Wikimedia Discovery/Retrospective 2015-06-16

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Review of action items from last retro (May 6)[edit]

  • Suggestion: Mobile team had a monthly showcase (a very positive/happy meeting)
    • DONE: We just had our first monthly showcase, and more are scheduled monthly
  • Hopefully we can make our team page more visual
    • DONE: Team page now has photos
  • Not sure what the point of some of the meetings is
  • Need to get better with mailing list, process, etc.
    • IMPROVED: Process is defined and documented. No specific actions taken on "getting better w/mailing list").
  • Lack of process is preventing us from getting some things done that we should (but is heading in the right direction)
  • Getting work that the product owner wants doing actually picked up by engineers
    • IMPROVED: Hopefully the new process has improved this
  • Establish prioritization -- What are our goals? Are we on track to achieve them?
    • IMPROVED: Hopefully Dan has made the goals and priorities clear
  • Unclear how ongoing work (Wikidata Query Service, Maps & Geo) relate to our departmental objectives
    • IMPROVED: Hopefully this has been communicated by Dan and Wes
  • We should all get together somewhere/sometime (ideally not at SF office)
    • IN PROGRESS: Wes is still working on this
  • Need some kind of survey thing where people can say when they'll be available for offsite
    • DONE: This was done (google doc, google sheet)
  • Still no schwag, patches, or t-shirts
    • IN PROGRESS: On the way, expected in early July


What went well[edit]

  • Wes gives thumbs up to Dan's talk, other presentations, and team attending them
  • Feels like we have a better handle on metrics now
  • Feels good that someone (Oliver) is working on the relevance measurements (at least starting to have a plan is great)
  • James is doing fabulous summrizations of external presentations
  • Dan did an awesome presentation!
  • Prioritising tasks has been working really smoothly by insisting they go through the PdM consistently
  • State of the Map conference was hugely useful (conference in NYC)
  • Habemus Scio! (hopefully we have found our data analyst)
  • Hiring has been going well (aside from when Wes+Tomasz were out simultaneously)
  • Meetings have been rpoductive, and often quick
  • Good use of IRC channel (helps make us more of a team)
    • Using buffered clients is helpful so people get it even if they're not there (suggestions for Linux/Mac/Win?)
  • Doing well accommodating remoties
  • Nice onboarding template by Nik
    • +1. I'm using it for the Analyst job as a template.
  • Feeling positive about recruiter transition (was worried, but seems OK)
  • Deflected non-Discovery requests away from Oliver with some success
    • Oliver really appreciates support from Wes/Dan/Tomasz and others


What could have gone better?[edit]

  • Clarify the association between prioritized tasks and team goals/milestones
    • Process for pulling tasks into sprints has not been communicated clearly
  • Data Analysis is bushed; ongoing tasks suck up too much bandwidth to allow for long-term planningx
    • We are working on some short-term work at the cost of not doing longer-term beneficial work
    • Non-Discovery work didn't help, but hopefully improving
  • Data Analysis is only half-scrum; we don't do points and Oliver's hairline would like us to switch (to scrum)
    • Another case of process not being communicated clearly
  • Tuesdays feel like a write-off with all the planning (~4 hrs of meetings)
    • Wouldn't save time to spread it out over multiple days
    • Nik/Stas prefer clumping them in a single day
    • I feel better with one "meeting day" than lots of interrupting meetings on different days
  • Clear blockers more quickly/frequently -- e.g. designate a scrummaster, or hold more frequent standups
    • Kevin is the "scrum master"
    • Example of blocker is portal EventLogging
      • Any code review is slow in WMF...requires frequent poking
      • If something gets blocked a long time and nothing breaks, maybe it is lower priority?
  • We are working on a lot of things slowly, rather than a few things quickly
    • process based on code review is a forced pause, so some multitasking is unavoidable
  • Confusion due to having engineering work in data workboard
  • Foundation doesn't have standard for IRC buffers) (bouncers)
    • It's called email ;)
      • Google Wave?
    • If you email techsupport@wikimedia.org they can set you up with an irccloud account. On the downside you have to use their client, but it does the buffering and whatnot.
    • If you ask mukunda (irc: twentyafterfour) he has setup something on digital ocean for which he is willing to give out accounts as well
    • Max would rather not feel obligated to read logs from multiple channels
  • Some information droppage (is Bob Flagg doing work for us? )
    • Bob is joining us as search relevance eng. Should have been announced.
    • When people are out, some stuff might not get delegated
  • Didn't get David scheduled ito the retrospective
  • Protecting Oliver and really everyones time from randomization tasks (is improving but ongoing challenge)
  • Few of us sitting close to each other
  • Two search outages recently
    • Nik had to bring cluster back while tired because others aren't trained up
    • Erik volunteers. Max woldn't mind but feels overloaded with maps stuff. Nik proposes David.
    • WMF contact list and/or Eng contact list should be kept updated
  • We should have no single points of failure anywhere
  • People being sick
  • Budget has been a moving target
  • Guiseppe has represented us in ops, but we might need more

What confuses us[edit]

  • Are we hiring frontend engineers? Yes, we are. Thats our one open rec.


Retrospective of retro[edit]

  • Went well. Important.
  • Should it be half an hour longer?
    • Shorter encourages discipline
  • Yuri needs a Mac :trollface:


Actionable Concerns (pulled from above)[edit]

Kevin

  • Schedule our next retrospective
    • DONE. Retrospectives are now recurring meetings.
  • Clear blockers more quickly/frequently -- e.g. designate a scrummaster, or hold more frequent standups
  • Process for pulling tasks into sprints has not been communicated clearly
  • Kanban (not Scrum) process has not been communicated clearly
  • Everyone should make sure their contact info is up-to-date (https://office.wikimedia.org/wiki/Contact_list)
    • Everyone has info now...I can't tell whether or not it is up-to-date
  • Didn't get David scheduled into the retrospective
    • I have made a few changes to my process which will hopefully avoid this in the future
  • Stacking meetings on one day works well for some people, but not for others
    • More people seem to propose stacking them, so will continue with existing schedule for now
  • Lack of IRC norms regarding buffers/bouncers, and whether people read scrollbacks

Dan

  • Confusion due to having engineering work in data workboard
    • FIXED (engineering work has been removed from analysis board)
  • We are working on a lot of things slowly, rather than a few things quickly
  • Data Analysis is bushed; ongoing tasks suck up too much bandwidth to allow for long-term planningx
  • Protecting Oliver and really everyones time from randomization tasks

Wes/Tomasz

  • Guiseppe has represented us in ops, but we might need more
    • IN PROGRESS: Wes is meeting with ops, and expects ops elastic support person for Q1
  • Some information droppage (notably when Wes/Tomasz are out simultaneously, or Dan by himself)
    • Noted, and will remain vigilant in the future
  • Few of us sitting close to each other
    • IN PROGRESS: Tomasz has proposed a new seating plan
  • Budget has been a moving target
    • Can't go back in time to improve the past, but can improve moving forward
    • Wes is approaching grant funding and as issues arise will petition for additional funds as needed.

Nik

  • Two search outages recently
    • Ops wrote up incident reports
    • Root causes are being tracked in phabricator
  • Nik is a single point of failure