Wikimedia Discovery/Meetings/Discovery retrospective 2016-10-13
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Previous action items
- Everyone: Review 10% time policy, and discuss possible changes on its talk page: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Discovery/Experimentation_Time
- No discussion there yet
- Mikhail: Discuss beta analytics with David (and/or others)
- (Forgot to ask about the status)
- Mikhail: Consider what it might mean for a team lead to take on "analysis liaison" responsibilities
- (Forgot to ask about the status)
- Kevin: Schedule next DiscoRetro♫, and note in the etherpad that tl;dr from team retros are encouraged
Issues raised in team retros
- Have we improved with documentation and communicating changes in data widely?
- Regarding TextCat A/B test mix-up: "Team(s) handled the communication well--no complaining, finger-pointing, etc."
- Our dashboards are a source of admiration from other teams; one person described them as "That awesome analytics platform that you use"...Dan continues to hear remarks such as "Discovery is awesome at A/B tests" and similar
- Room for improvement: More tie-ins with the analysis teams from other verticals?..."Data Analysis Coworking Days" were awesome!
- Should Mikhail have to do sys admin stuff? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps Guillaume could be more involved?
- No interaction between Interactive Team and Analysis Team...Maps dashboard is languishing and is not being used (?)
- Figure out if we want to split up Mikhail and Chelsy for meetings and teams
- Yuri handling the conversation on WikiVoyage regarding Maps (50+ replies!)...Feeling great to be working FOR and WITH the community
- hard to track all the bullets and sync the phab tickets, onwiki discussions and actual live deployments all together
- Concerns about ops: balance between autonomy and top-down control...but Guillaume is doing a great job and is helping with this
- Concerns about status of integration testing
- Success with qualtrics. Didn't end up using quicksurvey.
- Some frustrations getting timely code reviews from people not on the team
- Good support from Chris, Dan, Quim, and others after receiving uncivil responses
- Extensive interactions with translation folks
- Received volunteer contributions
- Cooperation that we had with Comms (Ed and Jeff) was great!
- The portal layout talk page, with involvement from community and team members, significantly improved the final design.
- Didn't research page views within 60 days of the huge increase :( :(
- phan (php static code analyzer) is proving a useful addition to CI testing
- somehow we partially own the production logging infrastructure (by being elasticsearch "experts")
- Ongoing frustrations with cindy (integration tests)
- working with mobile team to implement geo features
- Addressed some technical debt and made code look saner
- Doing some good work with Graphs team to make visualizations easier (e.g. integrating w/WDQS)
- Some concerns about being limited to weekly deployment window (but probably best for now)
- Help from Chris and Benoit on getting request for comment/translations on the Village Pumps
- Shifts in product management between Dan and Deb for analysis and search seemed to go well
- Wikimania was fun and productive
- You all might not see it much, but having a team of liaisons I (Chris) can talk to is like having a (small) army behind our work :)
- Analysis, Interactive, Portal, and Search teams all had offsites or other gatherings where at least some members got to spend time together in person
- Guillaume has shared some concerns about his prioritization and visibility of work across multiple teams
- Translating our (major) communications should be more common (this is on me - CK)
- Recurring "tech chats" have worked well for both search and interactive; search has sometimes invited Deb
- KH: Try not to put in extra hours, generally. Time-sensitive occasional things are understandable.
- Spark projects!
- Lots of kool demo at last CREDIT showcase!
- 1 DevSummit is being planned. Consider what Discovery might want to get out of that event+
Department-wide things that are working well
- Very much appreciate the support in communicating with the community (Search says thanks to Chris & Deb!) Weekly status reports are great, too!+1
- 2 Being involved in several of the recent technical conversations with Analysis and Search has been delightful. I (Deb) love hearing the thought processes behind some of the seriously techie things that we do as a team. It enables me to grow more knowledgeable about everything Disco.++
- 1 Weekly status reports have really taken off and become an incredibly good way to communicate what's happening in Discovery+
- 1 Despite having multiple sub teams, the Discovery team is still something that has a real existence. Not easy to do, but well done!
- +1. I feel like generally Discovery has a lot more cross-sub-team cohesion than other verticals. Our smaller size does make that easier, but it's still the result of active efforts of people involved. So that's nice. :-)
- We're doing well with taking into account those peeps that are remote and in vastly different time zones (scheduling meetings and chats) :)+
- Agreed! From my perspective as a SF-based staff member, it seems like we're really doing well at the remoteness thing because I can work from home with zero issues, and have few concerns about being remote from the UK for a few weeks later this month :-)
- Good input and collaboration on ideas for the search results page from lots of people on the team
- Great use of Phabricator to synchronise our efforts
- This ties into the remote-friendlyness point above
- Also increases our documentation and transparency
Department-wide things that could be improved
- 6 The comment under Portal above about code reviews: we're getting big enough and dispersed enough as a team that we can have that cross-team prioritization problem. ++++++
- One good thing though is that we are still close enough that a nudge may be all it takes to spur needed action
- 3 Surveys—Qualtrics is limited in how many we can do and not lightweight. It'd be nice to have our own mini-surveys on search results, for example.+++
- Reading's QuickSurveys don't address any of our needs
- 5 Getting more (and sometimes clearer) descriptions into Phabricator on work that needs to be done.+++++
- Would like to see some PM attention on WDQS future directionsDepartment-wide things that are a mixed bag
- 4 We've gotten used to working with Deb—and made improvements in our process—so we're sorry to see her transition away from Search; OTOH, transitioning from Dan to Deb went smoothly, so transitioning back should be even easier. ++++
- Some nodes in the team network have almost no direct connection, but more do than are strictly required
- e.g., Trey says: thanks to various meetings and the unmeeting, I talk to almost everyone on the team at least every week or two—except Julien; I almost never talk to Julien. On the one hand, it could be a lot worse, on the other hand, it was better when we had the whole team DiscoRetro♫ more often.+
- 3 Having a more limited role in Search is sad for me (Deb) - I've really enjoyed getting to know the team better and how they operate (like a well oiled machine!). However, transitioning over to the Interactive team in a limited role allows me to get involved with more cool things. I'm also super happy that I still get to work with Jan regarding Search/Portal and with Mikhail and Chelsy on the Analysis team.
- I (Guillaume) is really happy to see Deb joining Interractive as well! :) +++
Other Department-wide notes, issues, concerns, questions
- 8 Looking forward to Erika starting on Monday! Yay!+++++++
8 Looking forward to Erika starting on Monday! Yay!+++++++
- Anything we should prepare? HR should handle most of the basic "welcome" stuff.
- When she's in the office, it would be great if someone could take her to lunch
- 1:1 meetings as she gets settled in
- She should get invited to the unmeetings (Trey) and Discovery checkin (Kevin)
6 The comment under Portal above about code reviews: we're getting big enough and dispersed enough as a team that we can have that cross-team prioritization problem. ++++++ (One good thing though is that we are still close enough that a nudge may be all it takes to spur needed action)
- Reminder that it's OK to nudge people, even across teams
- Often gentle friendly nudges will be appreciated
- Some issues with specialization
5 Getting more (and sometimes clearer) descriptions into Phabricator on work that needs to be done.+++++
- Task descriptions should have enough detail in the description that someone could figure out what it means
- Worth a few seconds to create a decent title, and description
- Mentioning other tasks either in the description or as a sub/parent task can help
- Examples of helpful tasks used in Chelsy's onboarding:
- Also helpful to add comments to indicate why it is changing state (moving to a column, getting reassigned, getting declined)
- Is it acceptable to update a description of someone else's task, such as if the comment thread is really long?
- Like a wiki: if you can improve it, go for it. Use discretion.
4 We've gotten used to working with Deb—and made improvements in our process—so we're sorry to see her transition away from Search; OTOH, transitioning from Dan to Deb went smoothly, so transitioning back should be even easier. ++++
- Makes Dan happy to hear. Would like to hear what has improved. Could happen outside this meeting.
- Example of an improvement: having devs attend weekly planning mtg
- Deb has a way to add structure to what she does, subtley, by asking questions. It's great. It's a rare gift.
3 Surveys—Qualtrics seems limited and not lightweight. It'd be nice to have our own mini-surveys on search results, for example.+++
- Qualtric and QuickSurvey are both limited. It would be great to have better options
- Is QuickSurveys feature set helpful but the implementation is off?
- It worked well for the team that created it, but doesn't help us--not based on page content, not across multiple pages
- We tried to adapt it, but didn't really work
- Qualtrics is expensive
- Maybe when we have site-wide A/B testing, it could have some survey features
3 Having a more limited role in Search is sad for me (Deb) - I've really enjoyed getting to know the team better and how they operate (like a well oiled machine!). However, transitioning over to the Interactive team in a limited role allows me to get involved with more cool things. I'm also super happy that I still get to work with Jan regarding Search/Portal and with Mikhail and Chelsy on the Analysis team.
- As the transition back to Dan moves forward, if you have feedback, please share it!
Do people find this All-Discovery retrospective useful? Is the frequency right?
- A few people said they like it; nobody expressed discontent
- If you have any feedback or suggestions, feel free to follow up afterward with email!
- (Offline suggestion: Every 2 months rather than 3?)
- Erika should get invited to the unmeetings (Trey) and Discovery checkin (Kevin)
- Katie asked HR to schedule a lunch meeting for Erika; Dan will add people as appropriate