Mozilla community and Mozilla priorities&decisions


At MozCampEU 2012, I think during Leadership Panel, Brian King
mentionned that Mozilla (I would guess MoFo&MoCo) and the community
sometimes have unaligned priorities. After being asked, he gave 2
examples; one being that the community still maintains SeaMonkey which
is not a priority for MoFo/MoCo and I have forgotten the second one
(please complete if anyone remembers), but I remember it was another
valid example.
He added that he is no one to tell anyone not to contribute to SeaMonkey
and I certainly agree, but wish to provide some in-depth thoughts on
this topic.

The common thing that MoCo/MoFo and volunteers have in common, what make
us "One Mozilla" is the Mozilla Manifesto. Ideally, every decision made
within Mozilla comes as a natural conclusion of the Manifesto read in
the context of the world at the time of the decision being made. As a
concrete example, prioritizing on mobile in the current context is a
natural consequence of defending the values described in the Manifesto.
If we all, volunteers and paid employees, have the same informations
about the world and agree on the Manifesto, I don't see a reason for
having our priorities not aligned. Please tell me if you see such a reason.

After some time spent at several Mozilla events, I have realized that
MoCo/MoFo seems to consider volunteer contributors as sensitive birds
that should be taken with care to not scare them away. Volunteer
contributors, since they are not tied by any contract of any form are
free to work on whatever they want, the quantity they want, change
anytime and are free to go away whenever they want.
A consequence of this volatile vision of volunteers at the
organisational level seems to be that volunteer contributors do not take
part of strategic discussions to decide Mozilla priorities including
suggesting new priorities at the organization level. In a way, it's only
fair, since volunteers do not have to follow any priority, why should
they take part of the discussions to decide them?
But the situation is a bit more complicated. "Volunteers" is very very
far from being a uniform group when it comes to level of involvement,
when it comes to interest in what's going on at the organization level.

I think there would be value in having dedicated volunteer contributors
taking part in organisation-wide strategic decisions. If we, volunteers
and paid employees, all take part in deciding Mozilla priorities, we
will have our priorities aligned as a consequence of the decision process.
Now I understand that business requirements make that all informations
to make educated decisions about Mozilla at the organization level are
not available to the general public.

One idea would be to invite some volunteers to take part of these
decisions and having them sign an NDA.
All details of this idea aren't figured out (especially how to choose
who's invited to the discussions), but I'm starting this thread as an
attempt to propose a solution to the problem of unaligned priorities.

9/11/2012 8:13:28 PM
mozilla.governance 764 articles. 0 followers. Post Follow

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