Kyle Ledbetter: King of the launch room
Prior to the Joomla! 1.6 launch, a chat room was created to bring leaders and community members together in a big PR effort. Would you please describe what that was like and the role you played?
I had the privilege/duty of designing the Joomla! 1.6 landing page... in under a day. It was the most chaotic, yet organized project I’ve ever seen. Steve Burge assembled the “strike team” in what seemed like minutes and we embarked on this journey.
Over the course of the day, more and more people poured into this Skype chat room and quickly fell into line as if they’re worked together for years. Each new person lent their expertise to the team and filled in the blanks in what seemed like a perfectly scripted screenplay.
Never before have I seen so many people from different parts of the globe (many who had never met or “Skyped”) come together to work as one. This is what Joomla! is all about.
What did this group produce?The group produced a full marketing release for Joomla! 1.6. While I was powering through design concepts for the site and banners, one part of the team was providing me with real-time feedback and content. At the same time the rest of the team was off connecting the dots and providing the glue for the entire launch. Ryan Ozimek kept popping in and out with new media and press releases each time.
What was the biggest challenge of this collaboration?
The biggest challenge was the timeline. I was pulled in on Friday and this was all due by Monday morning.
What surprised you most about the whole process?
I was most surprised by the level of cooperation and by the lack of arguments. We simply didn’t have time to debate over something for more than a few minutes. So in the end, the timeline almost became our ally. You had to present ideas, make a decision and move on. Boom, done.
What was it like when the launch finally came? How did that go?
The launch went incredibly smoothly from my perspective. I had my design, banners and template done by Sunday, so I got to sit back and watch everyone drop things into place. I have to give Matt Lipscomb credit on this. Matt was available to grant me access where I needed and helped push everything I created live. He was my ambassador to the CLT (Community Leadership Team).
I’m sure it was quite a bit different in those final hours before launch for the bug squad and PLT (Production Leadership Team) though. I’m still amazed that they were able to squash those final bugs and get 1.6 out the door on time.
What did you take away from this experience?
Well, a little more time for the launch of the new marketing materials would be heavenly. Though honestly it was nice to just be immersed in it for 3 days and get it done :) It’s obvious to me now that there needs to be an official release team for this type of thing.
What is your vision for future collaboration of this kind?
I was surprised how well Skype and Google Docs served us for the 1.6 launch. Everyone already has access to these apps so it was easy to work within that infrastructure. I can certainly see how a unified center for all the discussions, tasks and files would benefit a team like this though. Now I wonder where in Joomla! you can find a project management solution with those types of things... :P I know that question wasn’t intended to be a plug for Projectfork, but it would have helped tremendously in this scenario.
In closing I’d like to thank everyone for inviting me onto this team of talented individuals. It seems that more and more, the Joomla! project is opening up to community contributions and encouraging creativity and cooperation on every level.
2011 Joomla! for the win!
Editor's note: As a participant in the J 1.6 chat where the PR effort took place, it was inspiring to watch Kyle field all of the feedback and input with such speed and good humor. Thank you Kyle for your enormous contribution not only to the excellent final result, but also to making the process exciting and fun!