Joomla Leadership Votes For A New Management Structure

Joomla Leadership Votes For A New Management Structure

If you are like the majority of the Joomla community, and living in your own world and not paying attention, you might have missed what has been happening with the vote for the proposed Joomla Leadership Restructure that we wrote about in our previous blog post about the Joomla Leadership Restructure Vote. This post is all about those results and what the next steps will be.


Twas The Night Before Voting

On the evening before the vote was to begin, long time OSM Board Member Ryan Ozimek sent an email to the entire Joomla Leadership team an email and reminded everyone of the fact that the existing leadership structure was originally implemented as a temporary solution that was never updated. Ryan stated in his email that “For nearly 7 years, we have been working with a temporary solution, unwilling to make the changes we need to grow.”

Ryan stated that there were two paths to choose. I happen to agree with Ryan’s statements 110%.


  1. A NO vote = “It is a path that keeps our teams separated in a time when we need to work together.”

  2. A YES vote = “The alternative takes us down a new path of opportunity, organization, and progress.  It is a path that the leadership team supported so strongly that on two separate occasions we voted in near unanimity to agree to move.  It is a path that builds stronger bonds between our teams, facilitates more effective communication, and gives us the organizational platform we need to reach our potential.”


The Results

On May 16th the final two votes came in on the leadership mailing list, deciding the fate of the Joomla Project’s future. In order for the vote to pass, two thirds (2/3) of the 28 Joomla Leadership Members would need to vote in favor of the newly proposed structure. Technically, this means that 18.6 people would need to have a YES vote in order for the structure to pass and be implemented.


The vote was very close. Here is how close it really was. In alphabetical order by vote, here are the results of each leadership team member. You can view the entire vote on the public mailing list here.


Final Vote Count






Eligible Voters


Alice Grevet


Chris Davenport


Dianne Henning


George Wilson


Javier Gomez


Joe Sonne


Jorge Lopez-Bachiller Fernandez


Marijke Stuivenberg


Martijn Boomsma


Peter Bui


Rod Martin


Roland Dalmulder


Ronni Christiansen


Ruth Cheesley


Ryan Ozimek


Sander Potjer


Sarah Watz


Saurabh Shah


Victor Drover


David Jardin


Guillermo Bravo


Isidro Baquero


Jessica Dunbar


Robert Deutz


Tessa Mero


Thomas Hunziker


Tom Hutchison


Viktor Vogel



People Were Affected Emotionally

Now I would first like to make it very clear, I very much respect each person’s vote, their reasoning for that vote, and the pressure they were under by the community. Some had voted differently than what I anticipated and surprised me. I would like to personally thank Martijn Boomsma for having the strength to be the last person to submit his vote making his vote the one that would decide what the future leadership organization would look like. I would not have wanted to be you. Well done grasshopper, well done.


This vote affected people personally on a variety of levels, both on the Joomla Leadership side as well as the Joomla Community. Some positively, some negatively. Some asked questions, some made last ditch efforts to offer better solutions, others had really great discussions, and some people went off the deep end and turned to mean personal attacks. I was even personally attacked just because I had an opinion about it. I love to see how things like this bring people out of the shadows so we can see their true colors and see them for what they really are.


For Some, The Time Has Come To Go

I stated before that there are some people that I feel do not belong in Joomla Leadership because some people are just not natural leaders. That does not mean that I feel they are not good for the community and cannot be effective within a working group team. I feel this is a first step to remedy that. There are others that can be considered toxic in both leadership as well as the community that just need to go elsewhere. Some of those people are even discussing a Joomla fork. To those people, all I have to say is, good luck and all the best. We’ll miss you but in reality, the Joomla Project will be just fine without you because you are part of the problem, not the solution.


Joomla Leadership Members should not have to put up with the amount of disrespect that is currently happening from both fellow team members or other members of the community. Putting up with people’s attacks and bullying is NOT a leadership requirement and should not be tolerated. It is so sad to see all this disruption within the Joomla community and nobody is forcing those negative people to be a part of it. So it’s better if you just go.


Some people think that telling people to leave a community is a bad thing. However if we are to keep a healthy and productive community we need to not be afraid to let go of consistently disruptive people that simply want to distract attention away from productivity.


So what’s Next?

The new proposal is not perfect, it is not a polished work of art. However it is a great starting point and adjustments can be made later. Just like in software development, nothing is bug free. Nothing has the perfect user experience. Nothing can satisfy everyone’s needs. But improvements can always be made. Bugs can be fixed. Things can be tweaked. If you were around in the beginning of the Joomla project, you can clearly remember that the original leadership “core team” structure was not the best for long term organizational stability. This is exactly why the temporary structure was created. I believe we simply got too used to it and settled with it for so many years assuming it was a permanent plan and now a major change like this is hard for some to grasp because they are happy in their comfort zone. There is nothing wrong with making large, sweeping changes if those changes are for the long term benefit and survival of the Joomla Project. Now that these large changes have been voted on and approved, a transition plan will need to go into effect. Luckily, there is one but it definitely needs to be defined much better than it currently is.


I believe the transition period will not have a very quick timeline as much needs to be done before everything is officially set in place. A transition team is supposed to be formed soon to assist with the process.  It is unclear at the moment what this team will look like and what their responsibilities will be. We'll have to wait and see.


I believe the transition plan will have to contain the following elements:

  1. Inventory Of Working Groups

It is important to know where Joomla stands as a project. All of the existing working groups will need to be inventoried and documented. There is already a really great start of this at http://volunteer.joomla.org where pretty much every working group and their members are listed. This is very important so the leadership can get a high level “map” of the entire Joomla Project as a whole. It would be nice if they also inventoried all in process projects for each team as well so there is a clear understanding what everyone is presently working on right now. Each working group will need to clearly define its members and create some documentation of the group’s status of who does what within the group.


  1. Bylaw Updates

The existing OSM Bylaws will need to be amended and updated to reflect the new structure changes. The existing OSM Board of Directors will need to work with legal counsel to make sure that the bylaw changes are legally binding, do not have any major problems, and cover all parties involved.


  1. New Elections For OSM

This is the part that I think needs to be defined the most. The current OSM board consists of 10 directors. These 10 directors voted to extend their own terms for an additional 6 months during a special meeting on April 8th, 2015. I personally do not believe that these current board members should simply transition into the new OSM structure. I would like to see an open call for board member nominations be held and see about a 50% turnover ratio within OSM for the new structure. I think some existing board members with good history and track records as leaders would be the ones to keep. The ones that are burnt out, not hardly doing anything, and not productive should step down and allow some new energy and talented leaders be allowed to step up. In your business you would hire the best talent, not your friends just because you like them. OSM needs to get the right people for the job and have measurable action plans for each department. If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. I have always believed that OSM members should have non-renewable term limits, for example 2 years max. This would prevent the same people from re-elect themselves over and over again like the current bylaws allow.


It’s time to “grow up” and graduate into the real world so we can compete in the big boy CMS market much more than we ever have before. This isn’t your hobby CMS club anymore and it requires a higher caliber of leadership.


  1. Assemble Advisory Board and Ombudsman

This is something that is a bit more flexible. I envision these two teams would include possibly some previous members of leadership as well as some prominent members of the Joomla community that have exemplified their ethics and proven their trustworthiness to serve in these positions. But the real question right now is “How will these positions be filled?”

This is unsure yet. Will there be an open call for nominations? Will the community have a voice? Will the community have a vote?

There is still a lot that will need to be done and documented for these two groups before these two groups can be formed.


Change Management

As with any major change in an organization there will be both positives and negatives. I have seen this many times in the corporate world. The corporate world is even easier because they do not have to deal as much with outside community influence like an open source project does. Change management is going to be critical in this process and should not be taken lightly. Until this transition is officially over, we will have 3 leadership teams. And they will run just as they currently do. Some leaders will leave before it is finally over, in fact some have already left. Other leaders will stay and see their commitments through to the end of the process and I think that is commendable.


Time For A New Mindset

The vote is over. It does not matter if you like it or not, the reality is that this new leadership restructuring process is going to happen. If you are one of those that were hoping that this vote would not pass, I would like to ask you to try to have a more positive outlook and do what you can to be a part of the transition process. I truly think that poor attitudes, rude behavior, arguments, and just plain giving up on the Joomla Project is the wrong answer. If you love the Joomla Project as much as I do, you will work towards helping and focussing on helping the teams and leadership with this transition. The smoother this process happens means that any issues or missing gaps can be identified, resolved, tweaked, and adjusted more quickly.


Just because something has previously been done a certain way does not mean another way can work just as good if not better. I recently watched this video and it really opened my eyes to how much we can all be so strongly set in our ways. Watch it and hopefully you'll understand what I mean.


Documenting Process And Changes

Just like we do for developing the Joomla CMS software, maybe the Joomla Project could have an issue tracker to document issues that arise from this transition process. It would be a great way to document how things are addressed and what the results were for each action taken. I am confident that the people in charge of the project are smart enough to get things sorted out in a productive way. They really have no choice.


I believe that this new leadership structure will ultimately make processes and decisions more efficient, improve communications,  and ensure a productive atmosphere once all the bugs are worked out. It all just depends on how well we all work together for a greater long term goal and vision.

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