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Version: 0.4


This document provides an overview of the process that the MDN development team uses to manage its work. This process is based on Kanban and other techniques that the team finds to be helpful.


Users and other stakeholders can request changes to the MDN at any time by filing a bug on Bugzilla. The MDN project manager occasionally reviews these requests and, based on priorities that are identified, chooses some for the team should complete. For each of these, a new Kanban card is created and added to a phase called Selected. Over time, these cards move out of Selected and through four other phases in order: Research & Design, Development, Review & QA, and Released.

The team uses Kanbanery and Bugzilla to manage this process. Each Kanbanery card refers to the Bugzilla bug (created by the Mozilla Developer Network Feedback form) that describes the original request. The team uses the bug to collaborate as progress is made. For example, the team uses the bug to share designs and hold technical discussions.

When a phase is completed (see the section Phases), the card is marked as Ready in Kanbanery. At any point, a team member working in the next phase can pull a Ready card into his phase and begin working on it. Phases are not skipped when a card is moved. If a phase is not needed for a particular card, the group responsible for that phase simply marks the card as Ready immediately after it is pulled in.

All requests go through this process. The team can elect to work on any requests that interest them by contributing to priority discussions.



One card is added to this phase for each change that should be completed soon.

Research & Design

The team investigates a technical solution to the change. The team also decides if the change is small enough to be implemented without a detailed design, if a detailed design is needed before development beings, or if the feature is so big that it should be implemented behind a feature flag (allowing the team can iterate on it over time). The card is marked as Ready when the team feels comfortable starting development.


The development team implements the change. The card is marked as Ready after a pull request is submitted for the change.

Review & QA

The development team completes a code review and a spot check. Sometimes, additional quality assurance is completed and sign-off is requested from the person (or group) who signed off on the detailed design. The team considers not only functionality but also security, performance, and other important factors during this phase. The card is marked as Ready when the team is confident that the change works as designed and meets other quality standards.


A card is moved here when the corresponding change is pushed to the production server.

Card Management

Work in Progress Limits

The team uses Work in Progress (WIP) limits to limit the amount of work being done at a given time. A card is not pulled into a new phase if its limit has already been reached.

Phase WIP Limit
Selected 6
Research & Design 4
Development 5
Review & QA 3

Work Types

Cards are grouped into three different work types.

  • BLOCKER - a severely critical defect on the production site; these should interrupt other work
  • BUG - a defect affecting the production site
  • FEATURE - a new feature
  • CHANGE - a change to an existing feature
  • DEV - a task to make developers happier


Cards are roughly equal in size. If a request seems particularly big, the project manager works with the team to identify a smaller piece to start on. A card is created for that piece and added to the Selected column. The process is then repeated until the entire request is completed.


Every card is assigned to someone in Kanbanery, with the exception of cards in the Selected phase. Assignment is self-directed. The person assigned to a card is not necessarily the only person working on it, but the person ultimately responsible for ensuring that the card becomes Ready.

When a person is no longer working on a card, he changes the assignee to nobody. At any point, another team member can assign one of these cards to himself and begin working on it.


The Deadline feature of Kanbanery is used to highlight changes that have hard deadlines. The team and project manager pay special attention to these cards to ensure they are completed on time.


The team is encouraged to use the Subtask feature of Kanbanery to break work into more manageable pieces.


If a card cannot move forward until some other work is done, that other work is marked as a Blocker in Kanbanery. The blocker might be another card, the address of a Bugzilla bug, or even just a written description of the impediment.


Priority meeting

The product manager and project manager meet every two weeks to discuss priorities. Over time, other MDN stakeholders will be invited to this meeting to inform priority decisions.

Planning and Retrospective meeting

The development team, product manager, project manager and interested users meet every two weeks to discuss process improvements and review the state of development.

Working with contributors

The project manager lists himself as a mentor in bugs that seem like good candidates for contributors. Contributors are encouraged to choose bugs from this list, but can work on any other bugs that interest them.

Tracking Progress

Visual Overview

The best indication of progress is the visual overview provided by Kanbanery.

Written Overview

The team sometimes communicates more detailed progress using Standup.


The team publishes several RSS feeds that stakeholders can subscribe to for notifications about progress. The status of a card might change by the time a notification is seen, so subscribers are encouraged to always consult the corresponding Kanban card for the most up-to-date information.