Preparing for my First Drupalcon

I’m heading to my first Drupalcon in New Orleans next week. While I’m a very technical project manager who has worked on website implementation projects with content management systems or other integrations, I’ve never worked in or on a Drupal project. This is really my husband’s area of expertise.  Carson has been to several Drupalcons, but still spent quite a bit of time debating between the business and technical track. You can read his blog post on it if you’re interested in his thoughts. I struggled a bit with my own planning so I am hoping a blog post on it would help organize my own thoughts.

I attended Drupal GovCon last year where I participated in mostly the business sessions. I wrote about that experience too. Going into this Drupalcon, I have many of the same goals that I had last summer: learn more about Drupal and make some good contacts in the Drupal community. As I was looking through the different sessions, I did not want to hyper-focus on any one particular track as I have personal & professional interests in business, project management, women in drupal and the learning more about the technical side of Drupal. I’m not sure this aligns to the typical attendee. This made my initial pass through the different sessions a bit frustrating. I walked away thinking that there wasn’t a lot of sessions that interested me and concerned that I would be wasting my time. I was a bit more successful the second time around, and by that time the Birds of Feather “BOF” (adhoc sessions) were available.

Monday was easy! Carson participated in the business summit at last year’s Drupalcon and got a lot out of it. This year I’m participating in it, while he attends the government summit.  This is a great opportunity to learn from other Drupal agencies. Businesses in the Drupal community tend to really open up their books and processes and experiences in a way that other businesses don’t. I attribute that to the core principles of giving back if you participate in the open source community.

On Tuesday, I’m mixing up technical sessions with business ones. After my first Dries keynote, I start off my day with a session on understanding data structures and am definitely going to the session on how to get more involved in the open source community. Beyond that, I’m still bouncing between critical metrics for your business and teaching drupal to kids; case study on leveraging drupal to deliver business results beyond clicks, conversions & revenue and building a remote drupal shop. I’m also going to the BOF for small business owners to share ideas. Then we’ll head over to the Women in Drupal event we’re sponsoring.

Wednesday is focused on the business side of things. I’m hoping the writing great case studies for will allow me to pick up some skills for writing great case studies for anyone. Then I’ll be learning about selling the value of new drupal 8 technical features, and finding my purpose as a drupal agency. There is only one time slot where I have not decided yet. Is it the session on Drupal community as an example of diversity in tech or implementing performance metrics and dashboards for your digital agency or productive collaboration of sales and project management as a means to drive customer satisfaction? Before we head off for more socializing, I’ll participate in the account management to customer success evolution BOF.

Thursday is the last day of sessions. I’m going to learn about successful drupal integrations then focus on growing talent & margins within your organization.

I am excited to participate and think I came up with a good schedule. Lucky for me, I’m not locked into any one of these and can easily bounce between sessions as the floor plan  & timing permits.