We had an amazing, diverse group of 50 Plone community members at the Plone Strategic Planning Summmit this past weekend, but it we were also keenly aware that most of the Plone community was NOT present. Rather than attempt the impossible task of designing an event that could be played out in real-time online, we chose to focus our limited resources on a highly interactive small group process, with strong follow-up documentation of our work and ongoing conversation.
So, with this document, we begin the process of reporting out to the worldwide community on our productive, fun and exciting weekend together.
This document will simply list out the things we did together, and a few things we didn't do. Detailed notes about each of the major activities are elsewhere.
(Big thanks to Andy McKay, Donna Snow, Godefroid Chapelle, Nate Aune, Derek Richardson, Alex Limi and Mark Corum for capturing all of our work electronically!)
Things we did
• "Spectrograms" -- exercises that involve lining up across the room to reveal consensus (or lack thereof) around such statements as:
♣ Plone is on the right track <--> Plone is on the wrong track (General agreement that it is on the right track.)
♣ Plone is too hard for the average developer to learn (Mild agreement, lots of folks who are neutral)
♣ It is important to release some parts of Plone's codebase under an alternative license such as BSD or LGPL (Strong agreement!)
♣ Plone needs more top-down design (No clear consensus; many people though the question was vague)
♣ Plone is well-marketed (Strong disagreement; it was noted that Plone has a very strong brand identity, but that is not the same as being well-marketed.)
♣ Platform <--> Framework (General consensus that Plone is mainly a product, but has lots of great framework bits underneath it.)
♣ Archetypes is dead (Strong agreement that it isn't)
♣ Archetypes should die (No clear consensus)
♣ Deliverance should be Plone's themeing story (No clear consensus; lots of people didn't have enough information to understand what Deliverance is)
♣ Repoze should be part of Plone's deployment story (Again, no clear consensus, and a lot of people who didn't know what Repoze is.)
♣ Plone should be rewritten from scratch as a pure Zope 3 application. (Strong disagreement)
• Assessed what 5 different vertical customer segments need Plone to do, and its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for each segment. The 5 segments were:
♣ Small Business
♣ Large Enterprise
• Gave "elevator pitches" for Plone, and had them critiqued by marketing guru Mark Corum.
• Got demonstrations and analysis of various competitive products such as Alfresco, Drupal, Red Dot, Interwoven and Sharepoint, and talked about what Plone could learn from each.
• Talked about the idea of "approachability" as lens through which to view the ongoing evolution of Plone.
• Listened to a panel of mostly-new integrators talk about their experiences learning Plone.
• Played Plone Trivia, led by quizmaster Paul Everitt.
• Assessed what's working, what's not working well, and what's working elsewhere for five areas of the Plone experience:
♣ Installation and out-of-the-box experience
♣ Customization and configuration (e.g. the integrator experience)
♣ Code development and community process
♣ Deployment, hosting and performance
♣ Documentation and support
• Did structured small-group brainstorming exercises to identify actions we wanted to take to improve Plone's approachability.
• Did "dotmocracy" process to prioritize and sort our collective assessment of the urgency of these actions.
• Solicited volunteers to champion these actions (or, as proxies, to approach prospective champions who were not present).
• Warmly greeted and applauded Google Highly Open Participation Contest winner Jonathan Wilde, age 14, who created four new themes for Plone, as well as two new portlets, and offered us his feedback on the experience of writing add-on products for Plone 3
• Ate Vietnamese food
• Enjoyed Google's fantastic hospitality
• Socialized, drank fine scotch and smoked cigars out by the hotel pool
• Talked about our desired approaches to Plone marketing with marketing consultant Mark Corum, who is going to help mentor Nate Aune and the newly-reforming Plone marketing team
• Captured all of the brainstorming flipcharts, action proposals and commitments for follow-up action. See Alex’s email about followup actions and champions for each at:
All assigned tasks are listed in Trac at:
Things we didn't do
• Draft and/or argue about proclamations to the world about "What Plone is" or "What Plone isn't."
• Make any binding decisions about technologies or systems to add or remove from Plone
• Write code
• Sit in a big circle debating the detailed technical minutiae of Plone
• Write blog posts, chat in IRC or otherwise attempt to webcast a complex, highly interactive, small-group oriented event into cyberspace
• Write a roadmap for Plone 4 (or Plone 5, or Plone 6)
• Decide that the only valid way to "slice" the audience for Plone is the industry-specific vertical sectors listed above