Since the beginning of 2013 we have been trying to grow the community, and definitely we’ve done great improvements with the localized contribute pages. But, size does not mean quality.
Nearly 2000 people has contacted us in Spanish filling the contribute form since January, and due this huge volume of inquiries we had to implement a new task centric approach to handle the on-boarding and the community.
What have we learned?
Our approach to do one-on-one mentoring with the people that replied the first auto-response email the form sends has failed:
- Only 10% of the people who filled the form reply to the auto-response.
- From the people who reply and a mentor contact them, only 10% start contributing in the community.
- Mentors are overwhelmed by the number of mentees and the amount of time they invest in people that don’t have commitment.
- Mentors are also contributors that have to put some mozilla work apart to do mentoring.
- Most people who fill the form don’t really know what are they signing for. Commitment and own initiative are rare skills.
So, what now?
The Mozilla Hispano mentor team has been working in a new work-flow which aims to:
- Simplify the procedure.
- Reduce mentor’s work.
- Invest time just in people who prove commitment.
- Encourage own initiative.
- Share the work between mentors.
The new procedure for Spanish will be:
- A new person fill the contribute form.
- He gets an auto-response email which includes:
- Information about what the Mozilla community is about: Manifesto, meritocracy, commitment, how to evolve from newcomer to full contributor.
- Level test (if applicable): Some areas such as localization require new people to have a certain level of knowledge in English and Spanish to contribute.
- Link to the active projects on the area he selected in the form. (Each project wiki page has clear instructions about how to start contributing on your own and where to contact the work team)
- Link to the presentations forum, and encourage him to introduce himself.
- Instructions to read the projects doc and write to the mentors alias email if he has questions.
- Encourage him to write to the mentors alias regularly to help him to “graduate” as a full contributor.
- The newcomer will read the docs and start contributing on his own or asking the project team.
- He will write to the mentors alias once he finishes his first tasks.
- Any mentor will create a task on our task tool to be able to track the newcomer progress (only visible to mentors team).
- Each time the newcomer writes to mentors, anyone can update the tracking task to reflect the progress.
To be able to “graduate” as a full contributor a person has to at least:
- Have worked on one project.
- Have started one topic on the contributors form or mailing list.
- Have worked on his own for 2 weeks.
What would a million mozillians do?
From my point of view, Mozilla as an organization has grown way more than the volunteer communities, and we have been trying to keep up which is objectively impossible.
We have to keep growing, yes, but we can’t expect to do everything, we have to focus on getting more committed people, not just more people. We have to know when to say: no we can’t handle this Mozilla project. Let’s focus on P1 Mozilla projects and try to delegate to avoid burn outs.
Also, Mozilla needs more resources to help community building, tools, and resources for everyone. This is key to our mission success, let’s push all together to get them and remind each and everyone inside the organization how important is to help grow the volunteer base, not just the employee one
I’ll be talking about this topic during the summit in Brussels (other will do in other locations):
Defining and Packaging a Mozilla Core experience for onboarding
Saturday October 3rd, from 13:30 – 15:30