Engagement/MDN Durable Team/Mentoring

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MDN Mentoring

This document describes expectations for mentoring relationships involving members of the Mozilla MDN staff team.

Defining a mentoring relationship

A mentoring relationship involves two participants:

  • A mentor, who has expertise or experience to share about a topic or domain
  • A learner, who is learning about the topic or domain from the mentor

Learners might include:

  • New contributors to MDN who are employees of partner organizations
  • Mozilla staff who are taking on responsibility for an area of MDN
  • Interns who are contributing to MDN as part of programs such as Google Summer of Code, Outreachy, or Mozilla internships
  • Localization leaders for a new locale on MDN
  • Other contributors who take on a project and need mentoring

Setting up a mentoring relationship

As a learner in search of a mentor, if you do not have one specifically in mind, please post on the MDN discussion forum, describing your goals and time frame. Members of the Mozilla MDN staff will work with you to find an appropriate mentor, if one is available. If you do have a specific mentor in mind, you can reach out to that person via email; if they are not available due to time constraints, they might help you find someone else, or direct you to post in the discussion forum.

For issues tracked in Bugzilla, mentors can volunteer to mentor for specific bugs by adding themselves to the Mentors field of the bug. They should then reach out to a learner who takes ownership of the bug. It’s also a good idea to follow the advice in Making bugs more attractive for other people to fix.

The mentor and the learner should agree on several factors before starting a mentorship:

  • The scope of what content will be covered by the mentorship
  • The time frame for which the mentorship is expected to last
  • Goals for the learner to accomplish during the mentorship, and any milestones to reaching those goals
  • The channels, timing, and frequency of communication about the topic; these will vary depending on the type of mentorship, and the work styles, backgrounds, and time zones of the participants. All else being equal, it’s preferable to use a public channel such as the MDN discussion forum or IRC, so that others can learn from the conversations, or chime in with additional advice. However, this is not required if one or both participants are uncomfortable with public discussion of their work.

Time accounting

  • Participants who are Mozilla MDN staff members should commit to user stories that account for their time to be spent on the mentoring relationship.
  • Learners who are Mozilla MDN staff should commit to user stories that capture the goals and milestones they have agreed to for the mentorship.

Ending a mentorship

A mentorship concludes when either the expected time frame has elapsed or the learner has completed their goals, whichever comes first.

If the time frame elapses without the learner completing their goals, both participants should discuss whether to extend the time frame, or adjust the goals, or both. Ideally, such a discussion should happen as soon as it becomes clear that the learner will not complete the goals in the initial time frame, rather than waiting until time has run out.

The mentor is responsible for completing any formal feedback for the learner, such as internship program summaries, or peer-evaluation reviews. A retrospective review of the mentorship can be helpful even if it is not formally required, especially if the insights can be shared to improve future mentorships.