About:Quality Newsletter

Anthony Hughes

Last week, QA followed up the Mozilla All-hands with a week of our own to collaborate. One of the most dramatic observations noted during the week of the All-hands is that Mozilla has grown considerably this year. More employees attended the All-hands than were at the Mozilla Summit last summer. The All-hands was a week of discussion, discovery and this set the stage for the QA work week. The QA work week was three full days of sessions, meetings and social events as chronicled on the wiki page.

Of particular note, the QA workweek was attended by two members of our Romanian QA team, Ady Beleanu and Otilia Anica. The Romanian team is our outsourced partners at Softvision; a software service company based in Cluj, Romania. Mozilla QA has been slowly building a solid relationship with Softvision and the Romanian QA team is now almost 20 strong. Having Ady and Otilia here to experience the all-hands and QA workweek was great. It certainly helped strengthen our ties and relationship with them. It also gave us insights how we can work better together in the future.

Chat with Gary Kovacs

A highlight of the QA work week was the chance for a team lunch with Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs, This was a candid discussion with Gary who gave some enlightening perspective on where Mozilla is headed. Clearly we are targeting many key growth areas of the Web and the biggest push is on mobile. Mobile platforms are where web consumers and users will be computing in the future. Firefox and Mozilla technologies will need to compete there to allow our open web mission to be part of that innovation experience. Gary noted that our recent growth as company has been a big transition for us. We will continue to be open and transparent in what we do, but communicating this well to the world is something we need to do better. QA certainly will need to be part of this corporate transition and the quality of our products and services will be key to market success.

Visibility and Leadership

The final, and most thought provoking, session of the week as about brainstorming solutions for increasing visibility and leadership within QA. The session invoke good discussion on what QA visibility and leadership means to everyone and how we currently measure ourselves within these terms. The team has grown considerably in it’s depth and capabilities in the last year and  it was a general consensus that we have more work to do to increase our visibility and leadership and ultimately our effectiveness within Mozilla and the Community. Some of the initiatives we decided to move forward on include:

  • Communicating frequently and broadly about what we do and the value we bring to the process of delivering quality products and services to our users.
  • Establishing ourselves as project partners and technical leaders entrusted to make the hard, credible and respected decisions on release readiness.
  • Transforming our processes to be more proactive than reactive.
  • Increase our Community engagement as QA technical leaders, collaborators and mentors.


The community is, has always been, and will continue to be central to everything we do and to our success. We sat down and talked about ways we can improve our relationship with the community and tried to identify initiatives we could do in the short and long term. Overall, reasons for engaging community split into two categories:

  • things which immediately help our products get better (resources, knowledge, feedback, and help)
  • ways we can give back to ourselves and the community (fun, openness, and responsibility)

We identified initiatives which we will need to focus on in the long term to help engage the community better:

  • concentrate on education and mentoring
  • form reciprocal relationships with contributors and leaders who emerge from the community
  • be more clear about the responsibilities and benefits of contributor roles
  • review paths into the community and contribution, and actively seek feedback

These initiatives will be key in everything we do going forward. We also identified a few initiatives we can do in the short-term to push forward these long-term initiatives:

  • define our vision for the community experience
  • create an exit survey to get better feedback from community members who stop contributing
  • collaborate with other teams to find out how we can better serve the community
  • look for more online and offline venues which may create potential opportunities for community
  • actively review our paths into the community


As the web moves forward at an extreme pace, Mozilla projects are emerging and collaborating with common technologies. The focus on mobile also puts an emphasis on combining browsing and tooling. One example of such a project is BrowserID, which touches the Open Web App store, Firefox Home (aka Pancake), HTML5 supported browsers, and mobile smartphones.

QA is learning to grow, adapt, and collaborate in lock-step with these global changes. The following are some initiatives we will be driving forward to improve collaboration and quality:

  • collaborating on core test plans in a single location
  • pooling resources with more awareness and self-managed sign-off criteria
  • testing scope spanning multiple, vertical product teams while defining collaboration points
  • unify test environments, frameworks, servers, and data management as products mature

Overall, to maintain quality and to keep pace with the web, we will need to user vertical product teams as “sandboxes” until products reach maturity, identify those collaboration and unification points to maximize our effectiveness and success.

Roadmap for QA (where do we go from here?)

The  QA team will be focusing its efforts on 4 integral areas: Release Execution, Automation, Specialized Focal testing, and Community growth. This is all in an effort to expand on exploratory areas, automate the weekly acceptance tests, and increase our communal activity. If you’re interested in hearing more about these 4 areas or getting involved, don’t hesitate to contact us:

Wrap Up

Everyone, including especially the community, has worked hard to get where we are and should be proud of their recent achievements. However, continued QA org success will require us to have broader visibility and leadership. This should come from a bottom-up and top-down approach with the need for everyone in QA to raise their own personal visibility and leadership presence. The team will be working on both longer term improvements as well as the little wins that can move us in the right direction.