Drupal Guild (A Prelude)

Today I am going to begin (again) to work on the Drupal Guild proposal. I’d love folks to take a little time to look at what is on the wiki and let me know if you have anything to add at this point (just edit the wiki if you have access) or send me comments if you don’t.

Drupal Guild


We are in a housing crisis and there are not enough skilled laborers to meet demand.

In the skilled trades, unions and guilds have provided a means for workers to be trained, and gain employment. Union workers, and Guild members generally have a credential that qualifies them to perform work.

Right now in the web development community anyone can download Drupal and hang a shingle out as a Drupal developer. They are judged by their customers on the quality of their work, and by prospective customers on their references.

Developers learn Drupal on your own, or on the job, there are no existing training programs.

Drupal development shops are experiencing a shortage of qualified Drupal developers, theme developers and application specialists to meet the demand for open source websites.


The Drupal Guild would provide a solutions to these problems. The Drupal guild would bring Drupal developers together in an organization that can certify skills levels, provide referral service, internship opportunities, and skills shares. As a “trade organization” Drupal Guild can provide added legitimacy to Drupal as a platform and member developers as vendors.

The Drupal Guild will also be a resource for Drupal development shops looking for:

  • qualified / experienced developers for projects
  • “apprentice” developers
  • opportunities to collaborate on module development,
  • collaboration on documentation and marketing for Drupal


Proposed structure:

  • Development Firms: join as guild sponsors. There is an annual membership fee. Sponsors commit to a Guild Sponsors Statement. The statement (to be determined by the founding sponsors) may include clauses like:

    • Guild Sponsors will:
      • provide intern / apprentice style positions available to “apprentice” and “journeyman” guild members
      • Posting job descriptions on the guild site
      • shar training documentation
      • participating in skills shares and other peer training opportunities.
      • Notifying guild members upon starting the development of a module.
  • Individual Drupal developers: join the guild for an annual membership fee.
    • Can submit to voluntary peer code review for certification. Upon completion of review they achieve a ranking as well as receive constructive critique of their work. Individual members receive woofie for leading skills shares, mentoring developers and other community building activities including writing documentation.
  • Developers interested in learning Drupal can join the Drupal guild can apply for guild membership and if accepted, join the guild for an annual membership fee. They gain access to the individuals and firms for training purposes including participation in skills shares, peer review of development, internships / apprenticeships with developers and firms.

Other Benefits

The Drupal Guild websitemembers can post resources (jobs, modules, or documentation writing, etc) that they have to offer or that they need. Self forming groups can work together on module development.

Professional Networking

  • Developer / Shop directory: a complete listing of all Drupal Guild Members with:
    • tag based categorization of areas of specialty, skills, services offered, intrest areas
    • Listing of major clients
    • Listing of major module contributions
  • Event Coordination
    • Drupal Guild events, open houses, social, professional, conferences, user groups



  • Guild members can:
    • post job listings
    • search/ view job listings
    • search developer list for developers with matching skills
    • subscribe to job listings

Module Development Coordination

Often times two or more groups of developers set out to work on building similar functionality at the same time without knowledge of the other group(s). This can lead to competing modules that are each narrowly focused on one client’s needs. Guild members will have the infrastructure to share development plans, collect and share use cases, create specifications, and develop in modules in a coordinated fashion if they so choose.

Drupal Guild Marketplace

  • Bounties
    • Guild members can post work for bounty
    • Non members can post work for bounty. These bounties enter into a moderation queue and can be reviewed, returned for redrafting, published to the site for general viewing. Guild Members review such public bounty requests.
  • Reverse Bounties
    • Guild members can post reverse bounties. (I will build x, here is the spec, i need $y)
    • Reverse bounties are visible to non guild members.
  • RFP / Project Referal Service
    • Non guild members can submit RFPs to the Drupal Guild where guild members can review, tag and rate them and choose to respond.
    • Drupal Guild market place will provide suggested RFP templates, questionnaires and other resources to help organizations and companies write better RFPs that are easier for vendors (guild members) to respond to.
    • Proposals submitted through the system can be directed to specific guild members, guild members can refer proposals to other guild members.
    • This is a voluntary system/service. Prospective clients can still of course submit RFPs of any format, and can send them directly to vendors and guild members outside of the system.

Not Just Developers

It take more than Drupal developers to develop a Drupal website project. The Drupal Guild recognizes the importance of Project managers as well as application specialists (who work with clients teaching them how to use Drupal modules and websites as well as provide beta testing feedback to Drupal developers). Graphic Designers and Hosting services are integral too. Professional working in these areas would also be eligible to join the guild, participate in skills shares in their field, share business process documents, training materials and best practices.

Project Managers


Graphic Designers


Application Specialists

Hosting Services

Statistics, Evaluation and Marketing Materials

The Guild will publish statistics about the work product of Guild members. These may include the number of Guild member developed websites, modules and documentation. Guild members would be able to use a Guild membership logo or icon on all their work product. This “stamp” of approval would signify that the developer was part of a professional association (like CPAs, Lawyers, Doctors) and help Drupal developers gain more legitimacy as well as help Drupal gain more legitimacy.


  • Number of Drupal Guild members at each skill level and in each expertise area
  • Number of Drupal Guild built websites
  • Value / Cost of Guild built websites in aggregate ($xxx,xxx,xxx)


  • Peer Review
  • Project Showcases: Guild members could present their work to Guild members via conference call, web seminar, etc…
  • Client Evaluation resources
    • Questionnaires to be used for pre project planning and post project evaluation
  • Rating Systems: Questionnaires could feed rating systems, ratings could be used for professional development and marketing.


  • Success Stories
  • Marketing Website
  • Module description boiler plate
  • the Stats can be used to market Drupal and Drupal Guild members
  • Drupal Guild “bug” or logo

Best Practices and Business Models

  • Evaluative materials
  • Project Planning Materials
  • Business Models



The Drupal Guild is a completely voluntary organization. It does not seek to control the sector or place burdens on developers, or Drupal. It is conceived to improve the Drupal ecology and act as a resource for Drupal Developers.

Drupal Guild membership is designed to be selective. Drupal.org and civicspacelabs.org provide resources for people working with Drupal. The Drupal Guild is designed for serious Drupal developers, it will provide a focused, professional space for communication, cooperation and collaboration on Drupal development projects. Drupal Guild membership will require a fee. The fee structure will be determined. Given the international nature of the Drupal development community, the structure might be balanced by nation of residence, or it could be tied to published rates of developers.

Organizational Chart

This chart depicts a possible organizational structure for a development shop and how it would interface with the Drupal Guild. It was designed by Mike Gifford

Drupal Guild Organization Chart



  1. PixelCorps http://www.pixelcorps.com/ is a “guild” for media and new media workers, mostly in the video and video editing disciplines from what i gather.




From Dan

This is cool. Very interesting stuff. I have some basic questions and comments however.

  1. In my limited understanding of history Guilds came about as a way of a profession limiting the number of competing service providers and keeping prices up. They often justified this by pointing out the advantages of having skilled labor doing a particular (complicated) task. For the most part (I believe) Guilds have been supplanted by the Government. We don’t have Guilds anymore – we have professional organizations and licenced practitioners (hair stylists, plumbers, nurses, therapists, doctors etc.). The government (supposedly) is only interested in quality of work – however they cede control to professional organizations that impose market issues in the mix.

Sort of. But i would rather not get into a history lesson about what guilds and unions have traditionally done. They have been, and are all kinds of guilds and unions that exist for a multitude of purposes. This guild would exist for the purposes stated above. -GH

Unions have a slightly different take – which is less elitist and (theoretically) more democratic than most guilds.

  1. What are the economic drivers for such an initiative?
    1. Increase the number of trained Drupal programmers. YES, but also to act as a conduit for best practices, the 3 “C”s, skills development, etc. -GH

    2. Marketing and sales advantage (we have DRUPAL programmers – they only have programmers). Not exactly. More like “We are a drupal shop. Drupal is legit. THere are lots others like us, hundred of members in the guild.” this can reinforce the FOSS no vendor lock in sales pitch. Also marketing materials for Drupal. There are lots of ACE hardware stores, they are owned indipendently, but ACE does advertising (And other stuff) -GH

  2. Why would someone put themselves into a Guild? Access to resources. -GH Why would they stay there? Because there are resources. There is no down side other than a reasonable membership fee, the upside is significant and outlined above. -GH

  3. Having been in the “programming” biz for quite some time I’ve seen a lot of discussion around Guilds, Unions, professional certification etc. Nothing has taken hold. Why would this be different? I have no idea. But I think that nature of the Open Source ecology calls out for this. Many of the arguments used against open source: that it is not mature, that developers fly by night, can leave you high and dry, have no support structure… these arguments can be defeated if FOSS developers join together around a specific project and create a structure. -GH

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