Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Puttin' on the Big Girl Pants

Ok. I had a conversation today that felt painful to me. It was a design conversation. I thought it'd go a lot more like - "oh wow, that's so amazing" or the like, given how many months I've put into developing an architecturally complex website on the Drupal platform and in migrating over (& exploding into many discrete pieces) existing static html webpages. Instead it revealed all of the myriad, minute problems that I have to address from the perspective of several people. It was good to have a spirited discussion about the issues, but it left me a bit gun-shy for the next such conversation.

While I'd been slugging it out with the final pieces of site development, I'd occasionally glanced over at the  Twitter at the end of the day. I'd seen all of the optimistic, library-world-changing tweets out of the R-Squared library innovation conference. I remembered when I used to feel the way those conference participants felt. I remembered that I'd promised that I would have the "design conversations" with my stakeholders. That an open, transparent, and conversational process would make the development of a Drupal-based site a smoother process. I didn't realize how much push-back I would deal with during those conversations. How it wouldn't really feel like we were working as a team toward the same goals, but would rather feel like I was a vendor trying to build them something that they didn't want to buy...

There's just such a dichotomy between the idealistic and hopeful atmosphere described in this blog post about R-Squared conference and the reality that I run into when I try to make these things happen in my own organization, that I'm left feeling a bit demoralized. I'm sure I'm not the only one that this happens to, but I don't know what to do about it. In my dreams, all librarians would work together to empower one another to make the necessary changes in their field and their organizations.

So back to the Drupal site -- I still think that having these "design conversations" is the right thing to do (even when a part of me wonders if the people I have those conversations with will ever be fully satisfied). I guess for now I'll put on my big girl pants and get back to work so that I can have another "design conversation" tomorrow.

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