Drupal's Biggest Challenge

Mark Boulton just discovered first hand the single biggest challenge facing the Drupal community today: Fear of change.

Mark: "Hey community, we're going to change everything... starting with this! What do you think?"
Community: "AAAAAH!! NO! You can't do that!"

When a large group of people are given a platform to express their feelings on whether "highly visible feature XYZ" should be changed, you will always find more than enough highly vocal individuals willing to say "no", and give you a litany of different reasons why what you're doing is absolutely wrong, a bad move, dangerous, or worse.

This is, of course, entirely natural. We're all humans. Given a choice between sweeping changes and good old predictability, most of us will choose the second. We'll propose alternatives, point out flaws, or flat out disagree until we're all so tired of the issue that no one is willing to discuss it anymore.

And we'll often do this with the best of intentions. One only needs to browse through the issue queues on Drupal.org to see this problem in effect.

For an organization trying to stay progressive, resistance to change can be fatal. A constant barrage of disapproval is enough to demotivate and demoralize anyone trying to bring about positive improvements.

The only way to overcome a constant stream of "no" is to give authority to people willing to stick their neck out and say "yes". How you select and hold accountable those authorities is a story for another time.

Update: Mark has posted his own thoughts on the issue, it's a pretty interesting read.

Posted by John on 2008-09-16
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