Getting Ready for Fall

As leaves begin to turn in some places, the Bay area gets a nice blast of heat in September. It’s like a week of summer that forgot to happen back when we were socked in with fog in July. But, that nice last bit of warmth before our leaves start to turn (yes we have some leaves that turn) is also the harbinger of the fourth quarter at Mozilla. This year, I’m excited to start putting into place some of the changes we identified at the work week. So, to that end, three quick notes.

First, we are starting off with a Quality and Automation Community Call. This is going to be in the style of the WebMaker Community Calls, and the WebMaker folks have been graciously teaching us how they work. Our first one will be next Tuesday at 8AM Pacific/15:00 UTC. Unlike most of our other meetings where we talk in glib Mozilla shorthand, this will be a call that will focus on fully explaining a few specific projects that people can help with Right Now, regardless of their skill level. And, this will also be a forum for folks in the community to tell us about what they are doing. Giving our community a way to easily let us know what they are doing, and giving them a forum to talk to one another is not something we do enough of at Mozilla. So, I’m extremely excited to see where this goes. Additionally, we are going to do this in conjunction with the Automation and Tools team and I’m extremely psyched about starting this process off. Many thanks to Lyre Calliope who helped nudge us in this direction.

Second, we are going to define our efforts in quality around some core principles, which I can talk more about later, but I’ll briefly introduce them here. They are probably best envisioned as a set of overlapping circles in a Venn diagram:

Dependability, Delight, Security & Privacy, Performance underpinned by the web platform

There are likely only two things in there that you weren’t expecting. One is Delight–in this ultra competitive world, it’s not enough for our products to be right and correct. We have to go the extra mile and delight our users with our products. Nothing short of that is good enough.

The other one is the web platform. At Mozilla, our mission to extend, enhance and empower the web platform while ensuring it remains open underpins everything we do. As an odd anachronism, our QA systems and metrics have not historically taken into account how a given feature does or does not help to move the web platform forward. Likewise, we’ve not been very involved in looking at how we are implementing and testing our support for various web standards in any kind of systemic way. While I don’t believe that there are problems in these areas, I do believe that this is a core piece of quality at Mozilla and it is an area we should work to get more involved in and be more cognizant of.

Third, time is unfortunately a zero sum game.  The amount of work doesn’t shrink, especially when attempting to venture into new areas. So in order to make room for our new directions, we are going to experiment with stopping and/or pausing some of our endeavors. That can be scary when you’re changing how things have been done for years, but it’s what we need to do to move Mozilla forward. The world we live in has changed, and there is no going back. There is constant iteration toward our vision of being a more technically astute, more data-driven, more community empowering team that propels quality forward.

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