MozFest 2012: How to Work Open

by Matt Thompson (absent), so actually Gunner

Processes & Tools

The process and tools, and how things are done should be open. Etherpad – like a google doc. Collaborative, and in Mozilla, tied to conference calls.

Give guidelines, not direction.

Open Philosophy

Some are a little open, but to be truly open, everything is open not just the nice looking bits. For example, the Firefox mailing list is open. The discussion on Chrome “kicking their butts” was a public discussion.

Need to pro-actively report out, especially for offline conversations.

Community

If you’re going to work in the open, it’s about the community. Have to ready to share: ownership, control, everything.

How to contribute from day one. Make a wishlist (e.g. documentation, testing – never done). Ask for things to be added to the wishlist.

Have core community values.

Motivations

  • Pain
  • Passion
  • Fame
  • Fun

Having a Narrative

Naming the contributors, and having an ongoing story.

Give other voices a channel. Invite others into the narrative. e.g. put someone else’s story into your blog.

Governance Model

Still have to have governance though. Study other successful projects, e.g. wikipedia. Key is a benevolent dictatorship with radical openness.

Risk

Risk aversion and fear is failure before even beginning.

Study the licenses and pro-actively license your content. e.g. GPL, Mozilla

Disagreements

Leading with questions to ask one-on-one why they

E-mail and IRC suck.

Best practice is to move to audio/video if the e-mail and IRC is not working.

Setting frame for discussion. Turn it from “Do you want a vitamin?” to “Do you want the orange or purple vitamin?” Another example would be to share only benefits of two choices.

Open Corporations

Use open paradigm. For example, Twitter uses volunteers to localize, so even though it doesn’t use an open platform, it uses an open model.

But propriety, locked down systems are in the process of dying. There are companies that are open software corporations e.g. Firefox, Redhat. What really makes you special is customization, service, etc.

Start internally. It doesn’t need to be open externally. It can open within the organization first.

Learn from Others

Study the successful open companies and organizations.

Model

Model for success, status quo and failure as a win, because you have learned what not to do again.

Think ahead and think aloud.

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