“An expert is a person who has found out by his own painful experience all the mistakes that one can make in a very narrow field.”
- Niels Bohr

No Stranger to DrupalCon

I’ve been going to DrupalCon for seven years, and one development I’ve seen over time is that attendees are increasingly sophisticated about the process of web-project planning in general.

When sessions are given about planning web projects, people are generally bored with the basics. They are often eager for practical tips or models to work with that solve nuanced, higher-level problems. Or they may be equally satisfied to meet with a group of like-minded people to discuss common challenges, as long as the discussion begins at an intermediate or advanced level.

I attended a web conference four years ago where the presenter, a designer from Google, talked about the overwhelming number of domain areas that a modern web professional needs to know at least something about, from security to performance to SEO. The consensus in the room at that time was that, yes, this is an overwhelming list and that it was bound to only grow.

While there is still some truth to that, I think people are learning more and more to be strategic with their time, to invest in critical areas first, and to balance ambitions with organizational constraints, such as resources, skills etc. Most people have tried at least one project with the wrong assumptions, wrong skills, faulty understanding of requirements and so on. They have been burned, and have gained expertise through these mistakes :). Among other things, they have learned to prioritize.

This is actually an exciting development for people who work with the web. It means that, more and more, there is buy-in for areas of agreed high ROI and critical activities, such as UX, content strategy and continuous improvement (though the last one is still in infancy in many organizations). The next step is actually allocating proper funding for those areas! But at least the awareness is there. One step at a time.