Wikimedia Discovery/Meetings/Discovery retrospective 2017-01-05

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Previous action items (from 2016-10-13)[edit]

  • Erika should get invited to the unmeetings (Trey) and Discovery checkin (Kevin) Yes Done
  • Katie asked HR to schedule a lunch meeting for Erika; Dan will add people as appropriate Yes Done

Issues raised in team retros[edit]

(Kevin went through team retro notes and attempted to pull out items that are either cross-team in nature, or are particularly notable for other reasons.)

  • Analysis team
    • Glad about Coordination with Search team on test metrics/analysis of tests - quick results
    • Sad about Lack of integration between Analysis and Interactive  (early November)
    • Glad that interactions with Interactive are better, but still not great (mid-December)
    • There are several IP addresses have been doing weird things to us, e.g. pinging portal million times per day, sending the same search queries thousands of times per day.
    • Working with Nuria and Dan A to clean up logs and other fun stuff
    • Mikhail/Chelsy generally not attending search sprint planning meetings. (Conscious, healthy decision; they are now officially optional)
  • Interactive team
    • Documentation and discussions are all over and everywhere - hard to keep track when something new pops up on a new page
    • non functional requirements are not getting as much attention as they should +
    • Glad that We are spending some time trying to understand how we work
    • Contributor help with deprecating <slippymap>. RolandUnger really stepped up to help address templates across Wikivoyage
    • Sometimes challenging to get timely answers from legal (paraphrased)
    • Did 2 Team Health Checks, in October and December
      • Tech debt does not seem to be increasing (or decreasing). (October)
      • Speed causes some friction with other teams, and some churn with rapid changes of direction. (October)
  • Search team
    • Sad that No train deployments for a couple weeks put a bit of a cramp in everyone's style
    • Sad that There are no data analysts in this retrospective (October)
    • Lots of good repayment of technical debt due to the interwiki search refactor.
    • In November, did a Team Health Check (2017-11-22)
      • We don't need much support from other teams because we have it all within the team (ops, analysis, PM, etc.)
      • It can be hard to get relevant feedback from users about search.
      • I appreciate our code review process. For all the complaints about cindy breaking, having jenkins, cindy, and peer review makes all our code better. It's much better than anywhere else I've worked.
      • UI work has been quite slow :/ getting community feedback, collaborating with designers etc...
      • accidental vs essential complexity

Department-wide things that are working well[edit]

  • Very happy with goal-setting process. We discussed the need for and value of new language analyzers with PMs, and now it's a quarterly goal. (The example is team specific, but the praise is dept.-wide)
  • Community engagement is going well. We're talking to folks early and often.
  • At least one person knows how to spell (at least some words)(on some days)
  • I enjoy working with y'all. - Mikhail +1♡

Department-wide things that could be improved[edit]

  • Still have little to no interaction with some team members because this is the only full-team meeting where everyone is encouraged to speak up (the weekly meetings are great, but most people don't talk in most of them)
    • Unmeeting?
      • It's certainly an opportunity, but not everyone can make it regularly.
      • And at the unmeeting, not everyone wants to / needs to speak up - some like to just listen :)
      • I frequently have to miss the un-meeting as the only thing I can actually skip... :(
      • We have the opportunity to talk next week during All Hands!
  • Is cross-team code review still an issue?
    • Yes, but decreasing as the amount of work on Portal team has slacked off considerably
  • Unclear about the Design within our vertical and how "we" want it to work ++
    • We are hiring for a manager who would also be a designer and capable of doing design research
    • Important to have design represented at the same level of product and engineering
    • The org needs more strong design people (influencers/advocates)
    • Concern about having developers report to a designer
    • Concern about hiring from outside rather than internal
    • Concern about the desired skillset - I heard management skillset is needed, as well as design research, as well as some engineering. Unicorn?
      • If primary goal is a manager - let's not expect that person to actually do coding (we don't expect Erika to code, right?)
      • If primary goal is a designer - lets promote good designers from within, otherwise there is no incentive to be better, if we keep hiring from outside
      • These issues have been worked out with recruiting. (also, the last three lines did not occur in the meeting)
  • Teams (e.g. search and interactive) are not working together, what does it mean for the future of Discovery?
    • same for other teams (reading, desktop vs mobile)?
    • Concern that we have an overly complex mgmt structure
    • Discussion about Design mgr vs. Eng mgr vs. Product mgr
    • "Designer" vs. "UX engineer"
    • Concern that the new Designer/manager might take over design work currently being done by Julien/Jan

Other department-wide notes, issues, concerns, questions[edit]

  • (none mentioned)

Is this all-Discovery retrospective valuable?[edit]

  • Yes
  • Quarterly is OK; every 2 months might be better
  • Having the list of items that came from team retros is worth doing

Action items[edit]

  • Katie will arrange a meeting w/designers about rationale for design manager hire