Quality over Quantity

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I was in Portland last week for a work week and Michelle recommended that I try the donuts at Blue Star. The blueberry donut was really great. The inside of the bakery was interesting too—right inside the doors was a big mural that said ‘Quality over Quantity’.

20140812_085436

That turned out to be an good summary of the work week. We were checking in on progress toward this year’s goal to grow the number of active contributors by 10x and also thinking about how we could increase the impact of our community building work next year.

One clear take-away was that community building can’t be all about growth. Some teams, like Location Service, do need large numbers of new active contributors, but many teams don’t. For instance, localization needs to develop the active contributors already in the project into core contributors that can take on a bigger role.

For me, creating a draft framework that would give us more ways to support teams and communities was the most important thing we did—in addition to taking a great team photo :)

cbt_portland_photo_fun

Growth is part of this framework, but it includes other factors for us to look at to make sure that we’re building healthy functional and regional communities. The health measures we think we should be focusing on next year are:

  • Retention (how many contributors are staying and leaving)
  • Growth (how many new contributors are joining)
  • Development (how many contributors are getting more deeply involved in a project)
  • Sentiment (how do contributors feel about being involved)
  • Capacity (how are teams increasing their ability to build communities)

Having this more nuanced approach to community building will create more value because it aligns better with the needs we’re seeing across Mozilla. The growth work we’ve done has been critical to getting us here and we should continue that along with adding more to what we offer.

scubidiver_video_poster

There is a video that Rainer just posted that has a story Chris Hofmann told at last year’s summit about one contributor that had a huge impact on the project. This is a great example of how we should be thinking more broadly about community building.

We should be setting up participation systems that let us help teams build long-lasting relationships with contributors like Scoobidiver as well as helping teams connect with large numbers of people to focus on an issue for a short time when that is what’s needed.

Moral of this story: Eat more donuts—they help you think :)


People are the hook

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

One of Mozilla’s goals for 2014 is to grow the number of active contributors by 10x. As we’ve been working on this, we’ve been learning a lot of interesting things. I’m going to do a series of posts with some of those insights.

The recent launch of the contributor dashboard has provided a lot of interesting information. What stands out to me is the churn — we’re able to connect new people to opportunities, but growth is slower than it could be because many people are leaving at the same time.

areweamillion_coding

To really highlight this part of the data, Pierros made a chart that compares the number of new people who are joining with the number of people leaving. The results are dramatic — more people are joining, but the number of people leaving is significant.

churn_chart

This is understandable — the goal for this year is about connecting new people and we haven’t focused much effort on retention. As the year winds down and we look to next year, I encourage us to think about what a serious retention effort would look like.

I believe that the heart of a retention effort is to make it very easy for contributors to find new contribution opportunities as well as helping them make connections with other community members.

Stories we’ve collected from long time community members almost all share the thread of making a connection with another contributor and getting hooked. We have data from an audit that shows this too — a positive experience in the community keeps people sticking around.

kitherder_demo

There are many ways we could help create those connections. Just one example is the Kitherder mentor matching tool that the Security team is working on. They did a demo of it at the last Grow Mozilla meeting.

I don’t know what the answer is though, so I’d love to hear what other people think. What are some of the ways you would address contributor retention?


Community Building Stories

Monday, July 21, 2014

One of Mozilla’s goals for 2014 is to grow the number of active contributors by 10x. For the first half of the year, the Community Building team has been supporting other teams as they connect more new contributors to their projects.

Everyone on the team recently blogged about their experience supporting projects. The stories below show different stages in the lifecycle of communities and show how we’re helping projects progress through the phases of starting, learning, scaling and then sustaining communities.

We’ve learned a lot from these experiences that will help us complete the goal in the second half of the year. For example, the Geolocation pilot event in Bangalore will be a template for more events that will connect more people to the Location Services project.

Photo courtesy of  Galaxy Kadiyala

Photo courtesy of Galaxy Kadiyala

These are just a few of the stories of community building though. There are many other blog posts to check out and even a video Dia made about how contributors made the Web We Want video available in 29 different languages.

dia_video_poster

I’d love to hear what you’ve been doing to connect with more contributors and to hear about what you’ve learned. Feel free to leave links to your stories in the comments below.


Data driven community building

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One of Mozilla’s goals for 2014 is to grow the number of active contributors by 10x. We’re almost half way through the year and we haven’t had a way to track our progress toward that goal—until now.

Pierros Papadeas, Adam Lofting, Sheeri Cabral, Anurag Phadke and several other people have been working on gathering contribution activity data and putting it on the new areweamillionyet.org dashboard.

areweamillion2

For the second quarter, we had a goal to launch a dashboard showing 5,000 active contributors as a milestone toward the year end total of 20,000. I’m excited that we’ve done that (plus done a bit more by showing over 7,000 active contributors).

Having this dashboard does much more than just complete a quarterly goal though. This enables people doing community building work to be more effective at their job and to optimize contribution pathways to connect even more people to the mission.

areweamillion_coding

For example, the view of Firefox coding contributors shows a higher growth rate than the overall contributor growth and this is great feedback that Mike Hoye and Josh Matthews are having an impact with mentored bugs and with other efforts to support new coding contributors.

I’m proud to be part of a team that is focused helping all teams have the kind of success in connecting with new contributors that Mike and Josh are having. Making more data available to more teams is one way we’ll be able to do that.

Currently we’re just showing data from Bugzilla, Github and SUMO. We’ll be adding more data to this dashboard throughout the rest of the year. Check out the Baloo roadmap for details of what’s coming next.


Enabling communities that have impact

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

If I had to summarize the Town Hall about the goal to increase the number of active contributors by 10x this year, I would use the word ‘intention’. This word captures how this is the time we pivot from unplanned to planned community building.

To learn more about why we need to become intentional about community building, what our vision is of where we need to be going and what we’ll get by making this shift, take a look at the recording of the Town Hall presentation and Q&A.

community_townhall_poster

We had the Town Hall in the San Francisco space and right outside the entrance is the Mozilla Monument. I think the monument provides a really great concrete example of this pivot toward intentional community building.

There are over 4,000 names on the monument that represent the first 15 years of Mozilla’s history. We’re planning on more than tripling that number of people in one year. This is only possible with an intentional, scalable and systematic approach.

The monument was created as a physical representation of the community (for instance, the globe is designed to let light through to demonstrate how we are a transparent community) and I’d love to see it also embody this increase in our community.

monument_hack_closeup

Updating the monument with the names of the new active contributors that join the community this year would be a great way to show progress toward this goal. Hopefully people have better ideas for adding names than the sticky note approach that Larissa and I took :)

Maybe the panels get replaced and we reduce the font size to make space for more names? Maybe we create a virtual monument that grows until it is as tall as the Mozilla office building or the nearby Bay Bridge? What ideas do you have for adding names of new contributors?


Creating a volunteer agreement

Friday, May 30, 2014

One of Mozilla’s goals for this year is to increase the number of active contributors by 10x. That means that many new people will be joining the community and we want to make sure they have a positive experience.

A few teams have contributor agreements that provide details about what it means to volunteer in that specific area, but there’s never been information that covers contributors in general.

To help new contributors understand more about what they’re getting involved with, we’ve drafted a new volunteer agreement. I wanted to share the text of that and talk about how we would make this available.

First though, I’d like to be clear about a couple of points:

  • This is not intended to be a document that people will sign.
  • This is not something that applies to existing contributors, just to new people who are joining the community.

After sharing the text of this here, on the Governance list and at an upcoming Monday project call, we’d like to add this text as a new page on http://www.mozilla.org.

We would then link to that from the Get Involved page, the entry point for most new contributors. We would add this to the existing opt-in on the form that references Mozilla’s Privacy Policy.

Please take a look at the text below and share your thoughts on that and on how we would make this available to new contributors.

————————-

DRAFT Volunteer Agreement

Welcome to Mozilla! We’re pleased that you will be working with us to volunteer your expertise, knowledge, and skills to our Project.

Before we begin, there are some basic terms you should be aware of and agree to. The following is an agreement between you and Mozilla that describes your volunteer work with the Project:

1. You or Mozilla may end this Agreement at any time for any reason on immediate notice. If you wish to end the Agreement, simply email a Mozilla staff member to let us know.

2. As a volunteer for our Project, you will be working with Mozilla staff, employees and other volunteers.

3. We have policies at Mozilla to protect the Project and you. While working with us, we want you to be creative and help us to grow the Project, while observing the following rules:

a. As a volunteer, you cannot bind Mozilla to any agreements or sign any agreements on behalf of Mozilla, but you can introduce Mozilla to different ideas, processes and ways of doing things;

b. You are not an employee or contractor of Mozilla and should not represent yourself as such;

c. You cannot engage in any activities that violate the laws of your locale, Mozilla’s policies, or the rights of any group or individual;

d. You agree to behave in a professional and respectable manner when acting as a Mozilla volunteer. Mozilla’s Participation Guidelines can be found at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/governance/policies/participation/;

e. It’s definitely okay to talk about your contributions to Mozilla, but you should not use Mozilla’s logo or trademarks without Mozilla’s prior written consent. Mozilla’s trademark policy can be found at https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/trademarks/policy/; and

f. This Agreement is about you and only you. You may not transfer or give this to any other person or group.

g. If you violate any of these rules, Mozilla has the right to end this agreement and your volunteer activities.


Connecting with more people interested in contributing

Thursday, May 15, 2014

To increase the number of active contributors by 10x this year, we’re going to need to connect with more people interested in contributing. I’m excited that the Community Building team has helped reboot a couple of things that will let us do that.

Nightly builds used to bring up a page with information about how to help test Firefox, but it had been turned off about a year ago because the page was not being maintained. The page is now back on and we’re already seeing an increase in traffic.

nightly_traffic_jump

We’ve taken a first pass at updating the Nightly First Run and What’s New page and are working on a larger redesign to get relevant contribution information in front of people who are interested in testing, developing and localizing Firefox.

nightly_new_page

We’ve also been working with Community Engagement to bring back the about:mozilla newsletter which has over 60,000 people who have signed up to receive regular contribution opportunities and news from us.

The first issue since October is coming out this week and new issues will be coming out every two weeks (sign up for the newsletter on the Get Involved page). We’re also making it easier for you to submit timely contribution opportunities that we can feature in future issues.

about_mozilla_new_newsletter

These are just a couple of the ways that we have to connect with people interested in contributing to Mozilla. We’re putting better documentation together to make it easy to tap into all of the ways to connect with new contributors.

If you have questions about any of this or would like to get help with bringing new contributors into your project, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to work with you.


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