face and put a real face - rather than just an avatar - to a name!
Getting stuff done
The rest of the week focused specifically on Mautic and the Mautic community - we were approaching 90 days post-acquisition, when Acquia had committed to making an announcement to the community - quite something to be writing four days into your new job! I worked with the team at Acquia to prepare the release and to get going with some of the priorities we knew needed to be addressed, such as figuring out what needed doing to fix the community forums.
As many of you will know, I’m very much a ‘get stuff done’ person, so that has been my focus. Getting stuff done to fix some of the fundamental things that are blocking progress in the Mautic Community.
The first of these was getting the community forums back up and running - they had been offline for a long time. Grappling with local installs of Discourse, setting up my MAMP stack (thanks to John Linhart for the super useful tutorial he shared!), migrations of users and posts, setting up single sign-on authentication were all part of my second week.
It was fun, if something of a technical wrangle, to get everything working as it should. Releasing the forums at the end of my second week felt like a great achievement and it was fantastic to see the community starting to engage and use the forums again!
What my work will involve
I’ve had a lot of questions about what my job actually involves, and how the relationship between Acquia and the Mautic Community will function.
I see my role as being a two-way bridge between Acquia and the Mautic Community. In acquiring Mautic Inc., Acquia also acquired the brand assets which were previously owned by Mautic Inc.
The Mautic community is still relatively young, but I believe it has huge potential to grow and thrive. It needs to establish structures, governance, and to empower people to contribute to, rather than just use, the Open Source software. These structures need to give sufficient confidence that the Community is ready to take stewardship of the assets relating to the Open Source project from Acquia, and manage them effectively - a process that I hope my role helps to facilitate over time.
I figured the easiest way to explain this would be to share my objectives through to the end of the year, which form part of the OKR system at Acquia. These are as follows:
- Enable the Mautic community and remove current roadblocks to collaboration/contribution
- Support the Mautic community with implementing clear governance structures and policies
- Launch a new Drupal-based website in collaboration with the community for mautic.org
- Establish metrics to measure community health
- Establish sustainable practices for moderation of community channels
- Increase my technical knowledge to better enable supporting the Mautic community
- Organise an in-person event for the Mautic community
You’ll notice that there aren’t any points around the technical roadmap or development - currently those remain with DB, although of course we will be working very closely together and as part of #6 above, I hope to gain a greater understanding in this area!
One of the key things I have committed to doing on a regular basis (as part of #6) is to test five PR’s per week and to contribute to 5 updates on the documentation each week. I’d invite you all to consider adopting this in whatever systems you use for your own accountability, as this small commitment would make a huge difference if lots of us undertook it!
I’ve set up a community-facing Trello board where you can see the projects I am working on and get involved with the tasks that need attention.
Over the coming weeks I’ll be helping set up various projects and working with the community on a range of areas, from governance to communications tools to encouraging more contributors to test pull requests!
Generally, my office hours (UK timezone) look something like:
Monday & Friday - 9am-6.30pm
Tuesday & Thursday - 11am-8.30pm
Wednesday - 9am-12.30pm
Note: you might see me here and there outside these hours, if so please assume that’s me contributing, as a contributor, in my spare time :)
I’ll be in the Reading office for a week or so in early September, and then I’ll be away for two weeks mid-September on annual leave.
I’m probably heading out to Boston for a week w/c 30th September to do some work with DB, Dries and Angie Byron (Community Manager for Drupal).
I’ll likely be headed to Amsterdam at the end of October for DrupalCon where we are hoping to hold our first Mautic community event.
I hope to keep the community involved with what I’m doing and plan to give regular updates through my personal blog on what I’m up to, so you get a bit of an insight into what’s happening (my blog might actually get more than one post per quarter finally!).
That’s it for now, exciting times ahead! Feel free to ping me with any questions on the forums or Slack, or leave a comment below.