How Mozilla Foundation Navigates Across Teams

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By I Done This Support

The Mozilla Foundation has a super software team working on projects that range from Popcorn (a video remixing application) to Thimble (an easy-to-use web page maker) to Open Badges (a digital badges system that support learning and achievement).

Developer Jon Buckley talked with us about the struggle to align three teams when Mozilla Foundation wanted to integrate Badges into both Popcorn and Thimble. Combining multiple product worlds could very well collide into chaos and confusing communication, but Mozilla Foundationis seeing smooth sailing.

Status update discussion used to fall to a weekly call, which was time-consuming, while a shared mailing list was only used periodically for such purposes. The Mozilla Foundation teams soon turned to iDoneThis to coordinate communication for people spread across time zones and for cutting across teams.  “You don’t have to worry about being in the same room at the same time. That asynchronous nature of updating people is very helpful.

After the switch, Mozilla Foundation found that they cut down on a ton of meeting time and used their gatherings for things that required real conversation. “I still find meetings have their place,” Jon noted, “but if you don’t have to give a status at a meeting because you’re using iDoneThis, then that’s a way you can save a meeting for this particular problem that we need to tackle. Let us discuss this in person.”

Jon is one of our work-style kindred spirits in his cultivation of time away from the distraction of Things That Constantly Refresh like, IRC, Twitter, and bugmail. He prefers to turn them off and head into one of the smaller conference rooms to work without distraction.

Personally, he has found iDoneThis helpful in broadening his perspective from building software for developers to building for a general audience, because he gains insight from his UI and UX design teammates. “If they’ve been working on mockups, they can post that in their status, so we can get visibility into what they’re doing. It’s not quite obvious. On our team, we use a bug tracker really heavily, and the UI or the UX designer workflow doesn’t fit into that all that well, so it’s useful to have a way to see what they’re working on that we can comment on.”

The Mozilla Foundation’s getting stuff done and innovating for the people. We’re psyched that we’re helping Jon and his team build an open, accessible web by opening up avenues of communication and collaboration!


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