Let's discuss changes needed with the Multilingual Initiative meetings

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

For quite a long while we had a consistent pace of Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative meetings every other Wednesday at the same time intermixed with in-person sprints. This is very predictable and easy to put on calendars and plan for. Unfortunately our initial big turnouts on these meetings went down recently and we are only a few people on the IRC meetings usually. However based on the huge success of the in-person meeting in Szeged at Drupal Developer Days 2014 (see picture), it is clear there is a huge interest in getting together and figuring things out together.

So it is logical that we should look at the format and/or timing of the meetings and figure out how best to go forward. Maybe our every other Wednesday slot does not work. Maybe we just need to move the time. Maybe the IRC format does not work best, or we need to alternate the IRC meetings with hangouts like the configuration team does alternating meeting types every other week.

Please answer the following questions in comments to help us move forward:

- Is the IRC meeting medium working well for you?
- Would you suggest we change the IRC meeting format in some way (use IRC but structure meetings differently)?
- Would you suggest we pick different meetings times?
- Would it help if we'd meet every week but at alternating times to accommodate more people?
- Would other types of meeting mediums work better? Hangouts maybe?
- Any other suggestions to make the meetings more valuable or easier to attend for you?

Thanks for your feedback!

Note that I'll be traveling when the next (April 9th) meeting slot comes around, so will not be able to lead that meeting. Feel free to have that meeting in IRC and save the meeting log for later review though.

Comments

Some thoughts

vijaycs85's picture

Thanks for initiating this discussion. Here is my answer

  • Is the IRC meeting medium working well for you? - Yes, as I can stay there while at work, it is best.
  • Would you suggest we pick different meetings times? - current timing works for me.
  • Would it help if we'd meet every week but at alternating times to accommodate more people? - current timing works for me.
  • Would other types of meeting mediums work better? Hangouts maybe? - for me IRC is best as I don't have to find a quite room (in case of hangout).
  • Would you suggest we change the IRC meeting format in some way (use IRC but structure meetings differently) / Any other suggestions to make the meetings more valuable or easier to attend for you?
    IMHO, we need to focus on very limited set of issues that is in hand/ progress. Currently the focus board used as a backlog + sprint board (in agile world). We may need make it as sprint board and discuss only those issues in meetings and may be add new item to board, if a new person joining the sprint?

sprint board

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

Yeah I agree the sprint board is used as a "someone is working on this who may need help, so let's keep track" and "this is important to work on". Originally these two had more of an overlap as people had more time/drive/help to work on issues so things moved faster. Now the situation is somewhat unfortunate that we want to focus on beta blockers and criticals so we help there most but at the same time don't want to leave bugs unattended and also don't want to leave new people unmentored/unattended either.

So we may want to start using a tag for things that need help/mentoring and use the sprint tag for real focus stuff? Not entirely sure how to resolve this, but the lack of progress based on looking at the sprint board is bad and probably contributes to people not being active a great deal :D

Now the situation is somewhat

vijaycs85's picture

Now the situation is somewhat unfortunate that we want to focus on beta blockers and criticals so we help there most but at the same time don't want to leave bugs unattended and also don't want to leave new people unmentored/unattended either.

Agreed. We may need to prefer beta blockers as priority candidates for #sprint,though most of them are complex that requires high skill.

So we may want to start using a tag for things that need help/mentoring and use the sprint tag for real focus stuff?

Right. Current focus board solves 3 problems:
1. Current sprint tasks.
2. Tasks that need help/ mentoring
3. List of D8MI tasks(backlog).

As you mentioned, we can keep current focus for #1 and separate board for #2. The audience of #3 would be less (May be you & @YesCT). So it can be hidden/ direct link etc.

sprint = needs mentors

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

So the backlog is all the issues tagged D8MI: http://www.drupal8multilingual.org/issues/all, the sprint page is not the backlog. I think you may feel like the sprint page is the backlog exactly because we are not making very good progress on some issues. But that is because we don't sustain people working on them well. So if we'd only mark issues we are actively working on with a stricter definition, we would only have like 2-3 issues on that page, no? I would personally hope we could improve velocity on those issues instead of dropping them altogether but we do need to drop at least some of them.

As for beta blockers, I created http://www.drupal8multilingual.org/issues/betablockers and added it to the menu. So we have a page now focusing on the most important things.

So in summary:

Hope to get people on board for this! :)

**SPRINT ALL THE CAMPS**

penyaskito's picture

My view on this is that we got such an awesome team than some people have been "stolen" for other initiatives that were more in need of it, which is not a bad thing per se.

For the meetings themselves I think the channel is good, because as Vijay pointed out, it makes it easy for people who are at work to attend (or check logs later if they couldn't make it).

For the format, I think is quite flexible and works well.

For the frequency, I may suggest to make it weekly. I've been at most of the meetings, but sometimes I doubt if it is this Wed or next one, so maybe we should do it every Wed if it does not mean a big preparation for anyone.

About progress itself, the only thing I can suggest, but not sure if it would work out, is assigning issues people more explicitly... you know, "force" those that are not known to be involved in something concrete. Sometimes they are shy to take issues themselves, and we should "force" them to take one while at the same time make clear that they will be mentored if needed and if suddenly they don't get to a fix issue by themselves it is not a failure, but part of the process of getting involved. I would try to involve some people for next meeting.

For the hard/blocker problems... I only can think of cloning some concrete people, but not sure if that is allowed in most countries.

And, last and not least: WE HAVE A LOT OF CAMPS COMING IN THE NEXT MONTHS. Let's try to make a sprint happen in all of them. This will on-board more people for sure during the events, and probably on the mid-term too.

--
Christian López Espínola (@penyaskito)

sprints all the camps

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

I would love to list the sprints on the site. Now its only the NYC and the Austin sprints listed as upcoming. I think first step is to ensure sprints happen but then we need to promote them as such too, so people know about them. Often people don't know about them enough (in advance).

My opinion

kfritsche's picture

IRC is working well and most of the time we have a log online, so people who couldn't attend still have a log, which they could read. Or like often happend to me, to check again what I should have done.

Instead of asking if there are question, after the announcment phase, maybe try to lets everybody explain what they are working on, like we did at the in-person meetings in Dublin and Szeged. Don't know if this works so good in IRC, but at least everybody has to say something.

The meeting time is for me often a problem, but as everybody knows this time now, I'm not sure if we should change it. At the time I'm often still at the office and can't really check or I'm at the way home.

Hangouts would be fine for me too, but I'm not sure if this works for everybody and somebody has to do the minutes of the meeting.

meeting time

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

You were the only one with a meeting time problem. I would love for you to attend! Should we try and hang around longer or can get you somehow to stay longer in work or somesuch? :) Is there some way we can make this work for you?

I feel strongly that the irc

YesCT's picture

I feel strongly that the irc format works.

It makes "note taking" automatic, the irc log.
And gives people a chance to re-read something someone just typed, translate words they read, or are in their head to share with the group.

I think "pinging" people in irc before the meeting helps.
We can remind people to add the calendar to their google calendar.
Tweets of reminders of the meeting help me also.

The time is often conflicting for me till May, but May is approaching soon.

I think a weekly meeting is a good idea. (They dont have to be long. :) )

I like the idea of starting the meeting saying hi, and having each person say what they worked on recently. And we can ask what would help them.. maybe shifting to another issue, getting feedback, review, getting another person.

We could spend some meeting time changing priorities. For example take 2 or 3 people who might have worked on 6 separate issues alone, and shift them on to few issues, but with a plan to review each others work, get the issue moving, temporarily take the other issues off sprint. And go back to the other issue later.

People with low bandwidth for issues could come up with a list of 1 or 2 issues they will "watch" closely. People with more bandwidth could have a longer list.

Now I'm rambling. Just thinking how difficult it is to keep a list of "issues I want to review for people" separate from "all the everything am following". Using gmail tags is getting me closer, so maybe figuring out a way to help others keep their list of "stuff to watch closely" and make sure we are paired up more on issues.

A tag for issues that need mentor type of feedback is an interesting idea.
Would communicate the idea they are a priority for the team in a different way than the sprint tag.
We should think more about this in terms of D8MI and also d.o in general.

See related https://drupal.org/node/2173425 "[META] Merge DrupalMentoring.org features into Drupal.org"
Someone (maybe me) should make an issue in that queue for brainstorming exactly that problem. How can mentors (which is almost any experienced contributor, no need for thinking of just "official" mentors) keep track of issues they want to give special attention to because they are helping some newer contributor?

Cathy Theys

mentored/favorited

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

As for the mentored/favorited thing we have two levels of issues we care about at this point I think:

  1. The issues that are in the critical path for D8 release. These are ATM the beta blockers and generally the critical issues.

  2. The issues that we have people working on and need to keep in mind to review, get back to etc AS A TEAM. I am not sure personal follow solutions would work for issues for this because we need marking for the team so more people know which ones are to be moved.

I think we are using the sprint tag for 2, but then we don't really take good care for nudging them forward and therefore have them in the "sprint" for too long while. Then we don't want to drop them because they are not in fact minor things and people already put their work into them. But we keep passing them around to others in in-person sprints because prior people we had on them did not complete most of them unfortunately. We need a better way to nudge them forward with the same people after sprints and pass them on to others who complete them... So I think we are not really using the sprint tag inappropriately but we don't really go through those issues on a timely manner.

Maybe for 1 we should just expose a page with the beta blocker issues.

So I renamed the "Focus issues" tab to "Current issues" and added a "Beta blockers" tab at http://www.drupal8multilingual.org/. So now we can use that tab to get people look at the REALLY important things and the Current issues to handle what is on the sprint. Now to increase the throughput of "the sprint" :)

Someone (maybe me) should

YesCT's picture

Someone (maybe me) should make an issue in that queue for brainstorming exactly that problem. How can mentors (which is almost any experienced contributor, no need for thinking of just "official" mentors) keep track of issues they want to give special attention to because they are helping some newer contributor?

https://drupal.org/node/1621714 "Allow to bookmark/favorite issues without abusing the Assigned field or issue tags"

Cathy Theys

Sorry

tstoeckler's picture

The date and time actually work for me and I agree that IRC is a good format.

I just haven't managed to keep this on my agenda, so I've mostly been not attending because I forgot. I'll try to better myself, from now on!

twitterpings++

YesCT's picture

For our meeting that just happened, I was just arriving in another timezone and found being tweeted @ very helpful.

https://twitter.com/penyaskito/status/453903398556160000

Cathy Theys

changed meetings to every Wed same time

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

So since there was no suggestion for new times, I changed it to be every Wed now. I hope @kfritsche can make it work somehow? :) If you are subscribed to the calendar at http://www.drupal8multilingual.org/events you should get the new events automatically. Otherwise, subscribe to the calendar! :)

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