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Leadership Interview: Wilco Alsemgeest, Operations DC


Wilco Alsemgeest has been a Joomla volunteer for years and despite his election as Operations Department Coordinator is recent, he has contributed to the activities of the Board of Directors of OSM for months, actively supporting the DCs and the Officers in charge.

Wilco, congratulations on your election as Operations Department Coordinator! It looks like the “natural move” from your previous position as Assistant to the DC. How do you feel in this new role?

Thank you!

For me personally, it's a logical move, not only because I can better serve the community as DC than as Assistant DC, but also because it has always been my daily job in my career.

As the person who defined a complete new department (Managed Services, Application hosting) within the organization I have been working for more than 10 years, being responsible for the Operational work and Technical lead, the Joomla Operations Department is a good fit for me as a person.

How do you see the role of the “Operations DC” within the organization?

First of all, the name Department Coordinator says a lot.
It's about coordinating the teams (people) within the department which means; supporting them in any way possible, giving them a possibility to say whatever they want within the whole team or personally, being the person who opens the door to address anything they need within the Board.

It's about being there for the volunteers and not the other way around, a DC should not be the person who says what people must do, but addresses the things that could be done and discusses them with the department members and follows the common grounds in anything needed within the department.

At the same time, it's about the day to day tasks for our ecosystem, it's important to keep the rest of the board members aware of and be included in any kind of discussion related to the ecosystem. Which needs to be shared with the volunteers involved in these topics.

Within the Board, I will be myself as I mention for time to time at different occasions and situations "Can I be Dutch for a minute?" a sentence which is described by Brian Mitchell as "Politely asking if you can be direct", which basically means saying the truth without wrapping it in gift paper.

By being a direct and honest person (not accepting injustice), I'm sure I can keep the other board members sharp as well.

Which will be the major challenges you want to tackle during your term?

Many of the major challenges are already in progress since the beginning of 2020, which mostly relate to missing structure, clarity, documentation and working together.

The department and especially the Webmasters team (https://volunteers.joomla.org/teams/webmasters-team) have grown a lot and work hard on many improvements, including removing legacy systems, improving the needed systems, increasing the security requirements for the users as well the visitors.

This work will never stop in this everlasting changing environment and keeping the focus on that will always be a big challenge in a volunteer-based community.

Another major challenge is getting more volunteers to work on the Joomla Ecosystem like the websites, but we have a great team of volunteers (https://volunteers.joomla.org/teams/volunteer-engagement-team) working on possible ways to improve this process and the visibility of the teams. As a DC I'm working together with them in any way possible.

Personally, I want to implement the improvements defined from the Forum for the Future - Professionalism stream in the board as well, to improve the transition between board members to make sure the whole Board can always help each other, no matter the personal situation, including things like:

  • Project management.
  • Documentation of processes.
  • Documentation of tasks related to the role, for handover purposes.
  • Improving access to any service we use by removing "Single points of failure" and centrally storing the information in our secured data management tool.

The Operations Department includes many different teams and operates the Joomla.org ecosystem. Is there anything important we could expect from your teams in the next period?

In general, I expect that the teams do the things they each set out in their team descriptions and their day to day work like making sure the sites, systems and infrastructure are kept up-to-date, stable and secure. Of course, to be honest with each other and accept everybody's thoughts and ideas, no matter how crazy they are. Considering what the teams already have achieved in 2020, I’m confident that their great work will continue.

What else you can expect;

  • Joomla 4 is of course on its way, from the moment the RC is available, the teams will work on plans to move our own websites to J4 ready for when the final version is released. Of course, this involves a lot of work as we are talking about a new system where the templates, extensions and other things will need to fit in.
  • Additional standardization of everything involved in the Ecosystem including processes, actions and technical things, which has been massively improved already the last 6 months.
  • Defining, Creating and Building improvements on the various features supplied within our Joomla Org websites. Like the new Joomla Extensions Directory version 4 (https://github.com/joomla/com_jed4) which will also include templates (everybody can help and all help is welcome), the new Service Providers Directory (replacement for Resources Directory) available by the end of the year, improvements for our sponsors (https://www.joomla.org/sponsor.html) (Legal and Finance department is working on this), new Joomla User Groups and Joomla Events directory, connecting more sites to our Identity System.
  • Supporting the other teams like the Privacy Compliance Team (https://volunteers.joomla.org/teams/compliance-team) with the legal related things like the Cookie Script, who can also use additional help for other volunteers.

Is there anything we forgot to ask but should have asked you?

This is always a difficult question to answer, but everybody can contact me and ask additional questions whenever needed, check my Volunteer Portal profile, LinkedIn page and other resources.

What I additionally want to mention is:

There is always something to do within our great community, everybody is welcome to help, no matter the knowledge and available time. This can be in one of the teams, on Github, the documentation website, translations and many more.

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