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In December 2012, the Hydra Steering Group plus a few other project members gathered at UCSD to reflect on Hydra's current state as it has largely accomplished the goals created at the founding of the project, and is entering a new phase of maturity and explosive growth. The discussions ( Hydra Community Growth Plan) led to an assessment and strategic plan to both grow the project and enhance its vibrancy and value to all participants as it grows. 


Current State Assessment for Hydra

As of year end 2012, Hydra has doubled in size from the founding three institutions, and doubled in size again; in the next year it's going to double one more time, with a Partner base of roughly two dozen institutions. This growth creates new opportunities and new demands on the project's social and community infrastructure. For the health and success of the project, it's critical that...

* we realize the opportunity to create a full suite of "solution bundles" in the HydraSphere, fulfilling the original project vision of one repo-body and many tailored apps to fulfill the full range of DAM needs of any given institution

* the technical framework advance to enable it to incorporate the code and coding of new partners and new solution bundles; without a robust code-sharing mechanism, we risk creating many (non-interoperable) point solutions within the framework

* the community framework evolves to cope with the increased number of participants, and enhance our centripetal strategies. This includes advancing the communication and collaboration channels to incorporate contributors from 3 continents across 12 time zones; and growing the governance & administrative structure of the project to keep pace with the needs of the growing community. 

If we can accomplish these three goals, the community will not only continue to grow, but it will thrive and realize the benefits of the collaboration we are all engaged in. 



Given this, a strategic plan for Hydra must address these elements:

1. development of a full suite of solution bundles, to satisfy individual institutions' diversity of needs as well as convince new partners & vendors to join the community. Hydra can distinguish itself as a (arguably, "the only") platform that can provide a full suite of repository-powered applications to meet the full range of solutions an institution may have. While other point solutions may rival any individual head, Hydra can offer many heads at minor marginal cost, and with full interoperability of content. 

2. development of both turnkey applications, and hosted Hydra solutions, to lower the barrier to entry for institutions that have the needs but not internal IT capacity to leverage a framework on their own.

3. growth and definition of the vendor ecosystem for implementation, integration, consulting, hosting, maintenance and other services, in a way that keeps the vendors active, aligned and healthy contributors to the whole project 

4. development of a training framework that scales, in order to facilitate bringing in new partners, while inculcating development and participation in the "Hydra way" (participatory, of quality, use of OSS best practices)

5. development of a documentation framework. Accurate, comprehensive and useful documentation is essential for both new and existing partners, and is a challenge to develop and maintain in a distributed environment. 

6. ongoing development and reaffirmation of centripetal strategies and the "core" of the technical framework. This means an architecture that allows interoperation and sharing of code, and sufficient investment to make sure Hydra is actually a coherent and robust technical framework, not simply a pattern of RoR apps on Fedora with little in common beyond that. 

7. development / reaffirmation of centripetal strategies in the community framework, to keep the project's participants bound together even as it expands in scope and scale; this includes evolving the partner / administrative / steering framework, defining relationships with the solution bundle sub-communities; defining relationships with vendors/service providers; and keeping developers & contributors in 3 continents / timezones communicating, in alignment, and developing complementary solutions

8. development of a marketing and community expansion plan. To date, much of the outreach has been through word of mouth; for Hydra to reach its full potential (and keep pace with similar solutions), concerted outreach to new communities and via all channels will help ensure a critical mass of Hydra adopters, an infusion of new energy, and a potential market for vendors. As part of this, Hydra will not only work to expand the user base, but also firm up the commitments and contributions from Partners, who are the project's core contributors and main engine of progress. 


Action Plan

 Strategy 1: Develop A Full Suite of Solution Bundles

 Strategy 2: Develop Turnkey / Hosted Solutions

 Strategy 3: Grow the Vendor Ecosystem & Define the Vendor Community Structure

 Strategy 4: Training Framework

 Strategy 5: Documentation Framework

 Strategy 6: Technical Framework

 Strategy 7: Community Framework 

Strategy 8: Community Expansion
(added after discussions at Sept 2013 Hydra Partners meeting at State College, Pennsylvania)

Progress against the 2013 Strategic Action Plan