Champions anyone?

As was mentioned in Chris’s post the end result of two days of brainstorming, synthesizing and story telling was the assignment of “champions” or “proxies” for getting our whittled down list of initial priorities “out of the gate”. Rather than an amorphous blob of “sure we’ll get to this…uhhh.. someday” we sat in our circle (and yeah.. we twinkled.. californian’s do twinkle) and started the most important hour of the entire weekend.

There is no way in h-e-double-toothpicks (my 10 yo might run across this on the web.. can’t be too careful) we could have addressed all the topics that came up during brainstorming, synthesizing (sticky dots.. basically a visible way to put +1 on each topic) and story telling. This was not a decision making exercise.. this weekend.. it was an “ok, look, we have a lot of issues out there.. let’s figure out our audience, pin down their needs and get started on the ones we can address in the near future.” At least that was my impression. No way we can possibly represent the entire community but there was an even amount of “consultants/integrators to developers” and one of the turning points.. “at least for me” was when Alec Mitchell pulled me into his work group today to discuss possible TTW content type creation and seemed sincere in wanting to disseminate what would be a dream situation for the integrator.

On Saturday, I had been invited to participate in an Integrator’s panel with the likes of SteveM (moderator), Matt Bowen, Jesse Snyder and David Glick (OneNW).

I was the veteran having started using Plone in 2001.. pre-1.0 actually.. we had used Silva previous to experimenting with Plone.

Although a veteran I managed to avoid learning how to program but I have implemented many Plone sites.  The learning curve for a non-programmer/designer/integrator was steep to begin with and then with the current changes (after I’d gone and learned how to create file system theme products) created a whole new set of things for me to learn.
I was a little miffed.. honestly.. and frankly being told.. just use paster..just use buildout only made me feel like I was on the outside looking in.. after all the years committed to learning best practices and I was finally doing it right (and then it changed? ouch)!

And so I sat there in front of everyone and I felt.. relief.. ok so now you guys know and you are listening. The best part? I’m not alone.. this is not me standing on a pulpit all by my lonesome, crying over the fact that I have to do a little work… there was a strong “theme” (sorry) amongst integrators/consultants that creating a Plone look & feel is hard.
Take a look at http://plone.org/products and you’ll note the lack of themes.

The ability to say, “hey we really love Plone, but let me tell you about our experience.. ” well it was powerful.. to say the least.

My overall “attitude” has changed since day 1 of this event. I walked away today with the following:

1. I committed to Champion(ing) the Integrator Story. Acting as a liaison of sorts, reporting back to integrators and getting a feel for the pain points (not just mine). What this means is I’ll be focusing on bringing in more Integrators like myself to participate in testing of pre-releases and provide feedback.  It tends to be the same people testing bugs and reporting back.. we need “real world” integrators to test with client sites (especially migration) and let the dev team know what breaks.. and what works really well.

2. I’ve committed to learning Plone 3 theming and quit whining (partly because of the 14 yo rock star that showed up on our last day and proved that maybe.. the fear of the unknown has rendered me frozen in 2.5 theming purgatory..although I do like the 2.5 way to theme at the moment) Granted I have to “unlearn” some things that I’ve gotten used to but I can live with that.

3. I’ve committed to start creating 2 minute screencasts for TTW customization..(thank you Nate Aune for your commitment to “teaching” us how to create screencasts)
I think my first one will be how to change the Plone logo TTW

4. I’ve committed to learning more about deliverance (it’s still got some way to go but it shows tremendous promise)

5. I’ve committed to learning how to play darts (killer) better so next time I’ll beat Mr Baekholdt (I almost won!)

Plone Strategic Planning Summit 2008 was a fantastic success and I’m looking forward to PSPS 2009!