Wikimedia Discovery/Meetings/Portal retrospective 2016-03-23

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Discovery Portal Retrospective

2016-03-23

What has happened?[edit]

Covering whatever has happened related to the team since the last retro (2016-02-22)

  • Lila left; Katherine as interim ED
  • Julien transferred to Maps (aka "interactive team")
  • Pushed improved search box to production
    • Lots of good feedback from internal (WMF) and external users (community)
  • Quarterly goals planning
    • Lots of good and lively discussion on how and what we wanted to do
  • Pushed A/B test for language detection to production on March 22
  • Fixing a lot of minor bugs from the earlier search box production release
  • Updated portal stats
    • Decided on regular schedule to update the stats
  • Oliver left
    • MIkhail got a title change/promotion: Count Logula the Second
    • Oliver successfully trolled the foundation by announcing a title change/promotion that doesn't actually mean anything

Review action items from before[edit]

  • n/a

What went well?[edit]

  • Pushing the code to beta has been automated.
    • We had a few issues with keeping it in beta (was overwritten a few times), but it worked wonderfully to test out the new searchbox and the A/B test before they went live
  • Using the 'push to beta first' approach allowed us to catch caching issues before they reached production.
  • There was lots of community/team feedback & bug reports on the new search-box.
  • The phabricator 'discussion' column motivated lots of discussion on various topics.
  • Multiple reports analyzing users and sessions:
    • JS Support
    • 10% Referral Traffic
    • Post-deployment Assessment
    • Clickthrough rate by preferred language (coming soon!)
  • Code reviews seem to be working well even after Julien has moved to maps.
  • Chatting with Chris K about portal releases - he's always got the good connections and recommendations
  • Chatting with Design Research to plan our upcoming user-facing portal research
  • 3x a week meetings are good - they give enough of a catch-up for me (deb)
  • Moiz is rocking the new mocks for the A/B tests
  • Aha of creating a portal that doesn't lose any functionality

What could we improve?[edit]

  • Pushing the new search-box to production took considerably longer then expected. The design didn't take into account the no-Javascript/mobile use-case and thus the code had to be re-implemented for production.
    • Moving forward, devs are working closer with designer to prevent this kind of oversight
    • Seeing design WIP early on helps
    • This reflects a potential trade-off of testing rough ideas quickly--harder to move to production
    • Prefer to do things right the first time rather than writing "temporary" code, which all too often becomes permanent
    • Security won't allow quick dirty code even if it's only in tests
    • Jan: Moving forward: For prototypes (e.g. demos off user pages), quickie is fine, but for users, it should probably be production quality from the start
    • Jan: Beta site currently is master branch, destined for production, so should probably be production quality. Maybe should have more formalized demo site than user pages
  • There was some confusion as to what was going to be included in the A/B test, whether it contained the localized slogan or not. Showing more in-progress work would have made that clear.
    • Our new process of pushing to beta should help this; having earlier demo pages might help even more
    • Make sure tasks in workboard are in the correct column
  • A/B test results? (Actual results seemed different from what we expected based on the test)
    • Results actually were within report projections
    • Possibly report could emphasize the range more emphatically
  • WHAT IS GOING ON WITH QUICK SURVEYS... I THOUGHT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE QUICK (The ultimate irony.)

What else should be noted?[edit]

  • Some challenges working through the "groan zone" to decide on Q4 goals (and generally the roadmap)
    • Natural for groups of people; different perspectives, opinions, goals
    • Gets people involved and invested in the work (nice side effect)

Retro of retro?[edit]

This was the first-ever retrospective of the small Portal team (as opposed to the entire Discovery department). It was an experiment. How did it go?

  • Moiz: Good. Focused. I knew something about everything that was discussed, which was nice. Didn't make me feel guilty
  • Mikhail: Much like with the analysis retro, I liked the focused aspect. Going in depth with team-specific issues, rather than hearing just a little bit about all the things
  • Jan: I like it too
  • Deb: I liked it too, but was quieter than the whole team
  • An hour seems to be the right length
  • Maybe have a full-department retro every quarter? Inter-team stuff. (could be on Q boundary)

Action Items[edit]

  • Jan: Document "production quality", beta site, demo sites, etc.
  • Kevin: Try to unstick quick surveys