Many companies use Joomla as the basis for their business. It's in everyone's interest to make Joomla work well. So Work4Joomla, allowing staff to work on Joomla and improve Joomla while at work is an initiative to do just that.
Over the last few months in the Joomla Community Magazine, we have explored two ways that you can personally give back to Joomla: Time4Joomla and Help4Joomla. The last in the 4Joomla series we explore Work4Joomla.
The idea is not new, when Joe Palmer and I formed SoftForge over a decade ago we were fortunate to have a wine merchant, Piers Hamilton, as a client. Piers would visit the office and usually bring a crate of wine. We then decided that after a fairly intensive and long week of late-night working, it would be nice to unwind and chill out on the Friday afternoon by opening the bottle of wine and dedicating the afternoon to Joomla matters.
It was not always possible to dedicate every Friday afternoon, clients have a habit of delivering content late, but we would try and it was good to revisit the idea every so often.
We found that setting such a regular time aside got those joomla related jobs done that would otherwise be lost in the working week.
When working through the different ways we could help Joomla the Work4Joomla was the first to come to mind following past experiences. Other Joomla related companies also have a similar practice. Some who work on Saturdays devote the first Saturday of the month to open source software development, others allow staff the resources of their office but the staff have to do the work in their own time.
Wouldn't it be fun to meet up at a set time of the week and devote time to Joomla? Log into a global chat room and see who needs help with testing, what documents need writing or what marketing material needs creating?
What's in it for my company?
But what's in it for the companies who are paying wages to staff to work on Joomla and not the clients work?
Lots, apart from an improved core Joomla you could ask staff to test pull requests that affect your clients’ workflows, to suggest and write pull requests that will help not only the community but also your clients. It may be that the next feature you need for a project you're implementing simply needs the work being done in the core to be added to, tested and merged to resolve an issue not just for your company, but many other users around the world.
We at SoftForge used to go through our notes and write up those forum posts that we came across in the week, detailing the answers and so helping others who came across similar issues. Similarly, spending an hour answering a few posts on forum.joomla.org or joomla.stackechange.com may help more people than you realise over time.Good karma can happen. We received calls from around the world on one issue which we had taken the time to document in an extensions forum. People who were commissioning work were messaging us directly as we had solved the problems in a visible way, they traced the forum posts back to the company and called to commission us. So a win-win for all concerned, other developers get to see the answer, we as a company got more work and the software extension got a problem fixed. All because we set aside the Friday afternoon to focus on those Joomla related jobs that otherwise would not get done.
Other colleagues regularly contributing to the above forums as well as extension specific forums often find that they even come back to their own answers years later to solve the same problem the next time it comes up. So though sometimes the work being done is paying it forward, at other times you might find you're creating your own shared knowledge base.
Time4Joomla will get you started
In September's introduction to Time4Joomla several self-paced tasks such as documentation, translation and patch testing were outlined as great starting points for individuals to get involved.
The same list scales up for Work4Joomla. If your company specialises in multilingual sites, one Friday afternoon spent translating a language you're familiar with may get that package completed. If your company implements sites and trains end users, then working on some tutorials in the Joomla documentation may help not just your own clients but others around the world.
User Groups and Events
You may also be in a position to look at running Joomla events through your company. Recently TechJoomla in India have begun running Joomla NXT event series. They're operating like a Virtual Joomla User Group, but have started these session to both promote Joomla as well as provide training and professional development opportunities for their teams.
Use Work4Joomla to facilitate Help4Joomla
Another way to get started with Work4Joomla is to encourage your employees to put their details into the Help4Joomla documentation page. That way we can get in touch from the project level with volunteers with specific skills needed for short term tasks. Often, these are small projects that could easily be completed in an afternoon by a small team participating in Work4Joomla.
This will also encourage networking between those actively involved in promoting Joomla and your staff which can only be a good thing. It’s through networking that the majority of our business opportunities have happened and it’s these sorts of opportunities that are the lifeblood of so many small businesses. More networking is always a good thing!