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March 31, 2014

Being the Best Drupal Shop on the Planet

Thought by FFW,

Preview of: A Complete Guide to Being the Best Drupal Shop on the Planet  - A session delivered by Kenny Silanskas at NYC Camp 2014

Our Director of Technology, Kenny Silanskas, is a long-time contributor to the Drupal community. (webkenny on drupal.org.) He has chosen to present on an unusual topic at NYC Camp this year. It is of course pertinent to Drupal - but it goes a little beyond - he’s challenging the community and the professional services organizations out there to be the best. Being the best not only talks to being successful companies, but as importantly, it perhaps tackles an even more salient topic that is critical to Drupals growth - the delivery of high-quality sustainable services. 

Happy clients will not only do more work with your company, but as importantly, will potentially contribute to the continued evolution and adoption of Drupal. With over 800 companies claiming to deliver some level of Drupal services world-wide, there’s never a more important time to ensure that the reputation of the technology is protected. With every bad delivery; there’s a bad perception. Kenny - never averse to a challenge - is asking us to raise the bar for ourselves, our customers, and Drupal’s thriving future; he’ll help us grow a little while he’s at it. Here’s a snippet of what you can expect at NYC Camp this year!

Niall: Kenny, why a subject like this - why now? 

Kenny: It’s an exciting time for Drupal. Drupal 8 is becoming a reality and many enterprises are entering the mature stage of Drupal adoption as it truly advances to framework, not just CMS. Business is booming for the industry but never is it more important to grow well. We wanted to peel back the curtains of our company and highlight for all of our partners, competitors, and friends what makes us tick. Enter "A Complete Guide to Being the Best Drupal Shop on the Planet" - A session geared towards raising the bar of Drupal consultancies in the market.

Niall: So what why do we get to stake claim to such a topic, Kenny? Surely this is something many a company does well?

Kenny: [FFW] is privileged to have worked with a multitude of clients who have had varying needs over the years. As we’ve grown we’ve continued to refine our focus and market segmentation. Over the past couple of years we’ve experienced some really exciting growth. Being able to meet the demand, and continue to deliver a high quality product, has been a welcome challenge. We’ve experienced the same fun challenges every growing shop has, or will have to, face while doing so. And this always seems, for us, to come down to the same challenges: a client focused value system, delivering excellence, and hiring exceptional talent. I’d like to take this opportunity - for the sake of the community - our clients - and Drupal - to share some tips. For us, it boiled down to some key areas that we felt were important to master:

  • Our People
  • Lifecycle: From Sales to Production
  • Knowledge Management
  • IT Policy and Procedure
  • Automation
  • Partnership
  • Budget Constraints
  • Growing and Hiring Exceptional Talent
  • A fine focus on a common mission and value system

Niall: Alright, great stuff, Kenny. Sounds great - but isn’t it a bit much for us to be sharing our secret sauce?

Kenny: Not at all. This is the value of open-source. I would encourage other shops and experts to do the same.  Eric Raymond wrote about this in his famous essay, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” - Just as software has transformed, businesses are no longer cathedrals, either. If we all do it right there’s plenty to go around. In my session, I will simply present a set of guidelines. The artistry of each of our businesses is taking those rules and breaking them, bending them, or making them special for your clients.. I’ll talk about what seems to work, what doesn’t, and what we have yet to do. I’m going to be embarrassingly self-disclosing about our success and failure to help guide freelancers and shops alike on their road to being the best. Here’s to helping all boats float, raising the bar for solutions quality, and growing the exciting footprint of world change that Drupal is inspiring.

About Niall Fitzpatrick:

Niall Fitzpatrick is responsible for delivery operations at [FFW]. He heads-up strategy and operations including hiring, culture, partnerships, delivery ops, new product development, and business strategy. You can contact Niall at niall.fitzpatrick@blinkreaction.com or follow him on twitter @mcgoilla.

About Kenny Silanskas:

Kenny Silanskas leads systems, development standards, and IT at Blink Reaction. His focus is building great quality solutions, developing high quality technical expertise within the company, and is a long time contributor to the Drupal project. You can contact Kenny at kenny.silanskas@blinkreaction.com or follow him on twitter @webkenny.