OpenMatt and I have been talking about the various ways of working at Mofo, and we compiled this list of what we think works best. What do y’all Mofos think?
When starting a new project:
- Clearly state the problem or goal. Don’t jump ahead to the solution. Ameliorating the problem is what you’ll measure success against, not your ability to implement an arbitrary solution.
- Explicitly state assumptions. And, whenever possible, test those assumptions before you build anything. You may have assumptions about the nature of the problem you’re trying to solve, who’s experiencing it, or your proposed solution.
- Have clear success metrics. How will you know if you’re winning? Do you have the instruments you need to measure success?
- Determine what resources you need. Think about design, development, content, engagement, evaluation, and ongoing maintenance. We’re working on improving the ways we allocate resources throughout the organization, but to start, be clear about what resources your project will need.
- Produce a project brief. Detail all of the above in a single document. (Examples templates here and here.) Use the project brief when you…
- …Have a project kick-off meeting. Invite *all* the stakeholders to get involved early.
- Have a check-in plan. Will you have daily check-ins? Weekly email updates? How are you checking in and holding each other accountable?
- Build a workbench and keep it updated. We recommend a wiki page that will serve as a one-stop shop for anyone needing information about the project. Things to include: links to project briefs and notes, logistics for meetings, a timeline, a list of who’s involved, and, of course, bugs! Examples here, here, and here.
- Put your notes in one spot. A single canonical pad for notes and agendas. We don’t need to create a new pad every time you have a meeting or a thought! That makes them very hard to track and find later. Examples here and here.
Doing the do:
- Plan in two-week heartbeats. This helps us stay on track and makes it clear what the priorities are. Speaking of priorities…
- Learn the Fine Art of Prioritizing. Hint: Not everything can be P1. The product owner or project manager should rank tasks in order of value added. Remember: prioritization is part of managing workflow. It may be true that all or most of the tasks are required for a successful launch, but that doesn’t help a developer or designer who’s trying to decide what to work on next.
- Work with your friendly neighborhood Tactical Priorities Syndicate. The name sounds scary, but they’re here to serve you. They meet weekly to get your priorities into each two-week heartbeat process. https://wiki.mozilla.org/Webmaker/TPS