We are very engaging

Yesterday someone asked me what the engagement team is up to, and it made me sad because I realized I need to do a waaaaay better job of broadcasting my team’s work. This team is dope and you need to know about it.

As a refresher, our work encompasses these areas:

  • Grantwriting
  • Institutional partnerships
  • Marketing and communications
  • Small dollar fundraising
  • Production work (i.e. Studio Mofo)

In short, we aim to support the Webmaker product and programs and our leadership pipelines any time we need to engage individuals or institutions.

What’s currently on our plate:

Pro-tip: You can always see what we’re up to by checking out the Engagement Team Workbench.

These days we’re spending our time on the following:

  • End of Year Fundraising: With the help of a slew of kick-ass engineers, Andrea and Kelli are getting to $2M. (view the Workbench).
  • Mozilla Gear launch: Andrea and Geoffrey are obsessed with branded hoodies. To complement our fundraising efforts, they just opened a brand new site for people to purchase Mozilla Gear (view the project management spreadsheet).
  • Fall Campaign: Remember the 10K contributor goal? We do! An-Me and Paul have been working with Claw, Amira, Michelle, and Lainie, among others, to close the gap through a partner-based strategy (view the Workbench).
  • Mobile Opportunity: Ben is helping to envision and build partnerships around this work, and Paul and Studio Mofo are providing marketing, comms, and production support (the Mobile Opportunity Workbench is here, the engagement-specific work will be detailed soon).
  • Building a Webmaker Marketing Plan for 2015: The site and programs aren’t going to market themselves! Paul is drafting a comprehensive marketing calendar for 2015 that complements the product and program strategies. (plan coming soon)
  • 2015 Grants Pipeline: Ben and An-Me are always on the lookout for opportunities, and Lynn is responsible for writing grants and reports to fund our various programs and initiatives.
  • Additional Studio Mofo projects: Erika, Mavis, and Sabrina are always working on something. In addition to their work supporting most of the above, you can see a full list of projects here.
  • Salesforce for grants and partnerships: We’ve completed a custom Salesforce installation and Ben has begun the process of training staff to use it. Much more to come to make it a meaningful part of our workflow (Workbench coming soon).
  • Open Web Fellows recruitment: We’re supporting our newest fellowship with marketing support (view the Hype Plan)

How to Mofo

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. (Example templates here and here.) Use the project brief when you…
  • …Have a project kick-off meeting. Invite *all* the stakeholders to get involved early.

Communication:

  • 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

Update: To hack on the next version of this, please visit http://workopen.org/mofo (thanks to Doug for the suggestion!)

Talking to people

At the beginning of October, I went to Austin for the Digital PM Summit, which is an amazingly useful gathering of digital project managers, now in its second year. I was invited to speak about Retrospectives—my favorite topic! I enjoyed putting together a presentation and talking with some really talented PMs about how to create a culture of experimentation and continuous improvement.

Then, earlier this week, I had the opportunity to talk with the very smart and fun YNPN Launchpad Fellows about how to apply Agile methodologies to non-technical projects in nonprofit organizations. I’m becoming a little obsessed with non-technical applications of Agile (see ScrumYourWedding, coming soon!)

I <3 talking to people!

Kayaks, Nachos, Pipelines, and Funnels, or: The Mofo Engagement Fall Work Week

Last week, the Mofo Engagement Team and Friends (terrible band name) met in Toronto for some some serious boating, eating, and hacking.

Prelude: With some much appreciated assistance from Erika, I got over my fear of boats and managed to canoe up and down a bit of the Humber river during our pre-work week Super Engagement Team Fun Day. We may not have been fast, but we had style (assuming your definition of style includes crashing into the riverbank). Later, I tricked several of my co-workers into ordering giant platters of nachos at Sneaky Dee’s. It was a cheesy, oversized start to the work week.

On to the work-y part!

The agenda was ambitious. We had four concurrent tracks, each with their own projected outcomes:

  • The set-up for the End of Year fundraising campaign
  • The creative brief, RACI, and roadmap for the Fall Webmaker Sales Campaign
  • The 2015 Grants Pipeline
  • And the partnership strategy, systems, and sales team for growing Webmaker

Did we achieve what we wanted to achieve?

All that, and more.

The End of Year Fundraising team was on fire. The project had been well-prepped in advance, so the team was able to use the work week as a sprint and deliver a slew of prototypes and designs. They tackled the snippet, optimized donation forms including a brand new sequential flow, localization, the fundraising.mozilla.org website redesign, overarching branding, and even an awesome community marketing idea.

The Partnerships team had several rich conversations where they identified possible partners, clarified roles, and simulated the entire sales flow using human props, sticky notes, and impressive improv skills. (I left that session with a post-it note on my laptop that read, “Why would clown mentors come back to the site?” A question for the ages.)

A centerpiece of the Fall Webmaker Campaign is the post-sales funnel which includes custom partner landing pages and a choose-your-own-adventure style event wizard to help people get started with one of three easy/fun Maker Party events. The entire funnel got spec’ed and wireframed and the Event Wizard got some design love during the work week.

(Note: The Partnerships track and the Fall Webmaker Campaign track were largely merged into a single Fall Webmaker Campaign with elements including sales, marketing, design, and product dev. The campaign is focused on reaching our 10K contributor goal, and will leverage key partners with large networks. In addition to honing our value proposition to partners, we’ll also use the opportunity to refine our marketing funnel. Later, we’ll go out and introduce a broader addressable audience to the top of the funnel. At that point, there will be a clear distinction between sales and marketing, but for the Fall campaign, we’re working in tandem.)

The 2015 Grants Pipeline team got to spend some quality time with our brand new Salesforce installation. They make web-to-lead forms, trigger events, and dashboards seem downright glamorous!

Phew.

Does this seem like a lot of stuff? That’s because it is a lot of stuff! But never fear, it’s all summarized on the Engagement Team Workbench. (You can also see a complete list of what we delivered during the work week here.)

I was amazed at how much was accomplished during the work week. My co-workers are some of the raddest, most capable and action-oriented people I’ve had the privilege of knowing. Lucky me to be a part of it!

Maker Party Engagement Week 5

Week 5!

tl;dr highlights of the week:

  • Though we saw significant jumps in Wm accounts and events, our Contributor numbers did not increase accordingly
  • We’re identifying many opportunities from the partner calls
  • Hack the Snippet is coming soon, along with the next iteration of the snippet funnel
  • The TweetChat created a temporary increase in Twitter engagement, but took attention away from press

Overall stats:

  • Contributors: 5552 (2% increase from last week’s 5441)
  • Webmaker accounts: 124K (17% increase from last week’s 106.3K)
  • Events: 1799 (crazy 50% jump from last week’s 1199)
  • Hosts: 493 (10% increase from last week’s 450)
  • Expected attendees: 76,200  (23% increase from 61,910)
  • Cities: 362 (40% increase from 260 – what caused this jump?)
  • Traffic: here’s the last three weeks. We continue to see the major boost from the snippet.
 

traffic

  • And the Webmaker user account conversion rate increased a bit further:
 

conversion

——————————————————————–

Engagement Strategy #1: PARTNER OUTREACH

We are learning a lot from the partner calls. Here are some of the most salient takeaways (borrowing from Amira and Melissa’s notes during Friday’s call):

Partner trends
  • Partners see value in badging their event mentors, speakers and volunteers as a form of appreciation. But there is a potential for those who receive the badges to have no idea who is badging them or what it means (lack of connection to MP). Opportunity: We need to better explain to people why they’ve received a badge and why they might want to create a Webmaker account.
  • Partners are doing things but we just haven’t captured them.  Opportunity: We need to offer real value to users in order to increase the amount of sharing/broadcasting/badging that happens through the site. 
  • Some people need way more training — Opportunity: this is where the event wizard might play a role; there also might be an opportunity to run TTT within certain orgs and spaces.
  • We need to clarify our value statement for partners. It may not be in  adding numbers to their events or traction to their programs/site, or getting press for non-Hive partners. Instead it may be in providing resources and curriculum. We can better segment partners into affinity groups (e.g. afterschool programs) and provide content, trainings, resources, CTAs specifically for them.  We can also localize those offerings to reduce hand-holding.
  • People don’t understand how broad our definition of Maker Party is: everyday events, small events, stands/booths/tables within other events — have to push them to realize that and include all of these on the events platform (note from HK: I would argue we have to offer them a reason to)
  • Opportunity: There’s the summer wave and back to school waves. We need to have strategies and actions towards both.
  • Challenges:
    • Age and time continue to be a blocker for new Wm accounts.
    • Mass emails to order swag, upload events, share information just didn’t work. They need 1-to-1.
    • We lost interest by a lot of people along the way. There’s a good 20-30% we will not be able to bring back in.
    • Parties sound like fun kid-like things (making toys etc.)
    • Getting the Maker Party logo/brand included in event promotion in a meaningful way is not happening, and the meaning behind the brand seems to cause confusion in some cases.

PROMOTIONAL PARTNERS: We continue to see only a tiny amount of referrals from promotional partner urls with RIDs.

——————————————————————–

Engagement Strategy #2: ACTIVE MOZILLIANS

Haven’t heard anything this week, but Amira and I are meeting with the FSA Community Manager on Monday of this week.

——————————————————————–

Engagement Strategy #3: OWNED MEDIA

Snippet Funnel:

The snippet funnel continues to perform well in terms of driving traffic. We’re aiming to beat a baseline 1.8% conversion rate.

We were a bit blocked by technical issues this week and weren’t able to release the new tailored account signup pages, but we continue to work on that.

The “hack the snippet” test was delayed, but will be live soon. We have a comms strategy around it (for after it’s been tested).

——————————————————————–

Engagement Strategy #4: EARNED MEDIA

Press this week:

Aside from a cross-post of last week’s Washington Post Magazine story (http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/workinglife/want-a-tech-job-what-to-study-in-a-fast-moving-field/2193050), we didn’t see press this week. We were focused on our Net Neutrality tweetchat instead.

SOCIAL (not one of our key strategies):

As expected, the Tweetchat temporarily increased our Twitter engagement for a two-day period—we saw double the usual amount of favorites, retweets, and replies. You can view the Storify here: https://storify.com/mozilla/net-neutrality-tweet-chat-from-mozilla-s-teaminter

The #MakerParty trendline for this week is back up to where it had been two weeks ago: 

trend

 

See #MakerParty tweets here: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23makerparty

1/3 of a year

Four Months (just remembered this blog is for (H)an(n)a(h)grams, so: Fonts Humor)

I’ve been here for four months. I think the famous Mozilla firehose is finally starting to slow down. A main difference between me now and me three months ago is that now, on most days, I actually know how to do the things on my ToDo list. SuperBonus: I can usually follow what’s happening in meetings now!

Significantly, I’m starting to add things to my ToDo list that are more than just the bare minimum of program maintenance. I’m starting to understand where I might be able to innovate and add value.

About a month after I started, I inherited the job of maintaining @Mozilla social channels, and about a month after that, I inherited the job of managing the relationship with our Maker Party PR company. Together these things took up a good chunk of my time over the past two months, largely because they’re outside my area of expertise (I helped launch a social media program at my last job, but that was back when Twitter was brand spankin’ new, and things have changed tremendously since then).

While I think both of these tasks ended up providing me with a great platform for learning about the organization (I have to know what’s going on so I can tweet about it!), I am looking forward to focusing more intently on the aspects of the program manager job I feel I’ve been neglecting.

I Feel Good (I Do Elf Ego)

Some of the things I feel good about from the past few months:

  • I think the Maker Party engagement updates and analyses (some of which I’ve posted on this blog) have been helpful in sparking some good conversation at our daily “Peace Room” meetings. Also, charts make me seem smart.
  • Our Salesforce for Partners implementation is a tiny bit behind schedule, but I feel good about where we are in the process. I was glad to be able to take this partially off of others’ plates and share the burden, because no one should have to face Salesforce alone.
  • Working with Dave, Erika, Mavis, and Sabrina on the Advocacy site has been a pleasure, and I think the end product is going to be great.
  • Yesterday’s Tweetchat was pretty fun.

Can Do Better (rent taco bed)

Some things I want to work on in the months ahead:

  • I want to operationalize what it means to be a Clockmaster, and refine the suite of tools we use to manage our work. Now that we have Sprinter, I feel a lot better about Bugzilla (which, I admit, I headdesked about for the first couple months I was here). But I don’t think it fully meets our needs, so we’ll need to supplement with other tools and processes.
  • I want to help reduce the pain in our grant reporting process. Gettin’ paid shouldn’t hurt so bad.
  • I want to crack the nut of social media. I was inspired by a recent conversation with Michaela Smiley, and I believe we can do a much better job of engaging and serving our community, while also better expressing the Mozilla brand and growing the Webmaker community. Hashtag win.
  • I want to make sure Maker Party 2015 is even more full of awesome by capturing and acting upon our learnings from this year. In general, I’d like to help create a culture of reflection and continuous improvement. Not to get too existential, but isn’t this what life is about? </insight into hannah’s worldview>
  • I want to improve our systems for distributing knowledge across the organization. I’ve seen really good examples of this (Andrea’s email-fu workshop, the Fundraising workshops that happened a few months ago, Geoffrey’s trendlines workshop from this morning, and probably many more). I don’t think Encyclopedia BestPractica is working as a tool for knowledge sharing, so I’d like to come up with something that meets people where they are (rather than making them come find it).
  • I want to keep improving our cross-team collaboration. Even in my short time here, I’ve already seen great strides in this, but there’s more to do. This project brief template is one of my first direct efforts toward that, in addition to just building relationships with many of my super rad co-workers.

Finally, I just want send a big ol’ shout out to said co-workers for making my first third of a year so enjoyable.

Onward!

Heartbeat: Engagement Style?

On a recent Webmaker call, I learned about the proposal to have the Webmaker teams start operating on a regular schedule, which has been dubbed “heartbeat.” Each heartbeat lasts two weeks, and includes planning, retrospection, heads down working, a mid-point check in, and demos.

I dig this. I was a Scrum Master in my former life, and the heartbeat idea echoes Scrum, which I know to be a super effective tool for creating rhythm on a team.

In addition to the benefits/goals cited in the presentation, I would add that rhythm is also good for:

  • syncing between teams
  • increasing accountability and trust within a team
  • ensuring continuous improvement
  • increasing velocity/productivity
  • improving morale

Here are some thoughts on how we might implement a heartbeat within the context of the Engagement team:

  • Identify the right heartbeat duration. Does two weeks make sense for the highly responsive and externally-focused work we do?
  • Incorporate planning into our team meeting. This might just mean making sure the answers to the question “what will get done this week?” are in bugzilla and/or on the workbench. I’ve found that planning works best when teams are operating from a shared, continually updated backlog of items. If you have this, “planning” can be very low effort: it’s simply pulling a set of items from the top of the backlog and labeling them with the upcoming heartbeat.
  • Add demos to our routine. This could be part of the weekly team meeting, or perhaps could be done in an ad-hoc way. Creating the expectation that each part of the team will demo something during each heartbeat would lend even more intentionality to the planning.
  • Incorporate retrospecting behaviors. This might mean a 10-minute debrief at the end of every heartbeat, either for the whole team, or perhaps divided into the different functional areas. It might mean building a virtual suggestion box for people to share ideas about how to improve our process, or cultivating a weekly “One thing I will do differently this week is…” habit. There are lots of ways to build a culture of action-oriented retrospection!

Curious to know what others think about adopting the heartbeat model for the Engagement team.