1

A well spent Women's day

Posted by priyanka nag on 4:49 AM in , ,
On the occasion of International Women's Day, the WoMoz (Women in Mozilla) community from Pune had decided to celebrate Womanhood and technology by paying tribute to to all the women, who are working towards making a difference in the world of Open Source technology.

As per our planning, we, the organizers did gather at Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research by 9.30am. It took us less than 20 minutes to arrange the room and put up a few posters around the campus, which could give our participants, the feel of event. The event was scheduled to begin at 10am. While planning the event, we had made a few mistakes (which I have listed at the end of the post) due to which we had a really low crowd turnout. After an hour of waiting, when we were almost about to call the event off and re-schedule it, did we have our guest speaker, Manjusha Joshi walk in. It was she who motivated us to continue with the event, even if we had way less number of participants than expected.

We began with the event an hour late. There are a few events, which often make us realize the fact that number is probably a wrong metric to measure the success of an event. Quality of audience is way more important. And this one was one such rare events. Though we had just 20 people in the room, those 20 people were probably there, cause they all genuinely wanted to take something back home from the session.

We restructured the entire schedule. [The initial event schedule can be found at http://wiki.mozillaindia.org/Celebrating_womanhood_and_technology]. We decided to have only the most important sessions. Diwanshi thus began the day, introducing Mozilla. Following her introduction, we invited Manjusha mam to share her Open Source journey with us. Her story was indeed inspiring. A married woman, belonging to a traditional Indian family, could manage to achieve so much in life, fighting challenges with way less resources than what we are blessed with these days. I salute her for being an icon for all of us!

After her session, I went to the podium, to take a session on Imposter Syndrome. I guess its irony in itself that the speaker of a topic like that, herself suffers from Imposter Symdrome. Thanks to Sumana for being an awesome speaker on this topic at AdaCamp, due to which, I was not only aware of the topic, but also able to share my knowledge, further with others.

After my session, Suchita also took a quick session, introducing a few initiatives by her college clubs, before Diwanshi ended the day with a session on Privacy and security.

Though I have been a co-organizer for this event, I couldn't give the event sufficient time, due a lot of personal work I was stuck with. But, I have learnt a few very important lessons from the event:

[1] Organizing an event on a Sunday is a bad idea. Its tough to get people out of their Sunday mood and get them to do anything constructive.

[2] A lot of research needs to be done before finalizing the dates of any event. Mainly an event targeted at college student needs to be planned carefully, keeping their exam schedules etc in mind. If we are celebrating some national or international days, where ofcourse the dates can't be changed, its probably better to plan it differently.

[3] Event promotion is a big responsibility and ownership needs to be taken for this.

[4] Every event, no matter how small, should follow a RASCI model. This helps every stakeholder be very clear about their responsibilities, so as to have a smooth execution of the event.
   
Yes, we also had cake!





















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Living the dream

Posted by priyanka nag on 3:17 AM in ,
Since my very early days of Open Source contribution, that goes back to my early days of college life, Red Hat had been my dream organization! The reasons behind this was probably many. During those initial days of my Open Source journey, I had been inspired by many Open source advocates and most of them were Red Hat employees. Also, many of the events that I had attended during my early college days used to be held at the Pune Red Hat office.

Well, as long as I had this dream of getting the appointment letter from Red Hat, life was exciting....but somehow I never thought how would I react once I had it! 


On Monday, when I walked into this office building, I was just as scared as a child, when he (or she) is going to school for the first time. Things then happened one after the other...each one more exciting than the previous one! New people, new space, new desk, new laptop, new monitor, new desk phone...and finally introduction to some new work. Wait, did I flaunt about the welcome kit? Its like a complete package...with all the stationary one could need at office. Well, I love stationary...and as a friend of mine did rightly say, it was indeed Disney land for me.

 
Can't speak much about the work, since I have not done much yet....but definitely the people and the place is just what I had dreamt about! 



2

A beautiful journey, finally coming to an end....leaving Scrollback

Posted by priyanka nag on 10:15 AM in , ,
In the last 8-9 months of my life, I have gone through some of the most beautiful experiences of my life, which has helped me grow, personally as well as professionally. Now its time to move on, implement those learning in making something bigger.

Scrollback had given me a new identity. I probably got famous on social media like never before! I could never refer to it as just another organization I worked for and it will always hold the same place in my heart. But just like all good things should come to an end, this journey also needs to.

I am leaving Scrollback in a week's time. I am joining Red Hat and moving back to Pune. This was never an easy decision. I have always loved Scrollback, as a product, as an Open Source community and of-course, most importantly, I have loved the work I had been doing and the people I had around me, to always guide, support and help me.

My career graph, if we plot it now, has a lot of ups and down. I have worked as a PHP developer in the initial 6 months of my work life, before moving to Scrollback as a Technical Evangelist. Somehow, I couldn't do much evangelism here. With the need of the organization, I moved more into community management. But, well, no kidding, I am not getting any younger and need to start thinking of building one profile, in any one domain, which I can sustain for the rest of my life! When the Red Hat offer came across, I saw it as an opportunity to experiment with another new profile and see if this can be the one which can ultimately settle me down.

Its tough (well, I would like to believe impossible) to take the Scrollbacker out of me now....its too deep in my blood. I will always keep contributing to Scrollback, in all possible ways. I will be joining Red Hat as a Technical Writer. There are a lot of reasons behind my decision to join Red Hat, out of which I guess I have already told the most important one, experiment a different profile. Another big reason is the fact that this offer came from Red Hat! Red Hat has been my dream organization since my early days of college! This Open Source organization has a constant reputation of hiring really cool people, and giving the ultimate work environment, along with the required freedom both at work as well as to maintain the work-life balance. I had wanted to join the cool gang for years and finally got the chance now!

This paragraph is unnecessary. Its only for all those who have been hearing (or spreading) rumours around this decision of mine. So, if you are not one of them, feel free to skip it. My decision was not influenced by the fact that the offered job location was Pune. I love Pune as a city, I never disagree to that, but, had the job location been the remotest village in India (or any part of the world), things would have not changed. Also, I am not taking this job because my "believed" boyfriend is at the same office! Trust me, even if that was true, I don't take career decisions based on emotional influences!

Having said most of the things, just to let everyone know, I am going to continue all my Mozilla activities the way I have been. Rather, I will be taking up a few community responsibilities again, since I am moving back to Pune and I have worked way more closely with this community than the Bangalore community. I will also continue contributing to Scrollback as a volunteer, so in-case you need to reach out to me for any Scrollback related queries, I am still available.

1

RASCI model - the responsibility assignment matrix

Posted by priyanka nag on 11:18 AM in ,
In the last few days, both at my workplace as well as while dealing with a few activities around me, I have realized the importance of implementing a better responsibility assignment matrix, to get things done in a less messed up way.

A few months back, during some random conversation, a friend of mine had introduced me to the RASCI model, one of the responsibility assignment matrices.

Wikipedia says that the responsibility assignment matrix 'describes the participation by various roles in completing tasks or deliverables for a project or business process.' 

In simple words, for any project, if we can divide each person's role and responsibility, it not only ensures a better end product, but also saves the time, otherwise lost in discussions (which organizations like to call as meetings). A RASCI implementation ensures that each person is responsible for only and only the task assigned to him (or her) and will not need to interfere with another person's task, unless asked to do so.

The responsibilities roles of RASCI are:


[1] Responsible - Those who do the work to achieve the task. There is at least one role with a participation type of responsible, although others can be delegated to assist in the work required. In any project, there can be one or more people taking up this role.

[2] Accountable (also approver or final approving authority) - The one ultimately answerable for the correct and thorough completion of the deliverable or task, and the one who delegates the work to those responsible. In other words, an accountable must sign off (approve) work that responsible provides. There must be only one accountable specified for each task or deliverable.

[3] Support - Resources allocated to responsible. Unlike consulted, who may provide input to the task, support help complete the task. People under this role mostly work with the responsible ones to complete the task. They are often not expected to directly deal with the accountable people.

[4] Consulted (sometimes counsel) - Those whose opinions are sought, typically subject matter experts.

[5] Informed - Those who are kept up-to-date on progress, often only on completion of the task or deliverable.




This video really does explain the RACI in a very simplified manner.

Benefits of using RACSI

  • Determines ownership of a particular project or task
  • Promotes teamwork by clarifying roles and responsibilities
  • Improves communication by getting the right groups involved
  • Increases efficiency by eliminating duplication of effort
  • Reduces misunderstanding between and across employees and key stakeholder groups
  • Improves decision-making by ensuring the correct people are involved
  • Provides the foundation for future alignment around a given project or initiative

Steps To Creating A Successful RASCI Chart

  • Identify and list all of the activities/tasks involved in the project down the vertical axis of a chart or spreadsheet.
  • Identify all of the people/roles involved in the project and list them across the horizontal axis or spreadsheet.
  • Identify the R, A, S, C, and I for each activity/task on your vertical axis.
  • Review and discuss gaps or overlaps in your work.

 
Sources -  

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsibility_assignment_matrix]

[2] http://www.thecanoegroup.com/470/project-management-6-steps-to-creating-a-successful-rasci-chart/ 

2

My first unconference format conference - AdaCamp Bangalore

Posted by priyanka nag on 2:25 AM in , , ,
I have never been to any AdaCamp before this one, just read a lot about it. Thus, I was really excited for my first AdaCamp from almost a month before the commencement of the event. Most importantly, I was responsible to take care of Mozilla's presence at this event. This included helping all the participating Mozillians to get to the city of the event, arrange their accommodation and food and finally make sure that other AdaCampers, who were not aware of Mozilla yet, could also know about this Open Source organization and its different projects.

I met the two AdaCamp organizers, Alex and Suki, for the first time at the reception dinner sponsored by 'Web We Want' on the evening of Friday, 21st November 2014. This was the same place where I also met a lot of other amazing ladies. The most interesting part was, meeting people whom I was already connected with, virtually, but was meeting for the first time.

The next two days were one of the most amazing and learning experiences of my life! This was my first unconference format conference. When I had initially heard about this concept, I was really worried that this might be a very messy process! Not deciding tracks of a conference before hand and deciding them on the day of those sessions, in a very democratic way, involving everyone in the decision making process...really? To my surprise, this was one of the most organized way of making the schedule of a conference, I have ever witnessed. I have been to several meetings where organizers and expert panels would spend hours, deciding, arguing over the structure of an event and its agenda. How we can give participants the power to decide, choose and finalize what they want to both teach and learn from a conference was not only an amazing idea but at AdaCamp Bangalore, it was also an amazingly executed idea!


The schedule of AdaCamp Bangalore, decided by participants

Another woooow moment for me at the AdaCamp was Sumana Harihareswara's session on 'Imposter Syndrome'. I was surprised to see that every woman sitting in that room, attending AdaCamp, agreed at a point that they do suffer from imposter syndrome in some way or the other. The handouts given for this session is something I have preserved to be able to share with my other female colleagues and friends.

Mozilla got to mark a good presence at AdaCamp. All the participating Mozillians, actively proposed several sessions for the two days of the conference and to my surprise, almost all of our sessions got sufficient appreciation and made it to the final schedule. From a generic introduction session to Mozilla and its community to sessions on Firefox OS as well as Webmaker, we did it all. Diwanshi's session on the Art and Craft community of Mozilla was probably the most colorful session of the event where all creative hands got together to create some amazing stuffs. 


Some of the makes of the Art and Craft session at AdaCamp

At AdaCamp, I also learnt the skill to organize and handle 'Lightening talks' better. There were so many other sessions, workshops, lunch discussions where I have not only learnt a lot of new things, have also found so many like minded people, together in one room.

Among all the great things that this event has taught me, a few which I would definitely like to list down are:

[1] While organizing events, we often don't take care of a lot of things. Since we like our beautiful faces to be clicked and published, we ignore the fact that there might be someone who might not enjoy it the same way. At AdaCamp, they take care of everyone's privacy. You get to choose from three different colored lanyards. Based on your preference on being photographed, you could choose to wear a particular colored lanyard. I totally admired this!

[2] Many of us like to blog, tweet or post about events and learning on different social media platforms, without realizing how much we are supposed to say and where the limit should be drawn to not hamper someone else's privacy. At AdaCamp, we were reminded of these factors. I have never been to another conference where everyone's privacy, their freedom was given such importance.

[3] The compliment wall. We all like to be appreciated and during the AdaCamp, we kept being appreciated for two full days. We had a wall where we had initially pinned up a lot of compliments, which we could think of, and later for the next two days, those compliments got down from the wall and reached the deserving person.  


The wall of compliments

I have learnt a lot from AdaCamp and honestly, if I organize events in the future, reflections of those learning will surely show!


The AdaCampers of Bangalore



1

Portland coincidental work-week

I will leave my travel adventure out from this blog post cause they are sufficiently interesting to deserve a separate, dedicated post. So, I will jump directly to my experience of this co-incidential work-week at Portland.

On the first day, when I walked into the Portland Art Museum in the morning, I was overwhelmed to see so many known faces and being able to flag a few new faces to their IRC nicks (or twitter handles), whom I was meeting for the first time outside of the virtual world. 



What's your slingshot?

During this one week, I heard a lot of amazing people, from David Slater to Chris Beard, from Mark Surman to Mitchel Baker....too much awesomeness on the stage! The guest speakers on the first day was Brian Muirhead, from NASA who made us realize that even though we were not NASA engineers, and our work was limited to the earthen atmosphere, sometimes the criticality of projects or the way of handling them didn't need to differ much. The second day's guest speaker, Michael Lopp (@rands), was a person I had been following on twitter but never knew his real name or how he looked untill the moring of 3rd of December. The talk about Old guards vs New guards was not only something I could relate to but also had a few very interestig points we could all learn from.

After the opening addresses on both days, I found a comfortable spot with the MDN folks. I knew that under all possible circumstances, these would be the people I would mostly hang-around with for the rest of the week. Well, MDN is undoubtedly my most favorite project among all other possible contribution pathways that I have (or still do) tried contributing to.


We do know how to mark our territory!

Just like most Mozilla work-weeks, this week also had a lot of sticky notes all around, so many etherpads created and a master etherpad to link all the etherpads and a lot of wiki pages! When you know that you are gonna be haunted my sticky notes for at-least the next one week, you can be sure that you had a great workweek and a lot of planning. Plannings around the different contribution metrics for MDN, contribution recognition, MDN events for 2015, growing the community as well as a few technical changes and a few responsibilities which I have committed to and will be trying to complete before the calender changes it reading to 2015....it was a crazy crazy fun week. One important initiative that I am not only interested in being executed by also am willing to jump into in any possible manner is the linking of Webmaker and MDN. To me, its like my two superheros who are planning to work together to save this world!

I didn't spend much time with the community building team this week, other than the last day when I could finally join the group. First and foremost, Allen Gunner is undoubtedly one of the best facilitators I have seem in my life. Half of the session, my focus on his skills and how I could learn a few of them. I am happy to have been able to join the community building team on their concluding day as I got a summary of the week's discussion as well as could help the concluding plans and also make a few new commitments to a few new interesting things that are being planned in the year 2015.

Well, I am not sure if I have been able to do a good job at thanking Dietrich personally for inviting me and hosting me at his place for the fun filled get-together, but I sincerely do confess that I had way more fun at his party than I had expected to. Meeting so many new people there, mostly meeting so many amazing engineerings who are building the new mobile operating system which I not only extensively use but also brag about to my friends, family and colleagues.

A few wow moments -

[1] Seeing @rage outside the twitter world, live infront of me!


[2] Mitchel's talk on how Mozilla acknowledges the tensions created around the last few decisions that went out and her explanation around why and how they were made and were important.


[3] Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' live performance at the mega party.


[4] My first ever experience of trying to 'dance' with other Mozillians. Yes, I had successfully avoided them during the Summit, MozFest and all other previous events in the last 2 years.


[5] The proudest moment for me was probably the meeting of the MDN and the webmaker team. When neither of the teams knew every other member of the other team, I was probably the one person who knew every person in that circle. Having worked very closely with both the teams, it was my cloud nine (++) moment of the workweek to be sitting with all my rock-stars together!

A lot of people met, a lot of planning done, a lot of things learnt and most importantly, a lot of commitments made which I am looking forward to execute in 2015.

0

My Portland To-do list

Posted by priyanka nag on 10:03 AM in , ,
My travel to Portland, the city of Roses, is going to start in a few hours. I have always loved being a globetrotter....visiting different places, trying different fun things, meeting a lot of new people...all of it. I am not much of a planner though. I have being to places and gone with the flow. This time, I wanted to do things a little differently. This time, I thought of making a to-do list of all the things I would like to do, see, eat, drink etc in Portland. Everytime I complete executing one task, I will tick it off. Lets see, by the time I am back in India, how many of these items can I get done with!





Action items:



Things to do:

Try out some Voodoo Donuts
Try out some S'more pudding


Check out some alcohol free Portland nightlife (one of them surely is the Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade
(Totally missed it)


Things to see:

Portland Art Museum
Powell's City of Books
Portland Audubon
Benson Bubblers


Forest Park
International Rose Test Garden
Multnomah Falls

I am sure this list is going to be modified on the go, as and when I get to explore the city a little more.


P.S. - Ofcourse all of these action items are to be executed only after the work hours of the work-week.




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