Catching A Moving Train

I made a joke the other day on the twitters that I was writing a job req, how I needed a way to say “Experience surfing on top of a relentless, multichannel, broad-spectrum communications avalanche a major plus”. That didn’t go over fantastically well with HR, believe you me, but it’s a real part of life here; the price of openness and transparency worth paying, steep as it is some days.

When I started at Mozilla, onboarding wasn’t really a thing. Getting started wasn’t quite “here’s your desk, here’s your password and here’s your job”, but it wasn’t a lot more than that, and there were some things we either overlooked or got wrong that made it hard to be effective for a long time. As one example – my personal favourite – I was signed up for all the mailing lists I’d need to do my job two weeks before I actually started; so thirty minutes into my first day on the new job I was two weeks behind on my email.

As of now we’re going to start doing that better, a lot better, and we’re trying to do it the way we aspire to do everything: up front and open, with no special magic or secret sauce, where people can watch us succeed or fail, and learn and grow from either one. Over the next two weeks, we’re going to be bringing in a new hire and running daily sessions to help them ramp up on the tools, technologies, processes and skills they need to be effective as a Mozilla engineer, including sessions on:

  • Bugzilla
  • Build & Go
  • Firefox, Architecture & Product
  • Communication, Community and Mentoring
  • Javascript and the DOM
  • C++ and Gecko
  • Telemetry
  • Org Structure & Career Development

These sessions will be open to attend; not just for Mozilla’s engineers, but to any community member and contributor who wishes. This is the schedule of events; we also have a streaming video link that will go live on the day of (Flash required, sadly). We’ll be documenting the process and collecting it into a single place for consumption shortly afterwards.

I’m charged with Comms & Community, so that’s just me and whatever, but myself aside the list of participants for this thing is remarkable. I don’t know if I can be specific right this second – This List Is Subject To Change Without Notice, and so on – but there is some powerhouse engineering talent running the rest of those sessions. And if you want to be a part of that, you can. If you want to sit in, learn about some part of this organization and engines it drives, you’re invited.

We’ll be reviewing the whole process as it unfolds – what works, what doesn’t, what we can learn from it – and reviewing it weeks and months later, to evaluate success, see what we’ve learned, what we’ve missed, and how we can improve. If you have feedback, send it my way; we know we have to get a lot better at this fast, and the best way we know how to do that is together.

2 Comments

  1. Steve Fink
    Posted September 21, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    “here’s your desk, here’s your password and here’s your job”? Yeah, that’s not at all what it was like when I joined. I’d say it was a lot closer to “here’s your desk, here’s your password”.

    I was never an intern, but for interns it was a little different: “here’s your desk, here’s your password, here’s a description of a job that we’ll use as a welcome-aboard joke; please let us know at the end of the summer what your job was”. Which had to be a little unsettling, but we got astonishingly good results out of it, so… meh.

  2. Posted September 22, 2015 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Hi Mike: This is the current state-of-the-art in Bugzilla onboarding: https://gerv.makes.org/popcorn/1bn6 . Not saying you just show it as-is, but it gives a good idea of topics to cover. (You may already know this), Oh, transcript: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Capture_Mozilla/Bugzilla