Mozilla Engineering/Platform Meeting Reboot

“congrats on drastically improving this meeting (IMHO) I am feeling greatly optimistic about mozilla all of a sudden”
- Brad Lassey (ref)

The Platform meeting has been in limbo for some time. Since taking the helm in February, I found it difficult to answer questions like: What is the purpose of this meeting? Who is the target audience? Why do we meet each week? After discussions in the meeting and on the Mozilla dev-platform mailing list, this week I made a mostly wholesale change and rebooted the meeting.

The Engineering Meeting

The name “Platform Meeting” is a holdover from the meeting’s origins. This meeting has long included updates from non platform teams such as the desktop front-end, mobile front-end, and stability teams. More recently, the meeting added updates from Firefox OS and Firefox Metro. This is really an engineering wide meeting so let’s call it the “Engineering Meeting”.

Meeting Purpose

One of my goals with this reboot was to be able to clearly articulate what this meeting was about. My working definition of the meeting’s purpose is:

The Engineering meeting is a weekly time to discuss the work of engineering teams and share information relevant to the day-to-day work of engineers.

Meeting Agenda

I restructured the meeting agenda around the meeting purpose. The meeting now focuses on engineering teams and the relevant information from engineering support teams. I have also asked each person responsible for an agenda item to update the wiki the day before the meeting so as to have a set agenda before the meeting starts.

Agenda

  1. Actions
    Action items from previous meetings.
  2. Hot Bugs
    Orange Factor, Stability, and other high priority bugs that are currently unowned or require help to make progress.
  3. The Need To Know
    Release related notices and schedule and upcoming system outages and upgrades.
  4. Key Issues
    Bigger topics and non team specific issues that are of interest to Engineering.
  5. Team Stand-ups
    A short (<2 min) update from each engineering team. No questions during the updates!
  6. Quality Programs
    An opportunity to hear about relevant updates from our Critsmash, Memshrink, Orange Factor, and Stability initiatives.
  7. Roundtable
    All other issues and any questions that come up over the course of the meeting.

Meeting Time

The meeting time remains unchanged. The Engineering Meeting is held Tuesdays, at 11am PT. Details about joining this public meeting are available on wikimo.

Meeting Notes

One of the requests that came from the dev-platform discussion was for improved meeting notes. I would like to know whether the changes that have been made to the meeting agenda have resulted in an improvement to the notes. If you read the notes, I would appreciate your input. Please comment on this post, post to dev-platform, or e-mail me privately. For your reference, here’s a link to this week’s notes.

Feedback From the First Meeting

The feedback after the first meeting was very positive. Here’s a sample from IRC:

“congrats on drastically improving this meeting (IMHO) I am feeling greatly optimistic about mozilla all of a sudden”
– Brad Lassey (ref)

“this is the change we needed”
– Doug Turner (ref)

“yeah i think i’m going to start coming to these regularly again”
– Jesse Ruderman (ref)

“this is exactly what I wanted to get out of this meeting”
– Daniel Veditz (ref)

“this meeting was very useful to me, learned several interesting things”
– Gavin Sharp (ref)

A Work In Progress

I consider the Engineering Meeting a work in progress. This meeting should continue to evolve to meet the needs of our engineering teams. Have an idea to improve the meeting? Please post to dev-platform or get in touch with me privately.

About Lawrence Mandel

Firefox program manager
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11 Responses to Mozilla Engineering/Platform Meeting Reboot

  1. glandium says:

    For those who can only read the notes, it’s hard to tell whether they convey the essence of the meeting. I can only say the notes look better.
    Would it make sense to keep recordings of the meeting like we do for the Monday Mozilla Project Meeting?

    • I’m happy to record the meeting if people are interested in watching the replay.

      • I would go even further and say let’s live stream via air.mozilla.org. I don’t want to talk anyway and vidyo can be annoying.

      • njn says:

        I can read the minutes much faster than I can watch a recording. As a result, I’d be unlikely to watch a recording, and instead hope that the minutes are thorough.

      • Tom – I’ll inquire about streaming on air.mozilla.org. At the very least the meeting should be easily streamed via Vidyo Webcast.

        Nicholas – A very reasonable request. My hope is that the change in meeting content results in more comprehensible minutes. As I said in the post, I am interested in feedback on the minutes. If they need more work, I’ll dig in.

  2. Mook says:

    (For reference: I used to listen in on the meetings a few years ago; I stopped once they turned into app-specific-team status updates. I don’t work on Firefox, I’m interested in upcoming platform changes, not what’s going on with whatever apps MoCo are shipping. I currently also have a meeting conflict.)

    I believe (from reading the meeting notes, at least) it’s still too much of a status report; there are interesting in there, but there’s also too much things that happened but don’t have much of a cross-team effect. To pick a random example, an ARM JS regression was fixed. I’m sure it’s important for the good of the web, but does, say, the Thunderbird Chat team really need to know that? It’s not really going to have unexpected platform-wide effects. (I only picked JS here because they had one of the largest chunks; nothing particular to them.) I think things will work out better if this is treated as a low-traffic announcement channel; the lower the traffic, the more likely people will be paying attention to what happens.

    (I think the B2G update was the best: it tells people what branch plans are, and doesn’t even mention any names – teams work as a unit of encapsulation here.)

    • It doesn’t sound like this is necessarily the right meeting to obtain the information that you seek. Have you tried the channel meeting (where breaking changes should be flagged) or the product coordination meeting (which includes a higher level view of engineering activity)?

      • Mook says:

        Thanks; my previous understanding was that the channel meeting was more release management, and the product coordination meeting was, well… product (i.e. not code). I’ll check them out next week anyway, since it sounds like my understanding was incorrect :)

      • Your understanding is correct. However, I had found that breaking changes were usually raised at the channel meeting. The product meeting includes updates from the technical teams. These updates aren’t targeted at consumers of the platform but do include topics that we need to message to the community. I don’t know that either of these meetings have the content that you’re looking for but it may be at least worth a shot.

        Channel Meeting notes: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Category:Channel_Meetings
        Product Coordination meeting notes: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/Planning

  3. Jesper Kristensen says:

    I assume the wiki urls for the notes will stay the same even if the name of the meeting changes? If urls change, please notify me.

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