Project Call Project (2016)
The Project Call began when it was attended by a handful of paid staff and contributors who sat around an actual table providing technical updates, discussing blockers and sharing ideas.
Originally, the Project Call was a private weekly gathering of a group called "Mozilla Staff," comprising Netscape employees dedicated to the Mozilla project, plus a couple of non-Netscape contributors working on Mozilla-related projects at other organizations. It began the early months of 1998.
Staff's membership ran the gamut from project leads like Brendan and Mitchell to individual contributors like Myk Melez and Asa Dotzler. During the meetings, the group discussed a variety of issues, especially questions of governance. We were also chartered to resolve disputes within the community. More info on Staff is available at http://www-archive.mozilla.org/about/staff.
After the Mozilla Foundation was founded, the meeting gradually turned into a weekly meeting of MoFo employees, and Staff became moribund (although it continues to exist in vestigial form via the firstname.lastname@example.org alias, which occasionally receives and redirects some complaint about Mozilla). MoFo then turned into MoFo/MoCo, and at some point we decided to make the meetings public, expanding the intended audience to all Mozillians.
Today, a decade after it began, the meeting is attended by, on average, 200-300 people each week with ⅔ of that viewing live in Mountain View or other Mozilla offices with some picking it up later. We have no sense of who, staff / volunteers / other, are watching the meetings, other than those we see live in offices or ⅓ of the total. The format of the meeting and agenda have changed only incrementally over the course of its long history and there is some sense, from potch and others, that engagement, as well as actual participation in the meeting, is receding.
Part of the internal communications team’s reason-for-being is to build and sustain an internal communications system that enables information and inspiration to get where it needs to get when it needs to get there. To do that, we’re spinning up this project, aimed at re-imagining The Project Call so that it offers real engagement value for its intended audience. We don't know where our research will lead us right now, be we believe there is an opportunity hiding out here somewhere, so we're going to see.
Given what we suspect this meeting represents to a subset of the organization (hallmark of our “openness”, communications platform cherished by the old guard, legacy identity with a deep tie to the past), we will approach any sort of change with delicacy and candor. This may mean execution moves more slowly that we’d like, but we will err on the side of “treading lightly” over up-ending an iconic fixture.
We will also look to support all of our recommendations with data, where possible, and to test small changes over time vs. broad sweeping reform (this approach may change depending upon what the research says). The bulk of the project will be research, likely 80% primary and 20% secondary (best practices in other organizations). This focus on research has the added benefit of allowing any sort of change effort to feel more inclusive.
Goal / Success Metric
By EOY 2016, we will have tested a number (exact number TBD) of meaningful changes to the current meeting format and/or content that result in greater immediate audience satisfaction (as measured by a 10% increase in attendance). Longer-term, this project aims to re-imagine The Project Call so that it offers real engagement value for its intended audience, connected to, as well as reinforcing of, a greater communications system internally (longer term measures will be embedded within overall engagement scores).
Mardi - Responsible Diane (Lotta) - Accountable Potch, Lucy/Participation Team, Richard (A/V team), MarComm, current attendees - Consulted Dave, George, Angela - Informed
August - September (research, listen/discover). Here is where we discover the answers to questions like: Who is the primary or intended audience for this meeting? What is the value of this meeting currently to that group? What changes do you think need to happen in order for the audience to get maximum value out of the meeting? Would you miss it if it was gone? What problem is the meeting solving?
- Identify key stakeholders + form task team, conduct 2-5 focus group + stakeholder interviews, launch user survey within the meeting (targeted at current audience), survey volunteers + a sample of paid staff.
- Investigate what “other companies” do. Those who run status meetings on a regular basis + those who don’t (or do them in a different way or not at all).
September - ½ October Compile and analyze research Share with task team and generate recommendations for change, if any. Vet changes and expected results with small, then large group.
½ October - December Test changes
Now closed - Summary Responses:
- Responses: 225 (209 paid staff, 13 volunteers)
- Time zones: ~50% PT, ~25% ET
- Attendance: ~25% = once/week, ~25% = 1-3x month, ~30% = 1x month, 10% = never
- Participation (presenting): ~75% = never, ~27% = < 1x month
- Connection type: ~60% = Air Mozilla, ~35% = in-person
- "I like the Project Call because...(~90%)...it's an opportunity to see what's going on, broadly, across the the organization and outside of my team." + potch :)
- "I wish the Project Call...
- ...was shorter
- ...was more focused / has a clear purpose
- ...was more technical
- ...had more executive attendance (so the meeting felt more important)