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Lessons from Participation, Reps and Regional in 2015

Participation Team

Participation Team photo – I look serious in the pic but I’m smiling inside 😀

2015 has been an AMAZING year, both for me personally and for participation at Mozilla.

We started the year as a new team, the Participation team, trying to figure out ways to make volunteer participation a core value at mozilla and making it more impacful. Luckily for us we were able to get the team aligned and running together with a clear mandate (thanks to George for his leadership) and vision for 2016 and beyond.

Investing in our core volunteers and communities and focusing on a small set of initiatives has been proven very effective and a great way to support Mozilla’s goals and mission. These are some of the stuff I’ve been involved and I feel most proud of:

Regional support for mid-term planning

We invested in ten focus communities to help them figure out ways to grow and be healthier. I’ve been working with German, UK and France communities in this front and I’m super proud of all of them.

  • German community managed to implement a mid-term plan for 2016 and coordinate a core team to mobilize all initiatives. Special thanks to Michael Kohler for coordinating the local mobilizing efforts.
  • UK community made their first steps to consolidate as a community and met for the first time online to start thinking about plans and goals. Tom Farrow was essential for this and helped from the local community side, thanks!
  • France community took also the first steps to be more organized and effective in 2016 and Flore is working with others to make this happen. Merci!

In addition, Guillermo and I drafted the first version of the Community Playbook, a document describing some tips and tricks on how to set up and organize a local mozilla community based on past experiences from different successful communities. Thanks everyone who provided feedback, we are still improving it!

For the rest of the seven focus communities, Guillermo Movia and Rosana Ardila have been doing similar efforts in America and Asia 😀

Coaching core volunteers

Our theory is that investing in core individuals by providing coaching will result in better alignment and impact from volunteers and communities. That’s why we started doing monthly 1:1 meetings with core contributors in focus communities to know more about them and help shape their mozillian path and involvement in the community.

This has been a great challenge from me since it has involved a lot of learning on coaching techniques and research together with Rosana, Guillermo and the special support of George and Emma. Also, this has been a very rewarding experience by seeing how valuable was for people to keep these regular coaching sessions with them.

Also we expanded these coaching sessions to Global Gathering attendees, reaching and talking to all Mozfest, Orlando All Hands and Leadership summit participants. I feel this has helped a lot to provide information and alignment to people before attending these events. I would like to thank Emma for her coordination role here and Guillermo, Rosana, Faye and others that were (and still are) involved as coachers.

Evolution of the Reps program

During 2015 we have been gathering a lot of feedback on how the Reps program could reach to the next level. The first step was done during the Council Meetup in February and thanks to the great work of both Council and Peers we have been able to get to an evolution proposal we’ll be implementing together with mentors and Reps during the next months.

This is an important moment for the program and I’m proud of how we have managed to identify the needs and align them to better support Mozilla in 2016, including working closer, aligned and as part of the Participation team. The main lessons were:

  • Moving away from an event focus.
  • Growing Our Alumni Program.
  • Accountability and Visibility.
  • A Focus on Planning.

I would like to stress the great work volunteer Council members have been doing during 2015, from the Council Meetup, to Whistler and Orlando: Thanks Emma, Arturo, Raj, San James, Ankit, Bob, Luis, Christos, Michael and Shahid.

If you would like more details, Rosana wrote a great summary of all the challenges and lessons of the Reps program during 2015.

Firefox OS Participation support

Another important initiative has been the Firefox OS Participation program that William Quiviger, Brian King and the Firefox OS team have been developing and that is going to be the foundations of the new Connected Devices strategy. I helped them with communications and volunteer mobilization, as well as setting and organizing the Discourse category for the group.

This has been an interesting experience to probe participation can be a strategic advantage for a platform like Firefox OS and its future in the Internet of Things world.

All these things have be just the foundations for 2016, we still have a lot of work ahead and we are supercharged to make Participation even more relevant at Mozilla this year.

Keep it rocking the free web! 😉

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