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On John Leaving Mozilla

Posted 4 months, 1 week ago at 00:56. 2 comments

J├ĄgerbombJohn has posted his farewell over on his blog.

John’s been managing me now for 6.5 years. I’ve had other friends/mentors/managers before, but it was under John that I became a manager myself.

Everything I’ve learned about people-first, no-nonsense management has come from him. Everything I’ve learned about cross-group co-ordination and asking the right questions has come from him. Everything I’ve learned about Irish whiskey has come from him.

On the technical- and pure getting-shit-done-side, the Google Tech Talk he gave on “Release Engineering as a Force Multiplier” is probably the only resume he’ll ever need, even if he doesn’t actually need it.

Where does John’s departure leave Mozilla, and more specifically, our release engineering team, and even more specifically, me?

I don’t know, but I’m optimistic, mostly because of the imprint left by John on all of us.

Current Tunes: Audien - Wayfarer | Filed under Build/Release, Firefox, Friends, Management, Mozilla, Nostalgia

On 1-on-1s

Posted 4 years, 1 month ago at 17:19. 1 comment

Jordan vs. Bird: One on OneA few weeks ago, dria blogged about the format she had adopted for conducting 1-on-1 meetings with her manager. As a nascent manager myself, I had been struggling to come up with a better framework for my own meetings. I ran dria’s chosen format by Armen and he was supportive, so for the past two weeks we’ve been giving it a try.

The new meeting format is working pretty well for us so far. Here are some of the key things I like about it:

  • The framework makes it easy to decide when in the meeting to discuss which issues. The project-based agenda I used previously tended to encourage digression, but that’s kept to a minimum now. Certain meeting sections are pure reporting (e.g. accomplishments) and others are meant for discussion (e.g. blockers).
  • It puts an onus on both parties to be prepared. Armen sends his notes to me the night before so I always have a chance to prepare help/advice beforehand.
  • The video chat is great as a remotie. Armen has an office he can go in to in Toronto, but I have no such luxury. Having these meetings “face-to-face” (i.e. Skype) is a big win, at least for me. Non-verbal communication can help us move faster through the agenda at times. Conversely, it can also allow me to pick up on signs that something may be amiss. Both functions are invaluable.

Our success with the format has encouraged me to push the format back up the chain: John and I are going to try the format next week for our 1-on-1.

Current Tunes: The Gareth Emery Podcast - Episode 99 | Filed under Management, Mozilla