Over the last few months I’ve been surveying people who’ve participated in testdays. The purpose of this effort is to develop an understanding of the current “brand” that testdays present. I’ve come to realize that our goal to “re-invigorate” the testdays program was based on assumptions that testdays were both well-known and misunderstood. I wanted to cast aside that assumption and make gains on a new plan which includes developing a positive brand.
The survey itself was quite successful as I received over 200 responses, 10x what I normally get out of my surveys. I suspect this was because I kept it short, under a minute to complete; something I will keep in mind for the future.
Who Shared the Most?
When looking out who responded most, the majority were unaffiliated with QA (53%). Of the 47% who were affiliated with QA nearly two thirds were volunteers.
How do these see themselves?
When looking at how respondents self-identified, only people who identified as volunteers did not self-identify as a Mozillian. In terms of vouching, people affiliated with QA seem to have a higher proportion of vouched Mozillians than those unaffiliated with QA. This tells me that we need to be doing a better job of converting new contributors into Mozillians and active into vouched Mozillians.
What do they know about Testdays?
When looking at how familiar people are with the concept of testdays, people affiliated with QA are most aware while people outside of QA are least aware. No group of people are 100% familiar with testdays which tells me we need to do a better job of educating people about testdays.
What do they think about Testdays?
Most respondents identified testdays with some sort of activity (30%), a negative feeling (22%), a community aspect (15%), or a specific product (15%). Positive characteristics were lowest on the list (4%). This was probably the most telling question I asked as it really helps me see the current state of the brand of testdays and not just for the responses I received. Reading between the lines, looking for what is not there, I can see testdays relate poorly to anything outside the scope of blackbox testing on Firefox (eg. automation, services, web qa, security qa, etc).
Where do I go from here?
1. We need to diversify the testday brand to be more about testing Firefox and expand it to enable testing across all areas in need.
2. We need to solve some of the negative brand associations by making activities more understandable and relevant, by having shorter events more frequently, , and by rewarding contributions (even those who do work that doesn’t net a bug).
3. We need to teach people that testdays are about more than just testing. Things like writing tests, writing new documentation, updating and translating existing documentation, and mentoring newcomers is all part of what testdays can enable.
4. Once we’ve identified the brand we want to put forward, we need to do a much better job of frequently educating and re-educating people about testdays and the value they provide.
5. We need to enable testdays to facilitate converting newcomers into Mozillians and active contributors into vouched Mozillians.
My immediate next step is to have the lessons I’ve learned here integrated into a plan of action to rebrand testdays. Rest assured I am going to continue to push my peers on this, to be an advocate for improving the ways we collaborate, and to continually revisit the brand to make sure we aren’t losing sight of reality.
I’d like to end with a thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to my survey. As always, please leave a comment below if you have any interesting insights or questions.