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BADCamp 2014: Linnea's thoughts from the Higher Ed Summit

During BADCamp this year, I participated in the Higher Ed Summit. We learned about how other universities are rolling out Drupal and central web policies through a panel discussion, had a series of lightning talks, a number of birds-of-a-feather discussions, and two featured talks. Here are some of my take-aways.

Accessibility in Drupal and in general

Others in Higher Ed are also working towards increasing the accessibility of their web properties. The UC system has a WCAG 2.0 AA compliance mandate (the same standards we follow here at Stanford), although not all websites currently adhere to those standards. It's a goal they are always working towards.

More than anything, those working on the web need quick lists of the top things they can do to be more accessible, and the top talking points for convincing people that it’s important.

Agile for web projects

People are starting to be more and more familiar with some of the ideas behind Agile, or just the name, but many still view the methodology as a silver bullet that will get their work done for them and help remove conflicting responsibilities. But in the end, someone (manager, scrum master, team) needs to advocate for the team so that they can focus their efforts.

The primary goal of Agile is to have devoted development teams that can get their heads into the work, and then to coordinate each team to work in iterative cycles that help predict the team’s deliverables and capacity over time. It’s not just about making priorities, anyone can prioritize their work, but not have time to do it.

Some web firms are more successful at running concurrent Agile projects by having alternating sets of weeks devoted to different projects. The challenge in higher ed internal web groups is that most employees have multiple job roles that make running Agile (or just getting it all done) challenging.

These are similar themes to some that came up at the Stanford IT Unconference as well. There's always room for improvement!

Our own John Bickar & building Drupal communities

We were fortunate enough to have our very own John Bickar speak about the history of Drupal at Stanford, which was fun to see laid out.

During the Q&A portion, it became clear to me that many institutions are struggling to build a community where users help each other (the old “Come for the code, stay for the community” Drupal slogan). I think there are really a core group of people who keep our drupallers email list, help, and camp alive. And for a number of them, doing that work is a part of their job descriptions. I'd like to acknowledge those central folks with a tip of my hat! Thanks for supporting Drupal at Stanford!