Drupal GovCon 2016: Highlights

Drupal GovCon 2016This was the highest attended Drupal GovCon yet! The amazing volunteers were kept on their toes, even swapping presentation rooms to accommodate all the interest in the most popular sessions.

GovCon is the largest Drupal event in government, drawing attendees from both the public private sector with the common goal to discover new ways to use open source solutions to make government work better.

CivicActions at Drupal GovCon

We were proud to be Diamond sponsors for the Con and to help with volunteering at the controlled chaos known as lunchtime!

Back by popular demand, we also offered free massages to participants in the spirit of keeping everyone balanced and relaxed.

Our team presented at four sessions and organized a coding sprint. Some themes that were discussed during the week included:

Security and Compliance

As excitement grows around open source tools and new smart technologies, so grows the concern around security — especially for those working in the public sector.

“It’s clear from the questions and discussions this year that people are still struggling with creating compliance around Drupal.” – Fen Labalme, Chief Information Security Officer at CivicActions

Responding to these concerns, CivicActions’ Fen Labalme and Adam Bergstein presented “Peeling Back The Onion: Drupal Security and Compliance” which highlights the importance of examining every layer of architecture to secure a Drupal site.

Andre Van Klaveren of Attain, LLC presented “Securing Drupal: Defense Against the Dark Arts” which covers best security practices for public sector organizations using Drupal.

Several other talks focused on accessibility for Drupal sites, and how that is related to compliance and security.

Government’s Move to Agile

Themes of agile methods in government were seen in several talks, and a BoF meeting led by Agile Government Leadership allowed folks to chat about their own agile experiments.

Are You Ready For the Government’s Move to Agile?” from Jonathan Mostowski at US Digital Services covered some of the tricky components of agile in government like contracting and procurement. The large turnout at that session indicated a strong interest in the nuts and bolts of how to move government IT to a more agile process.

Touching on agile from a product owner’s viewpoint, Heather Rodriguez presented “So Happy Together: How to Work With Your Vendor to Get a Product You’ll Love”.

Drupalers Are Diverse

Ana Willem at Drupal GovConA cornerstone of DrupalGovCon is its diversity — a range of ages, abilities, genders, and cultures represented and participating equally and with respect for one another.

The keynote session by Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech, focused on valuing and pursuing diversity in the gov tech community.

This theme was continued in several talks, such as ‘Avoiding Cultural Colonization at Work’ by Ana Willem — which got the whole room talking about the supportive and diverse work culture at CivicActions. (Pssst… we’re hiring!)

All Things Drupal 8

Of course there were plenty of sessions and discussions around Drupal 8 – theming, plug-ins, case studies, migration, security, development workflow, and more.

Some of these offerings included “Agile D8 Builds: Doing The Most Without PHP”, “Managing CSS and Javascript Files In Drupal 8 With Libraries”, “Six Drupal 8 Innovations You’ll Want To Use NOW”, and “Drupal 8 Theming Overview”.

Connecting and Community


Together with our fellow sponsors, Acquia and Mobomo, we hosted the Opening Social at Brickside – a wonderful time of engaging with old friends and making new connections. The noise level in the room bespoke the enthusiasm of over a hundred excited gov-tech nerds!

 Drupal GovCon reaffirms CivicActions’ commitment to the spirit of civic involvement by strengthening our ties with the open source community. As we continue to grow in our work with the public sector, gatherings like this inspire us to continue our quest to bring agile and open practices to transform government.
2017-03-31T06:19:53+00:00 Categories: Drupal, Drupal 8, Events|Tags: |

About the Author:

Melinda is a writer and content strategist who joined CivicActions in 2015 to help get all the right words into all the right places. She loves using storytelling to highlight the value of civic tech in the lives of citizens, bringing out the heart and soul behind the digital transformation projects that make the world a better place. She is responsible for content creation, editing, research, publication, organization, and promotion on a variety of web and social media platforms — ensuring that content is user-friendly and relevant.

Melinda brings bright enthusiasm and a passion for humanity to every project. Whether helping a technologist transfer a concept into laymen’s terms or crafting a story about a project achievement, she is happiest when someone exclaims, “That is exactly what I was trying to say!”  

In conjunction with her work at CivicActions, Melinda has provided project management, content strategy, and administration efforts for Agile Government Leadership (AGL), a community of civic professionals promoting the use of agile methods in government. She also helps foster community engagement and provides engaging content for the DKAN open data project.

Prior to joining CivicActions, Melinda was a freelance writer and content strategist for a variety of clients in the civic tech space, including DotGov (providing mobile apps to governments), PageFreezer (providing website and social media archiving to agencies), and Urban Interactive Studio (providing outreach and engagement tools for public processes).

Melinda is currently living in an Airstream motorhome with her partner and three young kids, adventuring around the U.S.A. and seeking out as many trees and oceans as possible. She has a deep appreciation for avocados, her kids’ artwork, Instagram, clever science-y blogs with stick figure illustrations, and craft beer.