The new year is upon us... and it will prove to be an eventful one for DotNetNuke, beginning with what has become an annual tradition of reorganization. Over the next week we will be begin this process with an internal review of existing roles / responsibilities and commitments. In this process you won't see a lot of new faces just yet... but you will be pleased to see some Project Leads join the ranks of the Core Team, some Core Team members promoted to the role of Trustee, and a number of folks associated with specific areas of responsibility where you might not have known what their responsibilities were prevsiously. You've already seen a few new faces added to the ranks of the Project Leads (and there will be a few more)!
This is not a one time event. Beginning now, we'll be making this "traditional" annual effort an official one. New role assignments will have duration of 1 year, subject to renewal according both to the changing needs of the project and folks desire / ability to continue to fill available roles. Further, throughout the year we will be identifying more specific areas of need in an effort to both share the wealth of opportunity and ease challenges in making community contributions. As the DotNetNuke project has grown, the appetite of our community has grown also (and continues to grow)... which is both a blessing and an extreme challenge for those intrepid souls working hard to appease the needs of the many.
"So why do they do it", you may ask? Why do these folks give of themselves, contribute time, intellectual property, sleepless nights all to put up with even more requests for new features, new releases, new services, etc? There is no compensation for being a member of the Core Team or a Project Lead. There is no specific promise of return on personal investment. In some ways, navigating our own "beauracracy" can be more challenging than trying to do something on your own. However, each of the persons actively serving (both on the team and not) are living testimony to one of our favorite phrases around here... the abundance mentality.
The abundance mentality says that it is not necessary to withold from others in order to have more. In fact, the abundance mentality says that the more we contribute, the greater the opportunities for all become. I've never seen a more defensible, factual portrayal of this phenomenon than DotNetNuke and the ecosystem it continues to foster. It is attested to in every volunteer action of a core team member, every release from a project lead, indeed... every helpful post from a friendly community member. Core Team members and Project Leads participate out of a sense of personal satisfaction that includes the abundance mentality, in addition to whatever personal motivations they may have. Some participate in quest for gain, some are rewarded for the diligence of their quest, and some simply serve without much recognition for reasons known only to themselves. Whether furthering a business interest (many Core Team members and Project Leads have DNN related businesses), achieving a personal goal (in 2003 there were no MS MVP's in our ranks, today there are 16) or simply enjoying having almost a half million eyeballs on the fruit of their personal labor...
So we serve to further the growth of the project, to honor the spirit of the abundance mentality. But in that, we also must recognize that there will be times when our skills, or desires or availability may not fully coincide with the needs of the project. So we will ask some to step down voluntarily in such seasons. Indeed, Core Team membership is not a function of achievement or reward, but a privilege and responsibility offered and accepted in accordance with the needs of the project. And so for the many community members we ask to "contribute" every day who will never be recognized with team membership, the roles of Core Team member and Project Lead will forever more be linked to responsibility. DotNetNuke is and remains a meritocracy, where merit is quantified by structured service and accountability.
We will be instituting a page on the site to recognize past contributors. Indeed there are already a few names that slip quickly from the collective memory... names like Josh Weinstein, who managed huge mountains of open enhancement requests in the institution of some of our original issue tracking; like Bruce Hopkins without whom we would not have achieved ADA 508 compliance; or like Jim Duffy who was probably the very first certifiable "evangelist" we ever had. We would like for them all to be remembered and respected for the contributions they have made. Similarly, we'll also be providing more recognition to folks like Cathal Connolly, who almost single handedly deals with all security related issues; or Vicenç Masanas, without whom there would not be an active Language Packs repository; or Lorraine Young who quietly writes all the Online Help you've ever read on the www.dotnetnuke.com site.
So bear with us. Encourage us. Maybe even join us? And look for a few more blogs from me as we go through this process this week, explaining more about our organization and the roles we fill. Further, look for many more instances of recognition for heroic effort... there are heroes around here to spare.