Co-operative Drupal: Growth & Sustainability through Worker Ownership

Finn Lewis

[Slides from session:]

It has never been a better time to own your Drupal workplace! The increasing number of worker owned Drupal companies is perhaps a testament to this.

With economic and political uncertainties in Europe, the recent growth in open source adoption is sure to continue as all sectors seek more cost effective and flexible software solutions. As Drupal 8 sets a new standard for open source content management, now is a great time to start or to grow your own Drupal business.

But starting or growing a business on your own can be a daunting prospect. 

With a worker owned business, you can share both the responsibilities and the profits fairly between all employees. This will increase motivation and dedication to the company, lead to more efficient teams, reduce the stress and increase job satisfaction, ultimately producing better quality work, happier clients, happier workers and a more sustainable business.

The recent growth in self organising teams represents a welcome and natural shift away from hierarchical structures towards more distributed and devolved responsibility within Drupal agencies. With agile teams, distributed workers and holacracy, companies are clearly seeing the benefits of flat management structures and autonomous teams. However, we suggest that to fully realise the potential benefits, it is not enough to self-manage, you also need to be self-owned: a worker co-operative being a logical conclusion.

In this session we will share our experiences of running a Drupal agency as a worker co-operative for the last 5 years, growing organically to 12 people. We have faced many similar challenges to conventional businesses of similar size: how to grow, how to ensure a steady pipeline of work, how to manage human resources, how much to pay our staff, how to make decisions. What is probably different is how we’ve addressed these challenges.

Through transparency, openness, communication and democratic worker governance, we have created a company culture that we are proud of and we look forward to sharing what we have learnt so that others may benefit.

Attendees will leave this session with a good understanding of:

  • the worker co-operative as an ownership and governance model.
  • the great fit between the co-operative principles, the GPL licence and the Drupal community.
  • how decisions are made in a worker co-operative.
  • how total transparency works in practice.
  • how disputes and disagreements are resolved.
  • growth and sustainability in a worker co-operative.
  • where to find resources and support to set up a worker co-operative.

No previous knowledge is required, just an open mind.

We hope to inspire others to form new Drupal co-operatives and intend to leave plenty of time for questions.


Session Track


Experience Level


Drupal Version

When & Where

Thursday, 28 September, 2017 - 13:35 to 14:00
Stolz 2