Archive for June 25th, 2006

The Big Picture — Part 1

June 25th, 2006

A while back the Mozilla Corporation held a series of small-group discussions on the topic of the mission of the Mozilla project, and the characteristics of the Mozilla Corporation, eight in total. I decided to start this time with Mozilla Corporation employees, since some of the questions related to why people choose to work for the Mozilla Corporation and also due to some procedural issues that I’ll discuss in a later post. We had a series of eight discussions, including almost all employees. (Shaver and I participated in each group. Otherwise I excluded the management group — schrep, cbeard, John Lilly, Brendan — to help ensure people said whatever was on their mind.) These discussions were intended as a first step and to try out a structure for a broader discussion within the Mozilla community as a whole.

Mike Shaver was the moderator for these discussions, took notes and created a summary document. The language that follows in quotes is Mike’s work, with some minor edits on my part.

The conversations were seeded with four questions:

  • What do we hope to accomplish, in the next year and in the longer run? What do we want our “legacy” to be?
  • What do we hope our products and technologies do? How do we make choice and innovation concrete?
  • What motivates us?
  • What excites us about getting up and coming to work each day?

The intent of these conversations was not to establish any wide-ranging consensus, nor to democratically determine the direction of the Corporation (or, of course, the project). Instead, we sought to create a forum in which people could candidly and genuinely express their feelings on these topics, and hear those held by their co-workers, without some of the logistical or communication issues that have been seen in “all-hands” discussions of these subject areas.

The only topic that was declared explicitly as “out of scope” was that of the Foundation/Corporation division of responsibility, simply because that issue alone could easily have consumed all available time and energy.”

Mike identified a set of major themes from these discussions which are below. The overall summary is a bit long, so I’ll break down the contents of the major themes into subsequent posts of a more digestible length. Then we can look to move this discussion to a broader set of people.

  • Our Work and Legacy Transcends the Browser
  • Need to Appropriately Balance Focus and Diversification (balancing Firefox as our flagship product and our other efforts)
  • “Choice and Innovation” Is At Least As Hard As It Sounds (is “choice and innovation” crisp enough to guide our actions)
  • Communication and Openness (how to maximize these)
  • Why This? Why Here? (why do people choose to work at the Mozilla Foundation / Corporation?

Skip past the sidebar