Accepted Sessions

Project Management

There are two types of mistakes, errors of ignorance (mistakes we make because we don’t know enough), and errors of ineptitude (mistakes we make because we don’t use of what we know). No matter how much of an expert you are, a well-designed checklist can improve outcomes. A checklist is a written…
This talk will focus on a large scale Drupal project as a case study for this topic. Products as Projects If the focus or your group's work can be considered a product, then ideally, development delivers features into operation, to the delight of customers. While dividing different aspects of the…
If you have been around software development for a while, you know that feature creep can kill any project dead in its tracks. Defining a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can keep feature creep in check enough to launch a project that can then be iterated upon in future releases. Fewer, or simplified…
Government contracts are increasingly asking for Agile project teams. But government systems from contracts to delivery are designed for Waterfall. How can we as project managers, engineers and designers meet client demands while still leveraging the benefits of our Agile methodology? In this…
When taking a law enforcement website from one platform to the next, it can seem like a daunting task with various stakeholders at play. These growing pains are what we, the ATF Media Branch, went through to launch the organization’s Drupal version of www.ATF.gov in 2016. This included taking a…
What happens when you encounter a project that seems broken beyond repair, but for whatever reasons, a brand-new fresh start is not possible? You may run into the following challenges with these "broken projects": No clear scope No requirements documentation Far less remaining budget Far less…
It's often difficult for Project Managers, CIOs or other leadership to understand "computer stuff". In this session, we will provide 6 high level lightning talks on topics that will break down why leadership should understand technology issues from a high level birds eye perspective. We'll provide…
“Agile Product Managers are not Project Managers” is a well-known truth in agile project management. However, project managers have many skills that can transfer into the product management role. In this session, I will explain how project managers can retrain themselves to become effective product…
Do you have a team that has lost their stride and lost interest in their work? Do you understand what really drives teams to perform their best? As a manager what can you do to create an environment where employees feel engaged and enjoy coming to work? This session will: Help you understand what…
Throughout my career of two decades of Web development, I've been given some really terrible advice. As I persisted, despite them, I advanced to a position of leadership. That opened the door to some more really terrible advice about how to manage. There’s a difference between being a boss and…
Product management and project management are two of today’s fastest-growing roles. Harvard and Cornell are among the business schools that have added product management curriculums to meet demand from students. Meanwhile, the Project Management Institute predicts that employers will need 88…
Did you know that a project can fail even when you use best practices in project management and development? In fact, it's almost guaranteed to fail if you don't think about the soft skills needed when working with internal and external teams. Many times, we think of the most important parts of a…
The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse across America shaped up to be one of the greatest scientific events of a generation - a sentiment shared by over 40 million viewers that tuned-in to NASA’s online coverage of all things Eclipse over just a few hours.  Needless to say, there’s a significant amount of…
We all know DevOps is about tools, right? Download a few open-source packages, rev up your CI/CD engine and you're off to the races! FINALLY, we can have 100% error-free software deployments every 11 seconds with nary a human being involved! Except that automation has never been a cure-all for…
For most teams working in an Agile environment, the backlog is the central artifact for planning, measuring, and tracking our work. On the other hand, given all the manipulations the backlog goes through, it can easily become an impediment to a project’s success. Key topics: In this session we will…
Usability testing is how we know that what we have created is really resonating with our users. It is a waste of resources to build the perfect "thing" only to have users ignore it, as if it isn't there. If only there was a way to get user feedback as part of the development and design process.…

Content Strategy

Successfully migrating to a new CMS is as much a Change Management program as it is a Technology project. In this session we will follow the journey of two government agencies that went through Drupal migrations in two very different ways. Using a fun and interactive story about two families…
As a content strategist or site builder/architect, you’ve most likely encountered CMS bloat, like a Drupal website with three times the number of content types it needs, or a dozen taxonomy vocabularies that rarely get used. In this session, we’ll look at techniques to fight that bloat by designing…
It's the email every content manager dreads. "These two web pages aren't consistent. Can we make sure that we're saying the same thing on our website?" On a really bad day, there are 30 people on the CC field. Maintaining consistency across a website—especially on big .gov or other publishing-heavy…
The development community has seen an immense increase in productivity through automation and other tools created through the DevOps community. Why shouldn't the content strategy community take advantage of the same concepts? In this session I will outline a set of tools Lullabot uses to automate…
A spectre is haunting the web strategies of America's governments, museums, associations, and enterprise businesses -- the spectre of Document Libraries: page after page of link after link to .txt, .rtf, .doc, .docx, .dotx, .pps, .ppt, .pptm, .pptx, .xls, .xlsx, .pdf, .odf, .odg, .odp, .ods, .odt…
Despite what you may have read, SEO is not dead. But it has changed shape over the years. The good news is that maintaining your site’s search engine visibility doesn't have to be “one more thing on your plate.”  While improving SEO can seem overwhelming, especially for government agencies, there…
It doesn’t matter how great your content is if your users can’t find it. Drawing on experience designing Drupal platforms for government agencies and nonprofit organizations, learn how to leverage empirical design methods to define and evaluate effective information architecture. Discuss how a user…
Content! It’s everywhere! It’s displayed on websites and in apps. It’s streamed to smartphones, televisions, and watches. It’s heard on podcasts, radios, and Amazon Alexa. With so many platforms, how can you keep pace with the rapidly changing landscape of content management and publishing? In this…
Is your team gearing up to migrate a site into Drupal 8? In this presentation, I’ll walk through the steps I’ve taken to prep my developer for a Drupal 8 migration. Topics covered will include the following: Factors that affect migration Different migration methods and when to use each What to look…
Personalization is the new digital experience battleground, but what kind of personalization is most effective and how do you implement it? While adding personalization to your digital assets may seem daunting there are many strategies to phase in personalization and improve citizen experience and…
Since 2016, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Digital Services team has been hard at work reinventing our digital front door, Mass.gov. The new site is agency agnostic: We want constituents to feel confident that they can find what they need without having to know which agency or bureaucratic…
Content migration is often one of the most time-consuming headaches of a web redesign or build, but it’s also one of the most critical elements of a successful site. Don’t think it’s just getting your content moved from one system to another. It is the “meat” of your website and doing it without…
A content audit is the basis for ensuring great user experience. It helps align your organization’s brand, message, and objectives with the needs and expectations of your site visitor. It lays the groundwork for the site architecture, content model, and page layouts. It addresses content ownership…
Content is a part of every project. From a full article on a web page to a single word on a button, every word defines how a user experiences technology. So every project should incorporate thoughtful content strategy. Come learn more about what microcopy is and why content strategy matters for…

Design, Theme + UX

Section 508 law has changed! Federal agencies must comply by the updated accessibility standards as of January 2018. Join Drupal Front End Developer Karen Kitchens and accessibility expert and designer Daniel Ferro as they go over Section 508 2.0 and how the updated accessibility law ties into your…
Over the last two years our community has seen the rise of countless solutions to implement design systems and components within Drupal. During the same period across camps, cons and the internet at large Adam and Brian have been having an ongoing conversation about best practices in component…
I set out to build the best user Authoring Experience for my Drupal based systems a few years ago. At the same time, I was experimenting with a technology called Polymer and went down a rabbit hole to a magical land called "Front end development" and more specifically the future of all development…
In discussions about accessibility and diversity, our thoughts tend to jump to ARIA links, screen readers, and people of different ethnicities. While these are key aspects to both topics, this talk will push your thinking to considerations beyond accessibility and diversity basics. At its core,…
Today, the lion’s share of key decisions about citizens and their experiences are owned by a small contingent of educated people. But when those biases are released into the community, there is only so much we can do to rescue an investment that fails to resonate. However, there is hope; in some…
The Digital Services Playbook defines several guidelines towards improving government digital services by becoming more user-centric and putting user experience at the forefront of all service and product design.  However, rules and regulations currently hinder both government agencies and…
Increasingly in the digital age, government and community change-makers depend on reliable and digestible big data, disseminated across digital platforms. Two different products, the City Health Dashboard (cityhealthdashboard.com), and County Health Rankings and Roadmaps (countyhealthrankings.org…
Storybook is a development environment for UI components built using JavaScript frameworks including React, Vue, and Angular.  While it does share some similarities to projects like Pattern Lab, it also provides some unique options for visualizing the interactive state of your application, along…
JavaScript had it’s biggest release since 1996 with ES6 (ECMA2015), and new features are being added with regular releases. Have you begun the process of transitioning your coding style on your Drupal sites? In this session, we’ll look at several new features available in ES6, including new…
Before Drupal 8 and its integration of Twig, limited PHP knowledge generally meant limited control over your site's theme layer, particularly its templates and markup. Thanks the the power of Twig, you no longer need to be a PHP wizard to work magic with custom templating. This session walks…
“Understanding the process of finding a solution is far more valuable than the solution itself.” Lea Verou, author of CSS Secrets. The addition of Twig has revolutionized the way we do theming in Drupal 8. Although very powerful and expressive, it is significantly different to what we did before.…
Larry Gillick (DOI.gov) & Scott Horvath (USGS.gov) With the revision in accessibility requirements, audio description has become an important challenge for federal websites to meet. Divergent efforts within the U.S. Department of the Interior have led to a pair of technology solutions and a…
If you have been working with accessibility on the web, you’ll know that the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG version 2.0) have been around since 2008. In those nine years, the web and the way we interact with it has changed — a lot. Since version 2.0 was released the smartphone…
Much of what we do as content and site creators is done with type. For both effective communication and Website performance, how it’s implemented can be a delicate balancing act. With the advent of variable type, new methods are available that allow us to communicate more effectively (and…

Keynote

Adam Bergstein is a technical architect/engineer/project manager with a Masters degree in Application Security and is  Acquia Grand Master certified.. Adam has worked and provided services in higher education, government, and consulting sectors. Adam is an advocate for continuous learning and is a…
Over the last two decades, Deborah Bryant has focused on open source software; supporting communities of developers through both her work and non-profit board contributions; successfully advocating for the use of open source in the public sector and assisting government in adapting their policies…
Julián Rodriguez Orihuela is the National Director of Digital Services for the Government of Argentina As the National Director of Digital Services for Argentina, Julián is in charge of the implementation of both the  website for the country  www.argentina.gob.ar as well as the citizen dashboard My…

Business + Community

If you've ever logged into Google Analytics and wondered just exactly you were looking at and what to do with it, this session is for you. We'll break down all that Google Analytics has to offer, how to decide which metrics are right for you, and how to use that information to make decisions to…
The team that reinvented Mass.gov is now charged with bringing a data-driven, constituent-centric, “digital first”, approach to all of the state's web properties. Our vision is to stitch together a coherent experience across Massachusetts' diverse constellation of websites and technology stacks.…
Becoming a manager is awesome! You have a whole team of people you can pass projects off to, so that you can focus on strategy, innovation and leadership! Wait, why aren't you passing projects off to your team? They won't do it the way you do it? They might make a mistake? You don't have time to…
Good work leads to promotions -- and promotions from development to management come with more than increases in responsibility. While they're often awarded based on mastery of one skill set, they require you to learn a whole new one. Plus, the methods you've previously used for learning new skills…
When a project goes wrong, most of the time it fails as a result of mismatched expectations.  This can be avoided for most clients by following a repeatable and thorough discovery process.  Understanding how to ask the right questions up front can mean the difference between happy clients who are…
Diverse communities are strong communities, and Drupal is less diverse than we would like. Open source has the potential to transform society for the better, but we are currently missing out on much of that opportunity. We can make the Drupal project better by making the Drupal community a place…
I drank the Drupal community Kool Aid about 7 years ago at a moment in my life when I was looking for more than just a CMS. Drupal and the Drupal community have filled needs for me that extend beyond the technical requirements of a client project. Sometime, I wonder if I expect too much from a…
Everyone will face criticism. No matter what you do. No matter how good you are. And the more invested you are in your work, the harder it is when someone comes along and criticizes it. In this talk, I address both the personal and professional aspects of dealing with criticism. We will go over:…
So you want to use Drupal, but lack developers -- just hire a contractor, right? Maybe look for a small business -- but then how do we pick from the many (many!) quotes that come in? We'll talk about choice of contracting vehicle, the RFI, RFQ and selection process. Then we'll open-up the…
Sharing is at the root of our community. We share code, knowledge, experiences, and sometimes even conflict—all in the interest of making Drupal better, our community stronger, and improving ourselves. But sharing is rarely easy to do. Competing forces like lack of time, imposter syndrome, and the…
It happens in every project across every organization. Deadlines approach, scopes expand, QA finds bugs and engineers do what they do best: make a square peg fit in a round hole. Never has a software project been launched without introducing a non-zero amount of technical debt: cludgy code, hacky…
It’s often too easy to scope a project based solely on a list of client requirements—and ultimate end goal—while overlooking where the real impact will be—with the end user. Whether your projects are non-profit or for-profit, connecting with your audience is what ultimately determines project…

Devops, Performance, Security + Privacy

This session will explore techniques that web development teams and QA teams can use with Probo.CI to automate accessibility testing with some command line tools and APIs available today. While automated accessibility testing is not foolproof, it can quickly identify possible problems that should…
This past Spring, Drupal site maintainers raced to patch their sites to address back-to-back critical security issues on Drupal 7/8 that required action within hours. This is in an ever evolving security environment that is seeing a greater range of hostile actors executing more sophisticated,…
Most development agencies have started the migration from VM's to containers and using docker. With docker and docker-compose becoming a more mature technology, and the improvements by the drupal community; it's easier than ever to replace vm's in your development workflow with lighter weight…
Continuous Integration and Deployment continue to be an interesting challenge moving forward with Drupal 8. Hosting platforms are now providing "kits" to provide some of these services if you are willing to take the plunge and implement them. So far, Acquia has given you bits and pieces to this…
We all know that your website’s performance is critical to the success of its mission. Conversion rates are proven to plummet if with every second of page load time.  What can we do about this? Why is the web still slow in 2018? In this session, we’re going deep into modern web performance, and you…
It’s hard enough building websites that are accessible, meaningful and useful, it’s worse to have to do so in a consistent manner while handling frequent upgrades. Developers are constantly required to migrate code as clients upgrade or maintain environments, taking significant time that could be…
How do we know we are delivering the right things? How are we informing our customers of this work and getting their feedback effectively? How can we find out what will improve our product? With all of the advances in DevOps, it is easy to focus on delivering more, faster, as our important measures…
We often think of DevOps in a siloed context (eg one project at a time), but having an organizational DevOps plan/strategy and some cross project standardization is really how you benefit. This talk is about the business value of horizontal DevOps across people and projects.   Who? Beginner /…
Section 508, Accessibility regulations and usability best practices can become cumbersome.  We have taken advantage of Drupal and automated tools to help alleviate challenges on content editors and QC testers. Join us to learn what hooks and other tools we use to make testing and compliance easier…
Drupal 8 has changed a lot and the process of creating, building, testing and deploying a site is not the exception. During this session, you will understand the process of creating, building, testing and deploying Drupal 8 sites, and learn which tools you can use to improve your local development…
Giving up a manual task to automate it can feel like something straight out of a science fiction story like “Westworld”. Giving up the time required to innovate process improvements is also a difficult pill to swallow. We know automation is essential to any DevOps project, but why? Is it really…
The world of technical operations has never been more exciting: skies full of clouds, containers full of containers, and servers serving without servers. Yet, teams still struggle with changing code safely, scaling effectively, and recovering when disaster strikes. Drawing on firsthand lessons…
Continuous integration methodologies and containerization technology can deliver huge efficiency gains for web development teams. However, even though many teams are overburdened with feature requests, new projects, and other #DevProblems they still still spend countless, often needless hours …
There are a lot of obvious benefits to using version control for your projects, but there are a lot of non obvious benefits too. In this session, learn how to create an industrial grade version control workflow using Git and automatic testing. Topics that will be covered include: How to Use Git…

Coding + Development

508 compliance and WCAG 2.0 have been around for decades in an attempt to make sure websites are accessible to all people, regardless of disability. While these guidelines have been around for quite some time, over the past few years we’ve seen an increase in high profile lawsuits for websites that…
A decoupled, API-first architecture can be fast and efficient. But it can also generate lots of different things in the oddest places: calendar events over here, a newsroom over there, and loads of actual content in a whole bunch of places. And if you’re a developer interacting directly with…
•    Portable scan stations can be used at conferences, meetings, offices, buildings, or any access-controlled points. Within one second of scanning, the Drupal backend is consulted and a decision is announced: Enter, Your Meeting is in Room 1024, or See the Service Desk or any other message that…
We've started embracing the world of Composer, the PHP dependency manager. However, it has become one of the biggest pain points reported by  Drupal 8 developers. Once using Composer with Drupal, you can no longer simply download zip files to manage your project. I will go over Composer basics;…
REST APIs have become an integral part of the development best practices emerging in the Web Application industry today. REST is a logical choice for building APIs, as it allows users to connect and interact with cloud services. Drupal 8 core includes the HAL module which allows for a consistent…
It is all fun and games modifying existing code, but what about when you have to venture out to unknown waters and create your own custom module? Don’t worry! We can get through this together! This talk is a deep dive into creating custom modules from scratch, and the role of each component in the…
Everything (nearly) about Drupal 8's development process is different than it was in Drupal 7. Some of it is a "little" different and some of it is so totally different you wouldn't recognize it as belonging to the same software. That's ok! Different isn't scary, it's just... different.  One of my…
Whether it is for re-using the same code or deploying a bug fix or just for better document management, one of the most important leaps any site builder will ever take in their path towards becoming a developer is learning a version control system, or VCS.  Since Git is the standard VCS over 80% of…
Moving from a collection of single websites to a managed Drupal 8 platform can usher in high-value advantages and efficiencies such as accelerated site creation, sharing common features, user data, and content. This session is intended for technical audiences and will discuss some of the most…
In this session we will analyze different strategies for decoupling Drupal 8, Whether we are pursuing a fully decoupled architecture, a progressively decoupled architecture or a standard Drupal architecture. With this presentation I will answer questions like: Which architecture should we choose? …
Co-speakers: Natalie Beneventi, Web Operations Coordiator, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and Kevin McCulloch, Lead Developer/DevOps Engineer, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts/New Target The Administrative Office of the United States Courts is an agency within the judicial branch…
To cache or not to cache?  That question has confounded the Drupal community for years and created a whole slew of separate challenges along the way.  How do we create performant sites at scale while still allowing content editors to use the Drupal platform they know and love? Static site…
Outline: Composer is an open-source one stop shop tool for updating (or reverting) Drupal core, modules, and patches that will also manage all of their dependencies while also help improving your site’s security. This presentation will show you how you can use this powerful tool for your project…
Drupal excels at empowering people to manage data and curate their content. With the initiative towards further decoupled architectures, we can serve that content in a variety of new and interesting ways. Drupal is already really really good at storing and maintaining lots of data. Now imagine the…
In this session we’ll map out how the parts of Drupal 8 work together by examining how Drupal is like Walt Disney World! Having an accurate mental model of a complex system helps you work more effectively. Basing the model on a fun and friendly place like Walt Disney World makes it both more…

Site Building + Using Drupal

Configuration is a key concept in Drupal 8 that sits at the intersection of backend development, dependency management, theming, site building, and (in)sanity. Already the community has seen several significant shifts in the recommended "best practices" and with the announcement of a second…
Follow Voters Pledge as it built an interactive Drupal 8 site using production-ready modules. Learn the basics of Composer and get an introduction to H5P interactive content.
One of Drupal's biggest strengths is its ability to create semantic relationships between pieces of data. But what happens when site builders take these relationships too far? We'll explore some of the most recent trends in site building like Paragraphs, Entity Reference Revisions, Field Collection…
We have a One EPA Web philosophy at EPA.gov along with 39 web standards. We built the WebCMS to support those requirements. We built a Drupal Training site.  We also offer classes for everyone at the Agency.  We programmed into our system, content review.  If content is not reviewed, it is removed…
Voice Assistants are beginning to play a large part in our everyday lives - with the popularity of Amazon Alexa growing, organizations will need to consider how to best extend their omni-channel content strategy to include delivery of content on voice and chat platforms. In this session, we will…
Drupal has emerged as a powerful platform to help governments successfully manage open data initiatives. The Drupal distribution DKAN is a community-driven open data platform with a full suite of data cataloging, publishing, and visualization features. Used by countries worldwide - plus U.S. states…
Drupal 8 is a powerful CMS, and integrating Salesforce with it—one of the most widely used CRMs in the market—makes it user/member focused, too. Many organizations use Salesforce as their CRM to store member information. By integrating Drupal with Salesforce, members will be able to manage all…
Media is now in core!  Feel free to break out into your happy dance at any point while reading this abstract.  Let's be honest...handling media in Drupal has been a nightmare in the past.  Now that media is in core—thanks to the Drupal Media Team—handling images, video, and other media assets has…
“Should I use Drupal multisites or multiple sites?” was the question often asked by many Drupal architects and developers when building multiple Drupal sites. To help you answer this question, we will share our experience and lessons learned in working with several Drupal sites using the Drupal…
One thing that makes Drupal CMS stand apart from all others is its vast community of users available right at our fingertips on Drupal.org. We ask and browse questions, share versatile solutions, or simply high five each other in our quests to make beautiful, functional, and accessible government…
We will explore the Group module in D8; how to set it up and configure your groups. Discover the power of a module properly using the D8 Entity API and the flexibility and usability that comes with it! Along with that, natural integrations with D8 core field API, Views in core make this module a…
Drupal is an extremely flexible system. To achieve this, various layers of abstractions were built into it. A lot of concepts were created to explain these abstractions. Unfortunately, they are not always intuitive. For example, the ubiquitous word 'node' does not represent a point in a network nor…
*Composer Beginners, that is ;-) ​​In this session, you'll learn the basic basics (technical term) of using composer to manage a Drupal 8 site. There's a steep, painful learning curve for many strong Drupal site builders who start using composer with their Drupal 8 sites.  This session will help…