My experiences working local and remote for Mozilla

5 September, 2011 § Leave a comment

I started working for Mozilla in the beginning of June 2011. In my near three months at Mozilla, I’ve worked mostly full-time from the Mozilla headquarters in Mountain View, CA. I’ve also spent two weeks working from East Lansing, MI and another day working from our San Francisco office.

Mozilla has employees and contributors located all around the world. Catering to all timezones can be hard to do successfully, but I have been impressed with the amount of thought and resources that are applied to include/accommodate those working from different regions.

Once a week there is a weekly project status meeting that is broadcasted on Air Mozilla. Some meetings are also archived for those who happen to be in bed at 11am PDT. We also have other regularly scheduled meetings that take place in some of our conference rooms.

One such conference room is Warp Core. Meetings that are held in the (physical) Warp Core room can often be visited through our Vidyo conference system in a virtual Warp Core room. The virtual room and physical room don’t always overlap, but in most situations they do. The big power of this is the ability for remote employees to feel free to join meetings without being invited. I’ve worked at companies before whose remote-working setup required someone local to phone the remote employees. This often led to remote employees being left out of daily stand-ups and other meetings.

All large conference rooms at Mozilla include a high quality video camera that points at most of the room. When remote employees connect through video conferencing, their video shows up on a TV in the conference room. This allows all participants the opportunity to see each other. Meeting attendees also have the option to phone in.

Code reviews take place asynchronously through BugZilla, and most discussions take place either through email or on IRC. I use to keep a persistent IRC connection open in case someone wants to contact me when I am away from the computer.

Overall, I think Mozilla does a great job at helping their remote employees be as successful as possible.

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