Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Bit of Structure To Guide a Meeting

Have you been in a meeting where many ideas are discussed? Are there lots of possible solutions, but there's also many different blockers or reasons why a solution wouldn't work? After 5 or 10 minutes everything is a a large mess and no one remembers the different approaches.

Here's a basic framework that can help guide your meeting.

Create a shared etherpad and document the following items. The documentation is key, it's too hard to keep everything in your head.

  • Intro
    • What is the problem we're trying to solve? Why is the meeting happening?
    • Does everyone agree on the problem statement and why they're here?
  • Brainstorming
    • What are the options we could use to address the problem?
    • For each option:
      • What are the positive to this approach?
      • What are the potential blockers / concerns to this approach? 
  • Decision Making
    • Which is the best option of the ideas just discussed? Remember, there is rarely a silver bullet approach that won't have at least a few concerns or considerations.
  • Actions Needed
    • What actions items are necessary to achieve the agreed upon solution? 
      • Assign these to specific people with specific tasks and deadlines.
  • Follow Up
    • When is the next meeting to discuss progress? 
      • Make sure someone is assigned to schedule this meeting (preferably before leaving the meeting).


Monday, July 1, 2013

Manager Hacking Lives To Hack Another Day

You've attended manager hacking and seen the potential. Through 3 different sessions you've met new people, considered new ideas and shared successes and frustrations about leading at Mozilla. But now you're unsure what's next. The original evanagelist of manager hacking has moved on to greener pastures. What's next for manager hacking you may wonder?!

Rest assured manager hacking will continue! I've picked up the torch and will continue advocating for our cause. We have a growing number of core leaders in manager hacking including Dino Anderson, Dia Bondi, Lawrence Mandel, MRZ, John O'duin (and more). We're gathering together to plan out session number 4.

Brace yourself for more manager hacking. More details on the next session will be coming soon!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fighting the Good Fight – A Direction for Mozilla to Lead the Open Web

Mozilla found its way over ten years ago when we saw the web spiraling into peril. The web was stagnating, it was controlled, and users had no choice or voice in the future of the web. Here began Firefox, a collective effort where individuals around the world could contribute and build the web that they wanted to see. Fast-forward and we now see a healthy web where competition in browsing options spurs advancement and growth.

But the web is transforming again. The battle is not for what browser you chose to use at your desk, but the entire ecosystem that powers the computer in your pocket. Not unlike the monopoly we saw years ago that stifled the web, we are now watching a distinct divide being built in mobile. This divide isolates users and forces them to choose which part of the web they want to live in. Developers can no longer just build for the web; instead they must build for each device a user brings to the web, undermining the very unity that made the web successful.

Today Mozilla fights for mobile. To liberate users from closed ecosystems and enable developers to build for the web in whatever shape it is accessed – be that from desktop or mobile devices. We are bringing technologies that have powered the web into the foundation of a mobile operating system. This is combined with a design that enables developers to use the technologies they know and that have powered the web to easily build powerful mobile apps. We see a future of the web where mobile is not different from the web, only a different size serving different needs of the user. In the end, the technologies that power the web should be harnessed to also power the web experienced on mobile.

But while we focus on the battleground of today we must also look forward to see what is next. The future always seems distant until it is right upon you. Mozilla must continue to be competitive so that we can fight for the users and be a driving force in the open web. We must look past the fog of today’s concerns to prepare for how to guide and shape the web in the next major phase. We’ve seen the web transform from something accessed purely by a desktop device to a mobile web that you carry with you in your pocket. In mobile, the web is where wherever the user goes, provided they have their device. But just as mobile has grown it too will one day yield to the next major shift of the web. I believe that shift will be to a user centric web.

A user centric web does not care what device you use to access the web. Desktop computer, mobile phone, tablet, TV screen, car console, wearable device and more - the web will be synonymous with the user and the web will follow the user wherever they go. Users will be less concerned about static web sites and apps, but more about their world, the way the web integrates into their daily lives and activities and every device that the user interacts with. To prepare for the next phase of the web Mozilla must invest in technologies that bring the web to the user regardless of their device. The center of the web will be the user.

This requires a focus on identity, cloud, and broadening the reach of our platform. A user must be in control of their identity on the web with the ability to easily and seamless represent their identity wherever they may be. A user may have several devices they use often, but the web will be expected to function equally wherever they may be. To achieve this Mozilla must invest in cloud and creating a representation of a user, their profile, their identity and desires that is not tied to a particular device, but rather to the user directly. We also must continue to expand the platform to other closed ecosystems. Many companies will want to harness the web to attract users, but a closed ecosystem is an ecosystem that does not empower users and rarely represents the user’s desires and voice.

The future is murky and can easily pivot at any moment. The choices of today’s technologies, many of which are heavily debated, can greatly influence what comes next. But if Mozilla is truly a leader of the open web then we must look past the obstacles of today and envision what will come tomorrow. Instead of waiting to liberate users from the next stranglehold, let’s build the foundation for the next phase of the open web. A web that represents the user, enables developers, and supports advancement in technologies.

Mozilla was built on the power of a massive worldwide community that fought the good fight for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. Let’s look forward and prepare to lead what comes next for the web.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mozilla Summit - Summit Assembly Planning Event

About 10 days ago a group of around 70 Mozillians met in the Mozilla Paris office for two full days of brainstorming, planning, and discussions. The purpose of the event was to generate ideas, topics and hot issues that should drive different themes and tracks at the upcoming Mozilla summit.

The planning event was organized as an "unconference". There were many merits to the open nature of this approach. It surfaced important issues and gave flexibility for the day to focus on important issues on people's minds. However, I would encourage those that are leading an unconference event to set a bit of high level context. Free flowing structure is great, but a little bit of overall goal setting is also a good complimentary item.

During the event I led two micro sessions on topics that were important to me. The first sessions was "Building a Framework for Decision Making at Mozilla". This micro session was merged with another related topic suggested by Jishnu titled "The Nature of Dissent". The micro session was well attended with a lot of great ideas. More to come on this over the coming weeks. I'm planning to work with the team to flush out the framework and present at brown bags leading up to the summit.

The second microsession was centered around understanding the end user when designing security and privacy features. A strong point that was raised during this micro session was the idea of identifying the user types, their desires for greater security controls, and the types of trade offs they may be interested in making (if any) for these additional features. The main point was that an understanding of the target audience is required when building additional features and security & privacy features are no different here. We have more work to do on this topic, but there's a lot of valuable information that can come from this.

The next steps after the summit assembly are to continue working with group leads to flush out the various summit tracks. Much more information to come. But based on the energy and enthusiasm at the assembly planning event I think we're going to have a fantastic Summit in just a few months.