Mozillians are always eager to help and take on leadership roles when necessary. A huge blocker though is knowing how to help or where to start from; well, at least in my experience as well as having spoken to other mozillians who lead projects and didn’t get sustainable feedback and support from their teams.
So what are some of the things you should be thinking of when taking ownership? I’ll try and break this down to 5 simple steps that have helped me in the past, so here goes:
- Moderate Discussion
You want to make sure that the conversation sticks to the theme/scope of your group and doesn’t spiral out of topic. I wouldn’t want to join a creative design group and end up discussing code half of the time.
- Create a platform for feedback eg: etherpad, wiki, bugzilla, mailing list, highlight people.
It’s important to find a comfortable and straight forward way for people to provide feedback. Depending on the setting, this could be either through etherpads, wiki’s, bug reports, mailing lists etc. Highlight people who you feel might have beneficial feedback but just haven’t found a way into the conversation; you know like ‘what do you think Jeff, should we outsource this work or can you do it locally’. The feedback you collect should also be easy to aggregate and share out eg if feedback needs to be made available to a relatively huge group of people, an ehterpad or wiki would make more sense than using email
- Don’t spam contributors: divide groups based on interest
Identify what different people/groups of participants are interested in and remove them from conversations that might seem like spam to them
- Distribute action items/checklists, don’t burn out by doing everything
Give people clear actionable tasks to do; this is the best way to engage. Don’t end meetups with a general consensus of what the group should do but instead, break it down to tasks and assign them to people, this way, you won’t be acting on an assumption that everyone involved knows exactly what to do.
- Iterate, aggregate, share
You need to iterate your scope to make sure everyone within the group is on the same page and followup by aggregating on what you’ve been working on in an organized way then share it out to get feedback and synergies from other teams.
Hmmm, I’ll add this to the Contribute Toolkit best practices section so incase you have any feedback, let me know and I’ll tweak the toolkit appropriately. You see what I just did right there, step no. 5…let’s see if it works…