Wikimedia Search Team/Retrospective 2015-05-06

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Introduction[edit]

This retrospective is a chance for the team to reflect on what has and has not been working well, and to suggest improvements moving forward. Since this is a new team, the focus will be on the last couple weeks, but feel free to share relevant stories from whatever team you were on before joining this one.

What is going well?[edit]

  • OMG maps are workeeeeeng (in labs, test env)
    • +10
  • We hired David (starting about a month from now)
  • Interesting questions about data, immediate response from product
  • Having a scrum master on the team!
  • Very fast turnaround on data questions that I (Dan) have
  • Search, a core function of the site, finally has a dedicated team
  • Self-management through the initial reorg chaos
    • +1
    • (sticking to existing backlog while awaiting other instructions)
      • Not always clear that they are the best things to do, but better than nothing
  • Nik supporting the team with leadership and hiring
    • +1 to Nik being awesome.
    • +1
  • Really awesome engineering support for data!
    • (extremely rapid turnaround from eng for a recent request)
    • (generally very good responsiveness compared to pre-reorg)
  • Meetings have been lightweight and efficient
  • Checkin meetings have value, esp for remoties
  • Having multiple teams in one meeting has helped the group gel
    • (especially important while this team is new)
    • It’s some noise but it allows us to bond as Search & Discovery
  • Suggestion: Mobile team had a monthly showcase (a very positive/happy meeting)
    • Very useful to have a diverse audience and showcase the most important things teams have worked on.
    • User centric but i think we can adapt it
  • IRC channel is working well
  • Mailing lists: No objections. Some confusion about which one to use
  • Team Page : https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Search_and_Discovery
    • Basics are there and good.
    • TF hopes we can make our team page more visual
    • More content is on the way (KS has TODO items)
  • People are being respectful of remotie issues
    • Will get better as we are more remote
    • Still pretty good as is
  • Relevance position Job Description is live -
  • We have collected data on wikipedia.org home page (thank you Oliver)
  • Kevin supporting us through this retrospective
  • Good feedback on the data analyst job description

What can be improved?[edit]

Process and meetings[edit]

  • Not sure what the point of some of the meetings is
    • Meeting has been repurposed, probably should change the structure
    • Mon/Thur meeting - no board/tracking that shows where the work is coming from
    • Difficult to follow the meetings if you're not directly involved
    • One idea: Have everyone fill in the etherpad before the meeting
  • Unclear process, mixed transparency levels
    • Need transparency both in the process, and in the meta-process for figuring out our process
  • Need to get better with mailing list, process, etc.
  • Don't force 100% of convos on mailing list, but any decisions need to be documented there
  • 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
    • There's a product owner?
  • How do we get stuff from freezer/product backlog into sprint boards so they'll be worked on?
    • (process definition will help)
  • Should have ongoing discussions, rather than just coming up in retrospectives
  • When will product start adding stories, sprints, etc
    • Some has started; much more should happen by next week

Goals and Priorities[edit]

  • Defining what search quality means and defining our KPI's
    • Hard question to answer. Need to define success/failure (Moiz will connect with Nik)
  • Establish prioritization -- What are our goals? Are we on track to achieve them?
    • +1 need moar goals,
    • -1 fewer goals, finish them, then add more goals
    • One goal was that "build a team" thing....
  • Understanding goals helps devs make day-to-day decisions
  • Having a process with regular prioritization meetings may help with this as well
  • Need research. Work underway. Is the research the current goal?
    • Yes, Q4 primary goals include research.
  • Unclear how ongoing work (Wikidata Query Service, Maps & Geo) relate to our departmental objectives
    • Need definitions of done. Timebox.
  • Maps/geo ended up in search for unclear reasons

Offsite activities[edit]

Other[edit]

  • Almost none of us sit next to each other
    • Maybe that's a good thing? Makes everyone like a remotie
      • +1 +1 +1e12
    • Need to maintain remotie-friendly discipline even if some people do sit together
    • Forcing banter and gossip into IRC is not a bad thing...involves the entire team
  • This effort to get us out of dynamic scripts I'm (Nik) doing is going more slowly than I'd like (tech issue)
    • Had to push back release date 3 times
    • Maybe Nik could delegate more?
  • Unclear connection to WikiData
    • +1
    • We have worked on WDQS, but what is the long-term relationship?
    • Challenging because they are a non-foundation project
    • Nik was the mediawiki-core member who talking with them frequently so is friendly
  • Having to split Oliver with the legal team (I'm polydatarous)
    • Limited term, but indeterminate
    • Can't divulge what is being worked on
    • We should push for a timeline for when we can get Oliver 100%
  • Still no schwag, patches, or t-shirts

Next retrospective:[edit]

  • An hour seems about right
  • Not more than a month from now. 2 or 3 weeks are reasonable choices. Maybe 3.
  • Avoid scheduling conflict with RfC meeting

Retrospective retrospective[edit]

  • How well did the retrospective work?
    • Only helpful if we walk out with action items
      • +1
    • Safe place is good
    • Ideally come up with action items and owners...at least for the top-voted issues

Action Items[edit]

(Pulled from above)

  • Suggestion: Mobile team had a monthly showcase (a very positive/happy meeting)
    • Showcase meeting is part of the meetings proposal already under discussion
  • Hopefully we can make our team page more visual
    • OWNER: Kevin (will has added photos to the team page)
  • Not sure what the point of some of the meetings is
    • Proposal for new meetings is already under discussion
  • Need to get better with mailing list, process, etc.
    • ???
  • Lack of process is preventing us from getting some things done that we should (but is heading in the right direction)
    • Proposal for new process is already under discussion
  • Getting work that the product owner wants doing actually picked up by engineers
    • Hopefully already underway (?)
  • Establish prioritization -- What are our goals? Are we on track to achieve them?
    • Wes has circulated a draft document explaining departmental aspirations
  • Unclear how ongoing work (Wikidata Query Service, Maps & Geo) relate to our departmental objectives
    • Wes has created a draft slide deck explaining this
  • We should all get together somewhere/sometime (ideally not at SF office)
    • OWNER: Wes
  • Need some kind of survey thing where people can say when they'll be available for offsite
    • OWNER: Kevin (created a google doc)
  • Still no schwag, patches, or t-shirts
    • OWNER: Wes+Moiz (T-shirt design is already under discussion)