Two years, I was sitting around a table of WordPress core and community leaders, swearing that I'd never lead a WordPress release. Yesterday, along with my Co-Lead Weston Ruter and Deputy Lead Jeff Paul, I released WordPress 4.9.
It feels a little like we've been working on this release forever. We kicked off the process in June, and since then we've been designing and building features to improve site customization. Launching last night felt shocking, and a relief. I've had many large projects launch in my career, but nothing as potentially impactful as this. I am still in awe of it all.
This was the first WordPress release where we've really embraced the co-leadership of design and development, and I think it was successful. Weston's organization and attention to detail really kept us on track. I am kind of a passionate individual (my friends are probably laughing now), and having such a solid co-lead to temper me really helped balance out this release. There's no way I would have been able to do this without him.
Weston wasn't the only organized one this release — without Jeff Paul, we would have been mired in the day-to-day planning. Having Jeff to keep track of meetings, check in with us, and review each stage of the release allowed us the freedom to focus on product decisions. His contributions have been immeasurable.
I am also thankful to 443 contributors who made this release possible. Over four hundred people! That's amazing. Among them are some fantastic developers I collaborated with almost constantly throughout the release: Konstantin Obenland, Sayed Taqui, and Brandon Payton. Michelle Weber and Krista Stevens provided much-needed copywriting help. Kathryn Presner's tremendous expertise in customer support and success helped make sure we were solving the right problems.
Lastly, there's no way I would have made it through this process without the emotional support of my friends and teammates at Automattic. My team lead Josepha Chomphosy listened to my every wish, complaint, and worry; both her advice and leadership helped me solve many issues throughout the release. Tammie Lister was my constant cheerleader and was gracious enough to review all of my design work, and provided me with crucial puppy videos during the final hours. Gary Pendergast was always there to remind me to have some fun and reassure me when I was worried I would fail. And how could I leave out my partner Kelly Dwan, who suffered through chaos, long nights, and probably too much delivery food over the past couple months with nothing but love and support?
WordPress is a group endeavour, and I am so honored to work with all of you.