Drupal News

DrupalCon News: DrupalCamp Poland on May 28-29 in Wrocław!

Main Drupal Feed - Tue, 05/17/2022 - 10:20

15 interesting lectures, BoF, and many other attractions during the biggest Drupal conference in Poland!

DrupalCon News: Drupal Mountain Camp Summer edition from June 23rd - 26th

Main Drupal Feed - Tue, 05/17/2022 - 10:05

The Swiss Drupal Mountain Camp is back for this summer! Come and join us to share knowledge about Drupal and enjoy the Swiss mountains.

DrupalCon News: Drupal Mountain Camp Summer edition from June 23rd - 26th

Main Drupal Feed - Tue, 05/17/2022 - 10:05

The Swiss Drupal Mountain Camp is back for this summer! Come and join us to share knowledge about Drupal and enjoy the Swiss mountains.

DrupalCon News: Drupal Mountain Camp Summer edition from June 23rd - 26th

Main Drupal Feed - Tue, 05/17/2022 - 10:05

The Swiss Drupal Mountain Camp is back for this summer! Come and join us to share knowledge about Drupal and enjoy the Swiss mountains.

Specbee: Auditing your Drupal Website - A Checklist

Main Drupal Feed - Tue, 05/17/2022 - 04:17
Auditing your Drupal Website - A Checklist Kiran Singh 17 May, 2022

If the dramatic evolution of algorithms, hackers and attention spans has you worried sick about your website’s survival, think audit! Your Drupal website needs regular auditing to make sure your site is still healthy, SEO-friendly, secure and performing well. Moreover, there's always an opportunity to improve and make the website more user-friendly. Routinely evaluating Drupal sites helps monitor their overall health and optimize its performance. If you’re responsible for auditing your Drupal website, make sure you read this handy guide.

Why do you need to audit your Drupal website

A website audit is typically performed quarterly as a regular check-up or before a migration.

  • It is important to audit sites regularly to improve its performance and to prepare for future enhancements
  • If you’re migrating your Drupal 7 (or 6) website to the latest version (Drupal 9), a migration audit is absolutely necessary for a successful migration. Read this article for a handy checklist before you migrate to Drupal 9.
  • It pinpoints any issues with the website, offers competitive insights and guides you to the direction of digital fulfillment
  • Drupal regularly releases updates, security patches and other updates in order to improve the website's security, personalization and performance. Regular auditing helps in staying up-to-date with the latest and best practices
Focus areas

A website audit covers a wide scope of elements which includes performance, SEO,  security, site building and more. Make sure you remember the following before auditing your website.

SEO and Performance
  • Check if the Sitemap and Meta Tag modules are enabled and configured properly. This helps search engines to rapidly identify important pages and files on your Drupal website.
  • Check the Robots.txt file in your project's root directory. This file tells crawlers how you want your website to be scanned or indexed.
  • Ensure that image formats such as WebP and AVIF are used. They offer superior compression than PNG or JPEG, resulting in faster downloads and reduced data usage.
  • Make sure the server's initial response time isn't excessively long. Themes, modules, and server requirements all have an impact on this. To reduce the time the database takes to process queries, use Redis or Memcache on the server for memory caching. Optimize the application logic to prepare pages faster.
Security
  • Always keep your Drupal core up-to-date.
  • To limit the possibility of web application vulnerabilities being exploited, use the Security kit contributed module.
  • Move all important files from the public folder to the private folder and update the permissions on the private folder. This is very important as an attacker can change the file path to access various resources, some of which may contain sensitive information.
  • Use of the Password Policy module. Attackers can easily guess weak passwords and gain access to the system, thus stealing all of the information and destroying or altering valuable data.
Site Building Overview
  • Configuration Management  - Make sure the config sync is properly set (see below).

Synchronize Configuration

  • Uninstall modules that have been installed but are not in use.
  • Make sure there are no errors in the console.
  • Fix all Drupal errors & warnings that appear in status reports (see below).

Status Report

  • Security Updates for all contributed modules should be applied.
  • Gitignore should be set up appropriately and all dependencies should be managed through the composer rather than Git. Make sure Git does not contain directories like vendor, contrib theme, contrib module, or Drupal core.
Best practices and Tools

Follow Drupal’s coding standards and best practices. Coder can help you with this. It is a command-line tool that scans custom modules and themes for compliance with the Drupal coding standard and generates a report. This is a very good measure of code quality.

You can audit your website using Lighthouse Chrome DevTools. It gives you valuable insights of your website’s performance, SEO standing, accessibility, speed and more.

Lighthouse Chrome dev tools

Site audit is a super useful Drupal module that helps generate an analysis report on various areas of your website. It also offers best practices and recommendations based on the analysis.

Site audit module

Leverage the Security Review module when you want a checklist of all security vulnerabilities and issues you should be aware of. It runs a ton of checks on your website before generating a comprehensive security report.

Security Review module

We hope this checklist has helped you keep track of your website’s performance and things that need to be done to improve its overall health and security. If you need expert help in performing a thorough audit on your Drupal website (FOR FREE!), just send us a message and we’ll get back to you soon.

Drupal Development Drupal Planet Subscribe to our Newsletter Now Subscribe Leave this field blank

Leave us a Comment

  Recent Blogs Image Auditing your Drupal Website - A Checklist Image Get started with JMeter for Performance Testing your Website Image Everything you wanted to know about Pair Testing Want to extract the maximum out of Drupal? TALK TO US Featured Success Stories

Upgrading and consolidating multiple web properties to offer a coherent digital experience for Physicians Insurance

Upgrading the web presence of IEEE Information Theory Society, the most trusted voice for advanced technology

Great Southern Homes, one of the fastest growing home builders in the United States, sees greater results with Drupal 9

View all Case Studies

Specbee: Auditing your Drupal Website - A Checklist

Main Drupal Feed - Tue, 05/17/2022 - 04:17
Auditing your Drupal Website - A Checklist Kiran Singh 17 May, 2022

If the dramatic evolution of algorithms, hackers and attention spans has you worried sick about your website’s survival, think audit! Your Drupal website needs regular auditing to make sure your site is still healthy, SEO-friendly, secure and performing well. Moreover, there's always an opportunity to improve and make the website more user-friendly. Routinely evaluating Drupal sites helps monitor their overall health and optimize its performance. If you’re responsible for auditing your Drupal website, make sure you read this handy guide.

Why do you need to audit your Drupal website

A website audit is typically performed quarterly as a regular check-up or before a migration.

  • It is important to audit sites regularly to improve its performance and to prepare for future enhancements
  • If you’re migrating your Drupal 7 (or 6) website to the latest version (Drupal 9), a migration audit is absolutely necessary for a successful migration. Read this article for a handy checklist before you migrate to Drupal 9.
  • It pinpoints any issues with the website, offers competitive insights and guides you to the direction of digital fulfillment
  • Drupal regularly releases updates, security patches and other updates in order to improve the website's security, personalization and performance. Regular auditing helps in staying up-to-date with the latest and best practices
Focus areas

A website audit covers a wide scope of elements which includes performance, SEO,  security, site building and more. Make sure you remember the following before auditing your website.

SEO and Performance
  • Check if the Sitemap and Meta Tag modules are enabled and configured properly. This helps search engines to rapidly identify important pages and files on your Drupal website.
  • Check the Robots.txt file in your project's root directory. This file tells crawlers how you want your website to be scanned or indexed.
  • Ensure that image formats such as WebP and AVIF are used. They offer superior compression than PNG or JPEG, resulting in faster downloads and reduced data usage.
  • Make sure the server's initial response time isn't excessively long. Themes, modules, and server requirements all have an impact on this. To reduce the time the database takes to process queries, use Redis or Memcache on the server for memory caching. Optimize the application logic to prepare pages faster.
Security
  • Always keep your Drupal core up-to-date.
  • To limit the possibility of web application vulnerabilities being exploited, use the Security kit contributed module.
  • Move all important files from the public folder to the private folder and update the permissions on the private folder. This is very important as an attacker can change the file path to access various resources, some of which may contain sensitive information.
  • Use of the Password Policy module. Attackers can easily guess weak passwords and gain access to the system, thus stealing all of the information and destroying or altering valuable data.
Site Building Overview
  • Configuration Management  - Make sure the config sync is properly set (see below).

Synchronize Configuration

  • Uninstall modules that have been installed but are not in use.
  • Make sure there are no errors in the console.
  • Fix all Drupal errors & warnings that appear in status reports (see below).

Status Report

  • Security Updates for all contributed modules should be applied.
  • Gitignore should be set up appropriately and all dependencies should be managed through the composer rather than Git. Make sure Git does not contain directories like vendor, contrib theme, contrib module, or Drupal core.
Best practices and Tools

Follow Drupal’s coding standards and best practices. Coder can help you with this. It is a command-line tool that scans custom modules and themes for compliance with the Drupal coding standard and generates a report. This is a very good measure of code quality.

You can audit your website using Lighthouse Chrome DevTools. It gives you valuable insights of your website’s performance, SEO standing, accessibility, speed and more.

Lighthouse Chrome dev tools

Site audit is a super useful Drupal module that helps generate an analysis report on various areas of your website. It also offers best practices and recommendations based on the analysis.

Site audit module

Leverage the Security Review module when you want a checklist of all security vulnerabilities and issues you should be aware of. It runs a ton of checks on your website before generating a comprehensive security report.

Security Review module

We hope this checklist has helped you keep track of your website’s performance and things that need to be done to improve its overall health and security. If you need expert help in performing a thorough audit on your Drupal website (FOR FREE!), just send us a message and we’ll get back to you soon.

Drupal Development Drupal Planet Subscribe to our Newsletter Now Subscribe Leave this field blank

Leave us a Comment

  Recent Blogs Image Auditing your Drupal Website - A Checklist Image Get started with JMeter for Performance Testing your Website Image Everything you wanted to know about Pair Testing Want to extract the maximum out of Drupal? TALK TO US Featured Success Stories

Upgrading and consolidating multiple web properties to offer a coherent digital experience for Physicians Insurance

Upgrading the web presence of IEEE Information Theory Society, the most trusted voice for advanced technology

Great Southern Homes, one of the fastest growing home builders in the United States, sees greater results with Drupal 9

View all Case Studies

Specbee: Auditing your Drupal Website - A Checklist

Main Drupal Feed - Tue, 05/17/2022 - 04:17
Auditing your Drupal Website - A Checklist Kiran Singh 17 May, 2022

If the dramatic evolution of algorithms, hackers and attention spans has you worried sick about your website’s survival, think audit! Your Drupal website needs regular auditing to make sure your site is still healthy, SEO-friendly, secure and performing well. Moreover, there's always an opportunity to improve and make the website more user-friendly. Routinely evaluating Drupal sites helps monitor their overall health and optimize its performance. If you’re responsible for auditing your Drupal website, make sure you read this handy guide.

Why do you need to audit your Drupal website

A website audit is typically performed quarterly as a regular check-up or before a migration.

  • It is important to audit sites regularly to improve its performance and to prepare for future enhancements
  • If you’re migrating your Drupal 7 (or 6) website to the latest version (Drupal 9), a migration audit is absolutely necessary for a successful migration. Read this article for a handy checklist before you migrate to Drupal 9.
  • It pinpoints any issues with the website, offers competitive insights and guides you to the direction of digital fulfillment
  • Drupal regularly releases updates, security patches and other updates in order to improve the website's security, personalization and performance. Regular auditing helps in staying up-to-date with the latest and best practices
Focus areas

A website audit covers a wide scope of elements which includes performance, SEO,  security, site building and more. Make sure you remember the following before auditing your website.

SEO and Performance
  • Check if the Sitemap and Meta Tag modules are enabled and configured properly. This helps search engines to rapidly identify important pages and files on your Drupal website.
  • Check the Robots.txt file in your project's root directory. This file tells crawlers how you want your website to be scanned or indexed.
  • Ensure that image formats such as WebP and AVIF are used. They offer superior compression than PNG or JPEG, resulting in faster downloads and reduced data usage.
  • Make sure the server's initial response time isn't excessively long. Themes, modules, and server requirements all have an impact on this. To reduce the time the database takes to process queries, use Redis or Memcache on the server for memory caching. Optimize the application logic to prepare pages faster.
Security
  • Always keep your Drupal core up-to-date.
  • To limit the possibility of web application vulnerabilities being exploited, use the Security kit contributed module.
  • Move all important files from the public folder to the private folder and update the permissions on the private folder. This is very important as an attacker can change the file path to access various resources, some of which may contain sensitive information.
  • Use of the Password Policy module. Attackers can easily guess weak passwords and gain access to the system, thus stealing all of the information and destroying or altering valuable data.
Site Building Overview
  • Configuration Management  - Make sure the config sync is properly set (see below).

Synchronize Configuration

  • Uninstall modules that have been installed but are not in use.
  • Make sure there are no errors in the console.
  • Fix all Drupal errors & warnings that appear in status reports (see below).

Status Report

  • Security Updates for all contributed modules should be applied.
  • Gitignore should be set up appropriately and all dependencies should be managed through the composer rather than Git. Make sure Git does not contain directories like vendor, contrib theme, contrib module, or Drupal core.
Best practices and Tools

Follow Drupal’s coding standards and best practices. Coder can help you with this. It is a command-line tool that scans custom modules and themes for compliance with the Drupal coding standard and generates a report. This is a very good measure of code quality.

You can audit your website using Lighthouse Chrome DevTools. It gives you valuable insights of your website’s performance, SEO standing, accessibility, speed and more.

Lighthouse Chrome dev tools

Site audit is a super useful Drupal module that helps generate an analysis report on various areas of your website. It also offers best practices and recommendations based on the analysis.

Site audit module

Leverage the Security Review module when you want a checklist of all security vulnerabilities and issues you should be aware of. It runs a ton of checks on your website before generating a comprehensive security report.

Security Review module

We hope this checklist has helped you keep track of your website’s performance and things that need to be done to improve its overall health and security. If you need expert help in performing a thorough audit on your Drupal website (FOR FREE!), just send us a message and we’ll get back to you soon.

Drupal Development Drupal Planet Subscribe to our Newsletter Now Subscribe Leave this field blank

Leave us a Comment

  Recent Blogs Image Auditing your Drupal Website - A Checklist Image Get started with JMeter for Performance Testing your Website Image Everything you wanted to know about Pair Testing Want to extract the maximum out of Drupal? TALK TO US Featured Success Stories

Upgrading and consolidating multiple web properties to offer a coherent digital experience for Physicians Insurance

Upgrading the web presence of IEEE Information Theory Society, the most trusted voice for advanced technology

Great Southern Homes, one of the fastest growing home builders in the United States, sees greater results with Drupal 9

View all Case Studies

Talking Drupal: Talking Drupal #347 - GitLab CI

Main Drupal Feed - Mon, 05/16/2022 - 18:00

Today we are talking about GitLab CI with Chris Wells.

   

www.talkingDrupal.com/347

Topics
  • CI
  • GitLab CI
  • What is Drupal transitioning from?
  • Benefits of CI
  • Key concepts and terminology
  • Commonly used CI tools
  • Community Benefits
  • GitLab CI with other tools
  • Coolest integration at Redfin
Resources Hosts

Nic Laflin - www.nLighteneddevelopment.com @nicxvan John Picozzi - www.epam.com @johnpicozzi Chris Wells - redfinsolutions.com - @chrisfromredfin

Talking Drupal: Talking Drupal #347 - GitLab CI

Main Drupal Feed - Mon, 05/16/2022 - 18:00

Today we are talking about GitLab CI with Chris Wells.

   

www.talkingDrupal.com/347

Topics
  • CI
  • GitLab CI
  • What is Drupal transitioning from?
  • Benefits of CI
  • Key concepts and terminology
  • Commonly used CI tools
  • Community Benefits
  • GitLab CI with other tools
  • Coolest integration at Redfin
Resources Hosts

Nic Laflin - www.nLighteneddevelopment.com @nicxvan John Picozzi - www.epam.com @johnpicozzi Chris Wells - redfinsolutions.com - @chrisfromredfin

Talking Drupal: Talking Drupal #347 - GitLab CI

Main Drupal Feed - Mon, 05/16/2022 - 18:00

Today we are talking about GitLab CI with Chris Wells.

   

www.talkingDrupal.com/347

Topics
  • CI
  • GitLab CI
  • What is Drupal transitioning from?
  • Benefits of CI
  • Key concepts and terminology
  • Commonly used CI tools
  • Community Benefits
  • GitLab CI with other tools
  • Coolest integration at Redfin
Resources Hosts

Nic Laflin - www.nLighteneddevelopment.com @nicxvan John Picozzi - www.epam.com @johnpicozzi Chris Wells - redfinsolutions.com - @chrisfromredfin

Palantir: I Attended My First DrupalCon

Main Drupal Feed - Mon, 05/16/2022 - 12:00

A day-by-day play on anything and everything I experienced - and, yes, I met a llama

I was really excited to attend DrupalCon for the first time. I’ve been with Palantir.net for about a year, all the while being told about the greatness that is the Drupal community, and I couldn’t wait to experience it myself.

When Omicron burst on the scene in early 2022, we all took some time to reevaluate the risks it presented. But since I was fully vaccinated and knew I’d be boosted by then, I decided to carry on and attend - along with a smaller than usual band of Palantiri who decided the same.

But it felt like the hits kept coming. Next, we were made aware that attendance, understandably, was way down from years prior. Would DrupalCon even be what everyone remembered? Would this famously tight-knit community be another casualty of COVID-19? Deciding to be all in, I was determined to find out.

We prepared and prepared and, before I knew it, I was taking the longest flight I’d taken in over two years. I traveled a lot before COVID, but this four hour flight was my near undoing. Add to that a little sinusitis and by the time I reached the hotel Sunday night, I was spent.
 

Monday

Monday was booth set up day. It went pretty well for Rachel and I, who were both DrupalCon newbies, but once our CEO and Founder George arrived that afternoon we were really in business. A seasoned DrupalCon vet with 24 conferences under his belt, he got us in shape and it was off to the races.

We were immediately approached by many curious and extremely friendly attendees and had some really great conversations. For me, the most notable surprise was that no one felt like a stranger - not even those I had just met for the first time. It was as if we were all old friends checking in on each other. Instead of, “who are you and what do you do?” it felt like “Hey friend, what are you up to these days?”

I immediately felt right at home in this zany crowd and I was excited to see what the rest of the week had in store.
 

Tuesday

Still battling my sinuses but having gotten a full night's rest, I woke up bright and early ready to tackle the day.

My first regret: I was very much looking forward to attending the day’s keynote, “How to combat global systems of oppression in the tech industry,” but I was feeling a bit anxious about not being present in the booth, so I decided to skip it and will be sure to catch the video - I learn best when I can rewind anyway. The morning was still bustling as we met new and greeted old friends, but I was really grateful that the conference attendance was down - I started joking that DrupalCon knew it was my first year and was kind enough to ease me in.

That night the partner events kicked off. I had to rally a bit after a long day, but I’m so glad I did because I got to know my coworkers in person. COVID really made me forget what it’s like to meet new people and to connect with those I see over a screen every day on a more personal level. I started seeing myself as somewhat of an introvert, and this reminded me that I am mostly not. It was incredible to network in a way that felt authentic; I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed it.
 

Wednesday

I completely forgot about the time difference and had a class at 6:25 am (the class is amazing, but that’s a blog for another time).

I was exhausted, but something about the air in Portland sent my sinuses back to their regularly scheduled programming, and I was feeling pretty good otherwise. Wednesday was a bit more chill in the conference hall, and it gave me the opportunity to have longer and more in-depth conversations with those who stopped by our booth to say hello.

The Women in Drupal Luncheon was exceptional. I think most women were aware that the conference was predominantly male, but sitting in a room with only women felt revolutionary. The speaker, Jackie Wirz, was phenomenal and her presentation left me feeling empowered and inspired to embrace myself in a world that tells me not to.

She spoke about suffering from mostly invisible mental- and health-related disabilities and the effects her own have had on her personal and professional life. When the subsequent conversation turned towards the intersectionality of feminism and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the tech industry, she didn’t shy away. These are difficult topics that she and all of the women in the room handled with both grace and care. Being a minority woman in any field can be isolating but this room felt like the start of something. I felt so, so honored to be there.

We had our team dinner and some more partner events that night. I played some arcade games with the crew, saw some fire throwers (I see you, Portland!), and met a pretty cool guy named Caesar the No Drama Llama. 10 out of 10 would recommend.
 

Thursday

Thursday was the last day and you could tell, because everyone was exhausted.

I highly recommend watching the recording of “Inequity and isolation: inclusive practices for remote teams”. I am into all things inclusivity and believe that it’s incredibly important to widen the lens through which we see the world. Again, this is hard work. It requires self awareness, a desire for change that exceeds our desire for comfort, and perhaps most importantly, stamina.

I finally took some time to go around to all of the booths, meet people I hadn’t yet, and grab some swag. I made sure to connect with some new friends on LinkedIn (I have a few more to get to). The conference ended early on the last day and, quite accidentally, my coworkers and I (and later my husband) ended up on the roof of our hotel for six hours. After many laughs and taking in a gorgeous view, we ended the night with a pizza party in the lobby.
 

So, what did I think?

I went into this trip prepared to do right by Palantir.net. I wanted to create connections and maybe do some recruiting. I expected to have my “sales smile” on all week and be exhausted every night. And this was partially true. I did some of my sales shpiels and spoke to anyone who’d listen about what sets Palantir.net apart.

But I also made genuine connections, had genuine conversations, and learned maybe the best lesson of all: DrupalCon is a tech conference, but more than that, it’s a community of warm and fantastic people. We root for each other, we’re friends that know there’s enough work for us all, and maybe best of all we are a darn good time.

All in all, I had a particularly spectacular time at my first DrupalCon. I learned a ton, met awesome people, and got the chance to connect with my coworkers outside of work or Zoom. I went into the week of the conference with a healthy dose of skepticism, but went into the following weekend with a very full heart.

See you next year, DrupalCon! It was fun.

Photo by Britany Acre featuring Caesar the No Drama Llama

Community Drupal Events Open Source People

Palantir: I Attended My First DrupalCon

Main Drupal Feed - Mon, 05/16/2022 - 12:00

A day-by-day play on anything and everything I experienced - and, yes, I met a llama

I was really excited to attend DrupalCon for the first time. I’ve been with Palantir.net for about a year, all the while being told about the greatness that is the Drupal community, and I couldn’t wait to experience it myself.

When Omicron burst on the scene in early 2022, we all took some time to reevaluate the risks it presented. But since I was fully vaccinated and knew I’d be boosted by then, I decided to carry on and attend - along with a smaller than usual band of Palantiri who decided the same.

But it felt like the hits kept coming. Next, we were made aware that attendance, understandably, was way down from years prior. Would DrupalCon even be what everyone remembered? Would this famously tight-knit community be another casualty of COVID-19? Deciding to be all in, I was determined to find out.

We prepared and prepared and, before I knew it, I was taking the longest flight I’d taken in over two years. I traveled a lot before COVID, but this four hour flight was my near undoing. Add to that a little sinusitis and by the time I reached the hotel Sunday night, I was spent.
 

Monday

Monday was booth set up day. It went pretty well for Rachel and I, who were both DrupalCon newbies, but once our CEO and Founder George arrived that afternoon we were really in business. A seasoned DrupalCon vet with 24 conferences under his belt, he got us in shape and it was off to the races.

We were immediately approached by many curious and extremely friendly attendees and had some really great conversations. For me, the most notable surprise was that no one felt like a stranger - not even those I had just met for the first time. It was as if we were all old friends checking in on each other. Instead of, “who are you and what do you do?” it felt like “Hey friend, what are you up to these days?”

I immediately felt right at home in this zany crowd and I was excited to see what the rest of the week had in store.
 

Tuesday

Still battling my sinuses but having gotten a full night's rest, I woke up bright and early ready to tackle the day.

My first regret: I was very much looking forward to attending the day’s keynote, “How to combat global systems of oppression in the tech industry,” but I was feeling a bit anxious about not being present in the booth, so I decided to skip it and will be sure to catch the video - I learn best when I can rewind anyway. The morning was still bustling as we met new and greeted old friends, but I was really grateful that the conference attendance was down - I started joking that DrupalCon knew it was my first year and was kind enough to ease me in.

That night the partner events kicked off. I had to rally a bit after a long day, but I’m so glad I did because I got to know my coworkers in person. COVID really made me forget what it’s like to meet new people and to connect with those I see over a screen every day on a more personal level. I started seeing myself as somewhat of an introvert, and this reminded me that I am mostly not. It was incredible to network in a way that felt authentic; I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed it.
 

Wednesday

I completely forgot about the time difference and had a class at 6:25 am (the class is amazing, but that’s a blog for another time).

I was exhausted, but something about the air in Portland sent my sinuses back to their regularly scheduled programming, and I was feeling pretty good otherwise. Wednesday was a bit more chill in the conference hall, and it gave me the opportunity to have longer and more in-depth conversations with those who stopped by our booth to say hello.

The Women in Drupal Luncheon was exceptional. I think most women were aware that the conference was predominantly male, but sitting in a room with only women felt revolutionary. The speaker, Jackie Wirz, was phenomenal and her presentation left me feeling empowered and inspired to embrace myself in a world that tells me not to.

She spoke about suffering from mostly invisible mental- and health-related disabilities and the effects her own have had on her personal and professional life. When the subsequent conversation turned towards the intersectionality of feminism and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the tech industry, she didn’t shy away. These are difficult topics that she and all of the women in the room handled with both grace and care. Being a minority woman in any field can be isolating but this room felt like the start of something. I felt so, so honored to be there.

We had our team dinner and some more partner events that night. I played some arcade games with the crew, saw some fire throwers (I see you, Portland!), and met a pretty cool guy named Caesar the No Drama Llama. 10 out of 10 would recommend.
 

Thursday

Thursday was the last day and you could tell, because everyone was exhausted.

I highly recommend watching the recording of “Inequity and isolation: inclusive practices for remote teams”. I am into all things inclusivity and believe that it’s incredibly important to widen the lens through which we see the world. Again, this is hard work. It requires self awareness, a desire for change that exceeds our desire for comfort, and perhaps most importantly, stamina.

I finally took some time to go around to all of the booths, meet people I hadn’t yet, and grab some swag. I made sure to connect with some new friends on LinkedIn (I have a few more to get to). The conference ended early on the last day and, quite accidentally, my coworkers and I (and later my husband) ended up on the roof of our hotel for six hours. After many laughs and taking in a gorgeous view, we ended the night with a pizza party in the lobby.
 

So, what did I think?

I went into this trip prepared to do right by Palantir.net. I wanted to create connections and maybe do some recruiting. I expected to have my “sales smile” on all week and be exhausted every night. And this was partially true. I did some of my sales shpiels and spoke to anyone who’d listen about what sets Palantir.net apart.

But I also made genuine connections, had genuine conversations, and learned maybe the best lesson of all: DrupalCon is a tech conference, but more than that, it’s a community of warm and fantastic people. We root for each other, we’re friends that know there’s enough work for us all, and maybe best of all we are a darn good time.

All in all, I had a particularly spectacular time at my first DrupalCon. I learned a ton, met awesome people, and got the chance to connect with my coworkers outside of work or Zoom. I went into the week of the conference with a healthy dose of skepticism, but went into the following weekend with a very full heart.

See you next year, DrupalCon! It was fun.

Photo by Britany Acre featuring Caesar the No Drama Llama

Community Drupal Events Open Source People

Palantir: I Attended My First DrupalCon

Main Drupal Feed - Mon, 05/16/2022 - 12:00

A day-by-day play on anything and everything I experienced - and, yes, I met a llama

I was really excited to attend DrupalCon for the first time. I’ve been with Palantir.net for about a year, all the while being told about the greatness that is the Drupal community, and I couldn’t wait to experience it myself.

When Omicron burst on the scene in early 2022, we all took some time to reevaluate the risks it presented. But since I was fully vaccinated and knew I’d be boosted by then, I decided to carry on and attend - along with a smaller than usual band of Palantiri who decided the same.

But it felt like the hits kept coming. Next, we were made aware that attendance, understandably, was way down from years prior. Would DrupalCon even be what everyone remembered? Would this famously tight-knit community be another casualty of COVID-19? Deciding to be all in, I was determined to find out.

We prepared and prepared and, before I knew it, I was taking the longest flight I’d taken in over two years. I traveled a lot before COVID, but this four hour flight was my near undoing. Add to that a little sinusitis and by the time I reached the hotel Sunday night, I was spent.
 

Monday

Monday was booth set up day. It went pretty well for Rachel and I, who were both DrupalCon newbies, but once our CEO and Founder George arrived that afternoon we were really in business. A seasoned DrupalCon vet with 24 conferences under his belt, he got us in shape and it was off to the races.

We were immediately approached by many curious and extremely friendly attendees and had some really great conversations. For me, the most notable surprise was that no one felt like a stranger - not even those I had just met for the first time. It was as if we were all old friends checking in on each other. Instead of, “who are you and what do you do?” it felt like “Hey friend, what are you up to these days?”

I immediately felt right at home in this zany crowd and I was excited to see what the rest of the week had in store.
 

Tuesday

Still battling my sinuses but having gotten a full night's rest, I woke up bright and early ready to tackle the day.

My first regret: I was very much looking forward to attending the day’s keynote, “How to combat global systems of oppression in the tech industry,” but I was feeling a bit anxious about not being present in the booth, so I decided to skip it and will be sure to catch the video - I learn best when I can rewind anyway. The morning was still bustling as we met new and greeted old friends, but I was really grateful that the conference attendance was down - I started joking that DrupalCon knew it was my first year and was kind enough to ease me in.

That night the partner events kicked off. I had to rally a bit after a long day, but I’m so glad I did because I got to know my coworkers in person. COVID really made me forget what it’s like to meet new people and to connect with those I see over a screen every day on a more personal level. I started seeing myself as somewhat of an introvert, and this reminded me that I am mostly not. It was incredible to network in a way that felt authentic; I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed it.
 

Wednesday

I completely forgot about the time difference and had a class at 6:25 am (the class is amazing, but that’s a blog for another time).

I was exhausted, but something about the air in Portland sent my sinuses back to their regularly scheduled programming, and I was feeling pretty good otherwise. Wednesday was a bit more chill in the conference hall, and it gave me the opportunity to have longer and more in-depth conversations with those who stopped by our booth to say hello.

The Women in Drupal Luncheon was exceptional. I think most women were aware that the conference was predominantly male, but sitting in a room with only women felt revolutionary. The speaker, Jackie Wirz, was phenomenal and her presentation left me feeling empowered and inspired to embrace myself in a world that tells me not to.

She spoke about suffering from mostly invisible mental- and health-related disabilities and the effects her own have had on her personal and professional life. When the subsequent conversation turned towards the intersectionality of feminism and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the tech industry, she didn’t shy away. These are difficult topics that she and all of the women in the room handled with both grace and care. Being a minority woman in any field can be isolating but this room felt like the start of something. I felt so, so honored to be there.

We had our team dinner and some more partner events that night. I played some arcade games with the crew, saw some fire throwers (I see you, Portland!), and met a pretty cool guy named Caesar the No Drama Llama. 10 out of 10 would recommend.
 

Thursday

Thursday was the last day and you could tell, because everyone was exhausted.

I highly recommend watching the recording of “Inequity and isolation: inclusive practices for remote teams”. I am into all things inclusivity and believe that it’s incredibly important to widen the lens through which we see the world. Again, this is hard work. It requires self awareness, a desire for change that exceeds our desire for comfort, and perhaps most importantly, stamina.

I finally took some time to go around to all of the booths, meet people I hadn’t yet, and grab some swag. I made sure to connect with some new friends on LinkedIn (I have a few more to get to). The conference ended early on the last day and, quite accidentally, my coworkers and I (and later my husband) ended up on the roof of our hotel for six hours. After many laughs and taking in a gorgeous view, we ended the night with a pizza party in the lobby.
 

So, what did I think?

I went into this trip prepared to do right by Palantir.net. I wanted to create connections and maybe do some recruiting. I expected to have my “sales smile” on all week and be exhausted every night. And this was partially true. I did some of my sales shpiels and spoke to anyone who’d listen about what sets Palantir.net apart.

But I also made genuine connections, had genuine conversations, and learned maybe the best lesson of all: DrupalCon is a tech conference, but more than that, it’s a community of warm and fantastic people. We root for each other, we’re friends that know there’s enough work for us all, and maybe best of all we are a darn good time.

All in all, I had a particularly spectacular time at my first DrupalCon. I learned a ton, met awesome people, and got the chance to connect with my coworkers outside of work or Zoom. I went into the week of the conference with a healthy dose of skepticism, but went into the following weekend with a very full heart.

See you next year, DrupalCon! It was fun.

Photo by Britany Acre featuring Caesar the No Drama Llama

Community Drupal Events Open Source People

Palantir: I Said Yes to My First DrupalCon

Main Drupal Feed - Mon, 05/16/2022 - 12:00

Here’s why I chose to go, what my experience was, and why I will 100% go back

Being away from our networks hasn't been easy - whether it's family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, or all of the above, the past two years have been difficult.

It's also been difficult to assess the risks of diving back into events to reconnect or to engage for the first time - even when we have been personally cautious and responsible and when we are assured those around us have been as well. Several members of our team chose to attend DrupalCon. This was Paakwesi's first time attending, and we wanted to ask him about his experience.
 

If somebody took away one thing from your experiences at your first DrupalCon, what would it be?

It would be the feeling of community.

Coming from someone like me - who is brand new to Drupal and working in a fully remote environment - I recognized a lot of usernames, and I caught a name or two here and there. But I had never been able to put those usernames to a face and a person. Going to DrupalCon allowed me the experience to meet, talk to, and work with the people behind those usernames in a collaborative and welcoming environment.

And then all of it clicked for me at one point and I was like, “I’m just like everyone here!” Everyone I worked with wanted to work with me and could relate to some of my hesitations - people who are brand new, others who aren’t, but all who want to solve challenges together.

The sense of community and the dedication to collaboration were the biggest takeaways, and they changed my insight and how I approach my work.
 

How did your pre-conference expectations match with your post-conference experience?

My previous conference experience was always to learn technical things, while also maybe networking. But going into it, I realized you get much more of a sense of community. Meeting and talking to so many people - and even just being able to run ideas past people - made me feel like I was involved in the conference and not just an attendee.

There is always that sensitive little bit for me - the imposter syndrome - where I was worried I wouldn’t be able to add up or contribute on a certain skill level. After DrupalCon, I feel reassured that no, that’s actually normal! From my experience, those who have spent years learning Drupal and those who are new all feel the same way, and that was hugely empowering.

It not only made me much more confident, but much more aware of the fact that I’m not alone, we all have struggles, we all have worries, but we all work together to solve them. It was a definite eye-opening experience.
 

Do you think that Palantir.net as a whole - in terms of fostering collaboration and a sense of a tight-knit community - is a microcosm of DrupalCon? 

I definitely feel that way, especially in terms of working collaboratively to solve a problem and also especially when it comes to me having a little bit of imposter syndrome.

Even when I would talk to some of my mentors, I would try to explain my past experience as an example of having to figure out a problem on my own, having no idea where to go with it but having to cram away and figure it out without support or someone I could work with to find a solution.Now working at Palantir.net, I constantly hear, “No, seriously, just ask anything! If you’ve tried for 15 minutes and feel like your head is against the wall, just ask someone.” And it’s not just a phrase that’s said - it’s a phrase that is meant and acted on.

Even though DrupalCon is a big conference, it doesn’t feel that way. When I was in the classrooms working on a solution for a project, I had the similar feeling of collaboration I have at Palantir.net. I can turn to the teacher or the person sitting next to me and say, “Hey, I don’t really get this” or “I’m really stuck on this part,” and there is an instant response of “Let’s work on it together!”

Coming from previous work experiences that had a “figure it out yourself” environment, when I first started at Palantir.net I probably did not reach out as much as I should have. But now, I realize how many different avenues to use to ask a question, ask for help, or ask for a second pair of eyes on my work.
 

What was your favorite part of or experience at DrupalCon?

So you know how the phrase, “that memory that's going to live in my head forever for free?” Mine was making my first contribution that showed up on my Drupal Association profile. This means anyone can access my profile and see what module I contributed to. Now, in the next update and if it works, everyone will be using something I contributed to through testing and putting in my two cents.

It was a huge proud moment for me because I felt that I can look back on it in 10 or 15 years and think, “Yeah - I helped to create that.” It is something that will definitely be a memory that will live in my head forever for free.
 

Are there any other Drupal events you’re eyeing to attend?

I’d love to attend DrupalCon again - for 2023, it'll be in Pittsburgh from June 5th to June 9th. I’d also definitely like to go to MidCamp, which takes place here in Chicago and will be taking place in the spring of 2023.

A funny story: I met a guy at DrupalCon who is from Chicago and lives in my parents’ neighborhood. It was cool to be able to have an interaction with someone on that type of personal level and to be able to know that there is a built-in community not just at events, but in communities across the country. That was truly an eye-opening experience that I did not expect, but one that really made me realize how wide, large, and connected the Drupal community is. And it’s pretty awesome.
 

Based on your experience, what advice, tips, or tricks would you tell a first-time DrupalCon attendee?

If you think that your first DrupalCon will be all work and no fun, you will be pleasantly surprised.

You’ll find out quickly - as I did - that there are after parties, trivia, and plenty of fun people to meet and hang out with outside of the convention hours.

Fair warning: you will never know what you are bound to see.

Anything from Caesar the No Drama Llama to a guy in a Darth Vader outfit riding on a unicycle in a kilt to a random group of flame jugglers we stumbled upon walking from one party to the other. (Part of me was not sure if this was part of the people in the community just getting loose or if this was a Portland thing, since they do say “Keep Portland Weird.” Whatever it is, I am here for it.

All I know is that I had such a great experience at DrupalCon, and I was extremely fortunate to be able to be there with some fellow Palantiri. I plan for this to not be my last.

Photo by Justin Shen on Upsplash

Community Drupal Events Open Source People

Make Drupal Easy: Drupal 9 & 10: Remove the nodes marked as "noindex" from search API results

Main Drupal Feed - Thu, 05/12/2022 - 12:41

In a project where we use the Search API to search for content, we noticed that nodes that are marked as "noindex" by the Metatag module are visible during internal searches. Here is a ready-made solution for how to avoid this.

Make Drupal Easy: Drupal 9 & 10: Remove the nodes marked as "noindex" from search API results

Main Drupal Feed - Thu, 05/12/2022 - 12:41

In a project where we use the Search API to search for content, we noticed that nodes that are marked as "noindex" by the Metatag module are visible during internal searches. Here is a ready-made solution for how to avoid this.

mark.ie: Braindump: Choosing an e-commerce solution for Drupal

Main Drupal Feed - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 20:41

Here's a braindump to a question I answered on Slack today about choosing an e-commerce solution for Drupal.

mark.ie: Braindump: Choosing an e-commerce solution for Drupal

Main Drupal Feed - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 20:41

Here's a braindump to a question I answered on Slack today about choosing an e-commerce solution for Drupal.

Palantir: Simple Secrets to Great Client Relationships

Main Drupal Feed - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 12:00

Concrete observations, real-life examples, and practical advice for building trust and affinity at work

Our work isn’t easy. It’s difficult to complete technical projects with non-technical clients. We understand a lot more about what’s going on, but they’re the ones making important project decisions.

Our work doesn’t live in best-case scenarios. Unlike bakers who have a recipe to predictably create the same cake over and over again, we have to change all the time. This is especially true in a consultancy like Palantir.net that has fully embraced agile.

Building trust and affinity, which is foundational to great client relationships, isn’t always part of the process. It also isn’t explicitly taught in school. That’s why I prepared this session for DrupalCon Portland 2022, to help my community learn the softer skills that are essential to our work. So, let’s uncover these simple secrets to great client relationships.

Greet like late night

Sometimes, we act like we’re watching a movie of the world around us, but people are always reacting to our energy, as we react to theirs. When we are warm to people, we’ll often find that they are warm back. Greet your client like you already know (and like) them. Then, leave space for them to shape the conversation.

In March 2020, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon used Zoom to interview celebrities in their homes from his home. This struck me as not dissimilar from my work within a distributed team. I noticed how he greeted people ranging from Kim Kardashian to Taraji P. Henson with almost over-the-top warmth and enthusiasm. Then, he let the guest shape where the conversation went next.

You can develop this skill by scheduling a quick happiness boost before client meetings that will leave you authentically joyful when you greet your clients. This can be as simple as spending four minutes watching an older music video like Pump Up the Jam (a nearly-universal happiness boost). You can also practice your greeting in the mirror, study talk show interviews on YouTube, or try an improv class.

Set and honor boundaries

Some think always being available creates great client relationships. I believe we build better bonds by setting and honoring boundaries that work for us. It may be tempting to respond to a client outside of your work hours. We think we’re teaching them how much they matter to us. However, it’s much more likely that we’re teaching them that we are always available. This can easily lead to disappointment or frustration when that expectation isn’t met in the future.

You can develop this skill by making clients aware of your collaboration boundaries. You can say things like, “I work 8:30-5:00 pm Mountain Time. What hours are you normally available for work?” This provides an opening for them to share their boundaries as well. You can also schedule non-emergency communication to arrive in your client’s inbox or Slack during your work hours. If you’re interested in digging further into boundaries, I found Essentialism to be a great resource.

Be their tour guide to our world

For many clients, the world of Drupal projects is unfamiliar. Consider yourself their Drupal guide. It’s your job to keep welcoming and orienting them to our world. Tours, like this great example of a university tour, are analogous to our work. I recommend watching at least the first minute of it while imagining that you are the guides and they are speaking to your client.

You can develop this skill by assuming your client is doing everything for the first time. Start with what’s immediately applicable, then zoom out. Use visuals and always translate jargon. Leave your clients space to think and ask questions. Take tours (or watch more online) through the lens of becoming a better Drupal guide.

Be curious about their world

Your client inhabits a world that’s unfamiliar to you. Your interest in their world will help you build trust and a better project outcome. Everyone likes other people expressing interest in our world, and it’s even better when they later remember what we’ve shared with them.

You can develop this skill by asking your client questions and remembering details. You can use a reference document to capture what your client shares with you, so you can easily follow up on what you learn. Notice changes, which could include a special piece of jewelry or a frantic late arrival to a call. You can share a complement or a moment to ground themselves in what seems to be a busy day. You can also keep up with your client’s organization via Google alerts, subscribing to their newsletter, or attending their events.

Let them be the expert

Rather than falling into a teacher or expert role, continue finding opportunities to learn from your client. When they share their knowledge with you, honor it with the respect it deserves. I learned this from a colleague after my company hired her as my new manager. She knew the role way better than me, but she didn’t know Drupal. She often found opportunities for me to teach her, which I later learned was no accident. Whether a manager, mentor, or consultant, we all appreciate work relationships that are mutual.

You can develop this skill by speaking in your client’s language, using the words and jargon that they use. When your client shares insights, be openly interested by rephrasing what they’ve said or asking follow up questions. If this is an unfamiliar approach, prepare by brainstorming and planning for occasions to continue learning from your client.

Connect beyond your role

When I first started my 9-5 career, I thought I had to be a neutral, professional automaton who was always poised, on topic, and efficient. However, people build connections with people, not perfect professionals. Share aspects of your life outside of work with your client. This will give them an opening to share aspects of their life with you. The more you’re connected as people, the stronger your relationship will be.

You can develop this skill by preparing a specific and concise anecdote to share about your weekend, or in answer to the outside-of-work questions you’re regularly asked. Especially if you work remotely, tell your client where you are when you’re away from home. Meet your client for coffee, either in-person or virtually, to talk about things that aren’t work-related. DM your client on Slack and ask non-work questions from time to time.

Make it fun

We all gravitate toward people who are fun to be around. Bring levity and play to your interactions with your client. For example, a client’s Outlook Calendar wasn’t cooperating with my Google Calendar, so she had two identical meetings from me. I added an exclamation point to the active invite, changing our meeting title to “[client name] + Lily!”. We kept it that way, and I smiled every time I saw the meeting appear on my calendar, hoping she did the same.

You can develop this skill by smiling and joking with your client, when appropriate. Within reason, talk to your client like you talk to your friends. Use an informal communication style and emojis to convey tone in emails and Slack.

Be authentic

We can all sense when people are being fake. That’s one of the fastest ways to damage trust. Make sure to stay genuine in all of your client interactions. As a podcast fan, I find Dax Sheppard in his role as host of Armchair Expert to be a fascinating model of authenticity, particularly the episode he released about his relapse.

You can develop this skill by modeling authenticity. Give honest answers to questions like, “How are you?” in front of your client. Speak the why behind your actions and recommendations with your client to help them understand your perspective. And, tell your client when you notice a contribution they’ve made. Be specific about its impact.

Adapt when needed

The more you learn about your client, the more you’ll understand their collaboration style. If there’s a big gap between your style and theirs, it may be time to adapt and meet them closer to where they are.

You can develop this skill first by avoiding making assumptions about your client before you meet them. Instead, notice how they react to your collaboration style, especially any friction or negativity. Also, notice how your client tends to collaborate and note your observations down. You can use them to brainstorm solutions, then try them out until you find one that works.

Tell the truth

We often think telling a half-truth or putting a rosy-colored spin on something will help maintain a great client relationship. In my experience, I haven’t found that to be the case. Even when it’s uncomfortable and not what they want to hear, tell your client the truth. You’ll be surprised by how much grace you’re given when you prove that you can be counted on for your honesty. It’s so much more valuable than anything we get from fibbing or stretching the truth.

You can develop this skill by committing to always telling your client the truth, but also remember that it doesn’t have to be the whole truth. You can say, for instance, that there was a miscommunication within your team without calling out individuals. If work is late because of five reasons, you don’t have to share all five. I also recommend that you voice your inner monologue when delivering difficult news. It can be powerful to say, “This isn’t a conversation I ever wanted to have with you,” instead of trying to find the perfect thing to say.

Stay on their side

It can be so tempting to develop an us versus them mentality with clients. If that ever happens on your team, stand squarely on your client’s side. You can even say something like, “I’m playing the role of client advocate. If they were here, I think they’d say something like…” You’ll bring some much needed empathy and valuable perspective to the situation.

You can develop this skill by saying things to your client like, “I can see how given this happened, you might feel that way.” Practice seeing things from their perspective, and if you struggle to understand it, ask them questions until you do. If you’re interested in exploring this topic further, I recommend Nonviolent Communication.

Watch my DrupalCon session that inspired this article

If you’ve read this far and want to keep digging into this material (or if you’re more of an auditory learner), I’ve included a recording of my DrupalCon session that inspired this article. There’s also an engaging Q&A session with the audience at the end. Whether you watch it or not, keep exploring connection and try new approaches until you find what works for you.


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Community Drupal Events People Strategy

Palantir: Simple Secrets to Great Client Relationships

Main Drupal Feed - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 12:00

Concrete observations, real-life examples, and practical advice for building trust and affinity at work

Our work isn’t easy. It’s difficult to complete technical projects with non-technical clients. We understand a lot more about what’s going on, but they’re the ones making important project decisions.

Our work doesn’t live in best-case scenarios. Unlike bakers who have a recipe to predictably create the same cake over and over again, we have to change all the time. This is especially true in a consultancy like Palantir.net that has fully embraced agile.

Building trust and affinity, which is foundational to great client relationships, isn’t always part of the process. It also isn’t explicitly taught in school. That’s why I prepared this session for DrupalCon Portland 2022, to help my community learn the softer skills that are essential to our work. So, let’s uncover these simple secrets to great client relationships.

Greet like late night

Sometimes, we act like we’re watching a movie of the world around us, but people are always reacting to our energy, as we react to theirs. When we are warm to people, we’ll often find that they are warm back. Greet your client like you already know (and like) them. Then, leave space for them to shape the conversation.

In March 2020, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon used Zoom to interview celebrities in their homes from his home. This struck me as not dissimilar from my work within a distributed team. I noticed how he greeted people ranging from Kim Kardashian to Taraji P. Henson with almost over-the-top warmth and enthusiasm. Then, he let the guest shape where the conversation went next.

You can develop this skill by scheduling a quick happiness boost before client meetings that will leave you authentically joyful when you greet your clients. This can be as simple as spending four minutes watching an older music video like Pump Up the Jam (a nearly-universal happiness boost). You can also practice your greeting in the mirror, study talk show interviews on YouTube, or try an improv class.

Set and honor boundaries

Some think always being available creates great client relationships. I believe we build better bonds by setting and honoring boundaries that work for us. It may be tempting to respond to a client outside of your work hours. We think we’re teaching them how much they matter to us. However, it’s much more likely that we’re teaching them that we are always available. This can easily lead to disappointment or frustration when that expectation isn’t met in the future.

You can develop this skill by making clients aware of your collaboration boundaries. You can say things like, “I work 8:30-5:00 pm Mountain Time. What hours are you normally available for work?” This provides an opening for them to share their boundaries as well. You can also schedule non-emergency communication to arrive in your client’s inbox or Slack during your work hours. If you’re interested in digging further into boundaries, I found Essentialism to be a great resource.

Be their tour guide to our world

For many clients, the world of Drupal projects is unfamiliar. Consider yourself their Drupal guide. It’s your job to keep welcoming and orienting them to our world. Tours, like this great example of a university tour, are analogous to our work. I recommend watching at least the first minute of it while imagining that you are the guides and they are speaking to your client.

You can develop this skill by assuming your client is doing everything for the first time. Start with what’s immediately applicable, then zoom out. Use visuals and always translate jargon. Leave your clients space to think and ask questions. Take tours (or watch more online) through the lens of becoming a better Drupal guide.

Be curious about their world

Your client inhabits a world that’s unfamiliar to you. Your interest in their world will help you build trust and a better project outcome. Everyone likes other people expressing interest in our world, and it’s even better when they later remember what we’ve shared with them.

You can develop this skill by asking your client questions and remembering details. You can use a reference document to capture what your client shares with you, so you can easily follow up on what you learn. Notice changes, which could include a special piece of jewelry or a frantic late arrival to a call. You can share a complement or a moment to ground themselves in what seems to be a busy day. You can also keep up with your client’s organization via Google alerts, subscribing to their newsletter, or attending their events.

Let them be the expert

Rather than falling into a teacher or expert role, continue finding opportunities to learn from your client. When they share their knowledge with you, honor it with the respect it deserves. I learned this from a colleague after my company hired her as my new manager. She knew the role way better than me, but she didn’t know Drupal. She often found opportunities for me to teach her, which I later learned was no accident. Whether a manager, mentor, or consultant, we all appreciate work relationships that are mutual.

You can develop this skill by speaking in your client’s language, using the words and jargon that they use. When your client shares insights, be openly interested by rephrasing what they’ve said or asking follow up questions. If this is an unfamiliar approach, prepare by brainstorming and planning for occasions to continue learning from your client.

Connect beyond your role

When I first started my 9-5 career, I thought I had to be a neutral, professional automaton who was always poised, on topic, and efficient. However, people build connections with people, not perfect professionals. Share aspects of your life outside of work with your client. This will give them an opening to share aspects of their life with you. The more you’re connected as people, the stronger your relationship will be.

You can develop this skill by preparing a specific and concise anecdote to share about your weekend, or in answer to the outside-of-work questions you’re regularly asked. Especially if you work remotely, tell your client where you are when you’re away from home. Meet your client for coffee, either in-person or virtually, to talk about things that aren’t work-related. DM your client on Slack and ask non-work questions from time to time.

Make it fun

We all gravitate toward people who are fun to be around. Bring levity and play to your interactions with your client. For example, a client’s Outlook Calendar wasn’t cooperating with my Google Calendar, so she had two identical meetings from me. I added an exclamation point to the active invite, changing our meeting title to “[client name] + Lily!”. We kept it that way, and I smiled every time I saw the meeting appear on my calendar, hoping she did the same.

You can develop this skill by smiling and joking with your client, when appropriate. Within reason, talk to your client like you talk to your friends. Use an informal communication style and emojis to convey tone in emails and Slack.

Be authentic

We can all sense when people are being fake. That’s one of the fastest ways to damage trust. Make sure to stay genuine in all of your client interactions. As a podcast fan, I find Dax Sheppard in his role as host of Armchair Expert to be a fascinating model of authenticity, particularly the episode he released about his relapse.

You can develop this skill by modeling authenticity. Give honest answers to questions like, “How are you?” in front of your client. Speak the why behind your actions and recommendations with your client to help them understand your perspective. And, tell your client when you notice a contribution they’ve made. Be specific about its impact.

Adapt when needed

The more you learn about your client, the more you’ll understand their collaboration style. If there’s a big gap between your style and theirs, it may be time to adapt and meet them closer to where they are.

You can develop this skill first by avoiding making assumptions about your client before you meet them. Instead, notice how they react to your collaboration style, especially any friction or negativity. Also, notice how your client tends to collaborate and note your observations down. You can use them to brainstorm solutions, then try them out until you find one that works.

Tell the truth

We often think telling a half-truth or putting a rosy-colored spin on something will help maintain a great client relationship. In my experience, I haven’t found that to be the case. Even when it’s uncomfortable and not what they want to hear, tell your client the truth. You’ll be surprised by how much grace you’re given when you prove that you can be counted on for your honesty. It’s so much more valuable than anything we get from fibbing or stretching the truth.

You can develop this skill by committing to always telling your client the truth, but also remember that it doesn’t have to be the whole truth. You can say, for instance, that there was a miscommunication within your team without calling out individuals. If work is late because of five reasons, you don’t have to share all five. I also recommend that you voice your inner monologue when delivering difficult news. It can be powerful to say, “This isn’t a conversation I ever wanted to have with you,” instead of trying to find the perfect thing to say.

Stay on their side

It can be so tempting to develop an us versus them mentality with clients. If that ever happens on your team, stand squarely on your client’s side. You can even say something like, “I’m playing the role of client advocate. If they were here, I think they’d say something like…” You’ll bring some much needed empathy and valuable perspective to the situation.

You can develop this skill by saying things to your client like, “I can see how given this happened, you might feel that way.” Practice seeing things from their perspective, and if you struggle to understand it, ask them questions until you do. If you’re interested in exploring this topic further, I recommend Nonviolent Communication.

Watch my DrupalCon session that inspired this article

If you’ve read this far and want to keep digging into this material (or if you’re more of an auditory learner), I’ve included a recording of my DrupalCon session that inspired this article. There’s also an engaging Q&A session with the audience at the end. Whether you watch it or not, keep exploring connection and try new approaches until you find what works for you.


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Community Drupal Events People Strategy

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