Some years back I was sad that PHPAdvent was not happening. And as the saying goes: If you are missing something, then you are the one responsible for it to happen. So I decided to make it happen. And I started this blog.
I invited people that I knew, to write about whatever they wanted. If it was something about the Community they feel at home with, that’s great but in the end I decided that it was their blogpost. So whatever the person felt right was right.
But gosh! That was draining. To be honest, it was exhausting. Starting at the beginning of November I reached out to get folks to write something for December. And that usually got me covered for the first few days. Of course – as time goes by – I got some more ideas of whom to invite for that year and about 50% committed to writing something. And a good number of those got their contributions in well in advance. And then there were those where I was literally having sleepless nights as, when the post should have been published, nothing was there. So I moved contributions around or wrote something myself.
And in these for me challenging times I learned one of the most important lesson for myself: When I told people the problem: There is no post for today due to reasons – I got one or two people writing something almost immediately. People do not want to see the project fail! People do not want to see you fail! Thank you Cal Evans! Thank you Stefan Koopmanschap! You saved me more than once!
In addition to this I learned so much from organising this project. I learned about the challenges of working with people from different time zones. I learned about different ways of handling deadlines. I learned about different ways to say “no”. I learned about diversity and that it is not really easy to get a diverse mix of contributions. I learned about different mediums of communication throughout the world, I learned about how hard it is to get contacts in some local communities.
And last year I learned how much easier it becomes when you share the burden between different people. Thanks Jonathan and Claudio for joining in.
And this year I learn how difficult it is to let go.
Jonathan and Claudio do an awesome job! Everything just falls into place. They struggle with the same things that I struggled with (usually between the 6th and the 10th to 12th there is a gap that needs to be filled somehow) but they manage to get over that with such an ease (from what I see) that I’m really envious! But it is still difficult to “let go”. To not have the final say in who’s going to write. To accept that we’re publicly asking who wants to contribute (That was an awesome idea – even though it wasn’t mine). To see that they are doing an awesome job without needing me.
Letting go isn’t easy. Handing over a project that is dear to me isn’t easy. But handing it over to people that do such an awesome job with it and that are so enthusiastic about it is the best that could happen to me!
So what do I learn from that? Try not to do it on your own. While it was fun to do it on my own it was much more fun to do it with others. And by inviting others and showing them how to do it and mentoring them, they can take over at one point. And then the most important lesson is: Hand over the baton! They will manage to do it on their own! I am still around for questions. But so far they didn’t need me.
So finding the right time when to hand over the baton might be a tricky part. Too early and they are not ready yet, too late and they think you won’t let them do it on their own. There is no mathematical solution to it. Perhaps if you think they are not 100% ready yet is the best point in time to give it a try. The missing stuff is then “training on the job”.
So the next time, you think about how to hand over this project of yours or how to pass on responsibility, think about who might just not 100% ready for it and talk to them! And the moment they ask you about taking over responsibility: Rest assured that they are ready!