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Big Changes in Alfresco's Community Strategy

Since closing our latest round of funding in August 2014, Alfresco has increased our pace of growth. At the same time, our community of customers, partners, employees, open source contributors, and developers have also been more enthusiastic and engaged. During Alfresco Summit 2014, I mentioned that we were working to restructure our community strategy so that we can better meet your needs as we scale the business. Last month, as I moved my focus to training my new team members and transitioning to my new role, I posted an update promising more details to come. This post contains those details. I describe the specific changes we have been making, and I will hopefully show how these changes address deficiencies in the way we had previously structured Alfresco's community relations.

First, instead of having a single community team managing our relationships across our ecosystem, our entire business is better aware of the importance of your contributions and focused on how we can support your participation in the Alfresco community.

Second, leaders of our open source community have started an independent organization to promote and support Alfresco Community Edition. This group is known as Order of the Bee, and is a partner that we can work with to keep our open source and developer communities vibrant.

Third, we have defined new roles inside of the various departments of Alfresco that will be focused on helping the members of our community. It is with great pleasure that I am able to summarize these roles.

  • Ole Hejlskov joined Alfresco as a Developer Evangelist. Ole is excited to be able to help new developers learn about Alfresco and get started using the platform. As a consultant, Ole had years of experience deploying both Alfresco Community Edition and Enterprise Edition. He has been recognized for his contributions to the community with valuable tutorials and the new Alfresco SDK. You might have also benefited from Ole's help on the IRC channel or in the Alfresco forums.
  • Martin Bergljung joined Alfresco as our Architect of the Developer Ecosystem. In this role, he will address pain points in the developer experience, assist in formalizing best practices around Alfresco development, and work on improving the way knowledge is communicated to our developer community. Martin spent many years as an Alfresco trainer and consultant at Ixxus, a Platinum Alfresco Partner, where he completed certification as both an Alfresco Administrator and Alfresco Engineer. Many of you will have already benefited from Martin's books about Alfresco, his blog posts, and his presentations at Alfresco events.
  • Gabriele Columbro has transitioned to the Product Management team to care for our developer platform. He will be able to support Martin and Ole by researching the needs of our developer community, planning how we address deficiencies in our platform and tools, and prioritizing our efforts. Gab has long been an energetic community contributor. While managing the Expert Support Team, Gab used his evenings and weekends to help build a Maven repository for use by external developers and modernizing our SDK. Gab understands what our developers need, and he is an enthusiastic advocate for improving the developer experience with our platform.
  • Helen Trim is joining Alfresco as our Director of Digital Strategy. She will be looking at ways to integrate, improve, and better maintain our community properties like the forums, wiki, add-ons directory, and blogs. In her previous role at FreshMinds and Sift, Helen helped her clients and employers to grow their communities in a variety of industries, including other open source communities. She has been identifying the pain points with our collaboration platforms, and will work on a strategy to improve them. We have appreciated how patient you have been with the deficiencies in our current tools and we know that many of you are anxious to see changes.
  • You might also have noticed that we have a new moderator active in our community. William Harper took over the responsibilities of community moderation after Alex Evans completed his university studies and accepted a position as a business analyst.
  • Finally, Alfresco is also hiring a Community Marketer who will work to improve our level of social engagement. If you know someone who would be good in this role, please encourage that person to apply.

Over the past eighteen months, Alfresco has also hired people focused on customer marketing, partner marketing, and events.

As a result of these changes, I have transitioned from my previous role as Head of Community Relations to be focused as the Product Manager of Alfresco Community Edition. In my new role, I will help Alfresco to be more deliberate in how we develop Community Edition as a product and better define how it relates to Alfresco One Enterprise Edition.

Hiring and training these new colleagues has been a relief. This organization allows us to scale to match the needs of the growing Alfresco community. And we will continue to recruit new people and resources to this effort. In August 2014, I said that my goal as Head of Community Relations was to work internally to increase Alfresco’s investment in the community, and I am pleasantly surprised at the level of support this effort received from management.

As a new team, we are still figuring out exactly how our various roles will be divided. Specifically, we know that our open source and developer communities overlap, but we think we will get more done by focusing on the needs of these two groups separately. And it will take some time before the laundry list of items I used to handle are cleanly absorbed into other roles. We appreciate your patience with us. Feel free to continue reaching out to me if you need help working with the Alfresco team.

And I hope you continue to participate in all the ways you have in the past. I am impressed with the quality of blog posts, generous forum responses, help in the IRC channel, language packs, and excellent add-ons that are contributed by Alfresco enthusiasts. If you read this far in this blog post, then you are certainly part of that group. As I have stepped into my new role, I am working to remove roadblocks to you contributing back to Alfresco. One great way to get further involved in the Alfresco open source community is to participate in the Global Virtual Hack-a-thon on April 17.

It is an exciting time to be part of the Alfresco Community. We recently celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the founding of Alfresco, and it is amazing to see how far we have come. Yet as we have grown, we keep open innovation and transparency as core values. We know that we need to improve in many ways, but we are excited about the progress we are making. We enjoy working with you and we look forward to partnering with you to deploy simple and smart solutions to business problems around the world.

Richard Esplin
Product Manager, Alfresco Community Edition


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  1. Richard Esplin

    Richard Esplin on #

    I am excited to welcome Craig Ting to the Alfresco team as a Community Marketer. We finally have all the people in place, and we now need to focus on doing good stuff for our open source and developer ecosystem.

    We look forward to working with you.

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