Posts Tagged with “communication”

Interview Technique

October 12th, 2007

A lot of my classmates at the trapeze classes are ex-gymnasts. I was talking to one ex-gymnast the other day about work topics. She is one of only a few classmates who also work in the Internet industry, in her case at a big well-known company that has e-commerce, search, portal-like activity, etc. She said her group has been trying to find someone for a specific job for so long that she feels that interviewing for this job is basically a permanent part of her job. So she’s trimmed her interview style.

According to my classmate, gymnasts have a very simple way of interviewing each other. Maybe there’s a hello and an exchange of names, but there’s really only one critical question: “Hi. What can you do?”

She says she’s adopting this model, and getting some revealing responses. I’d love to be the proverbial “fly-on-the-wall” for those interviews.

The Voice of Mozilla

July 18th, 2007

Who is the voice of Mozilla? Each and every contributor, that’s who. Every contributor has a reason for contributing, a story about how and why we contribute and why we care about Mozilla.

It’s important that many of these voices be heard. It’s important that Mozilla contributors feel comfortable publicly describing our involvement with Mozilla.

We have some formal mechanisms for public speaking. Mozilla sends speakers to a number of conferences; we have the Mozilla websites to describe Mozilla, we occasionally have a press release.

The formal mechanisms are important. But they are not enough. They are not enough to convey the richness of the Mozilla project. They are not enough to respond to all the requests for speakers we receive. And they are not enough to convey the Mozilla message of participation, openness and public benefit.

To convey the Mozilla message properly, we need many people to speak about Mozilla, to speak frequently, to speak to local users groups, local community groups, schools and local technology conferences about Mozilla. We should be clear about the scope and power of the community that make up Mozilla.

We should also help contributors feel comfortable speaking. A good framework should do a few key things:

  • help contributors feel comfortable and empowered to speak publicly about our roles and involvement;
  • provide some basic answers for common questions; and
  • help people send questions outside their particular areas of expertise to the right people.

Our contact person for developing a Speakers framework is Mary Colvig. The beginnings of this work can be found at the Events section of the Mozilla wiki.

If you’re a Mozilla contributor who currently speaks about Mozilla, or who might want to speak about your involvement with Mozilla, or if you want to help develop the framework, head on over to the website and add your voice.

The Big Picture — Part 3

July 4th, 2006

Here is the last part of Mike Shaver’s summary of the Categories: Mozilla | Tags: , , , | Comments off

Leadership vs. Coordination

June 11th, 2006

Last week I wrote a bit about leadership and there was a brief discussion of the degree to which a leader helps the community decide and how much a leader actually make decisions.

The coordination function in the Mozilla project is huge. We are a large group of people with many different perspectives. Just developing good communication channels is a challenge. Coordinating the responses, repercussions and interactions of our activities is an even bigger task. This involves constant communication, gathering input, making sure relevant ideas are heard and understood, and juggling some set of activities to get to an answer. At heart, coordination is a process. It’s a critical process, particularly in an open source world where so many people can easily go elsewhere if they don’t like the results.

But coordination is not leadership; leadership is much more. Leadership involves taking all that one knows and setting direction. Open source projects are different from many other organizations in how one achieves a leadership role and how the scope of that role is determined. But the fundamental need for some person or group to make decisions, articulate a direction and lead forward motion remains.

One classic form of leadership in the Mozilla project is the module owner system. A good module owner listens to peers and contributors and in most cases makes decisions that set the direction for the code under his or her stewardship. And yet a module owner’s authority is ultimately determined by the expertise and contributions of the people s/he leads and the degree of confidence of other project leaders. Another classic form of leadership in our world is the person who decides it’s necessary to do something and does it. New projects, new ideas; new technology. Often people lead by doing, and seeing what happens.

Coordination is critical. Good listening is critical. Good leadership is more.

Big Blog, Little Blog?

September 7th, 2004

Not long after my post about trademark and localization policy I received a message noting that the post might make sense to Mozilla insiders, but was opaque to others. The suggestion was made that I include history and perspective in such posts so that people don’t end up thinking “what is she talking about?”

I have to agree that the email author was right — the last message was intended for the Mozilla community, and the localization community in general. I thought about trying to add the background that would make sense for those not already involved, but decided just to get the post out there. I suspect this will be an ongoing tension. A post that provides the history and background of an issue takes a lot longer to write than one with a much more narrow focus. It also makes for a different sort of blog, generally more formal than the norm.

Overall, I agree it’s good to do this. Or at least, someone should do it for the Mozilla project. And I’m as good a someone as anyone. So I’ll try.

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