Wikimedia Discovery/Meetings/Discovery retrospective 2016-10-13

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Contents

Previous action items[edit]

  • 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
    • Yes Done

Issues raised in team retros[edit]

  • Analysis
    • 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
  • Interactive
    • 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
  • Portal
    • 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 :(  :(
  • Search
    • 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
  • Non-team-specific
    • 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[edit]

  • 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) :)+
    • +1
    • 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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 8 Looking forward to Erika starting on Monday! Yay!+++++++

Deeper Discussions[edit]

8 Looking forward to Erika starting on Monday! Yay!+++++++[edit]

  • 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)[edit]

  • 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.+++++[edit]

  • 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. ++++[edit]

  • 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.+++[edit]

  • 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.[edit]

  • 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?[edit]

  • 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?)

Action items[edit]

  • 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