Empowering volunteers and communities by longer term planning

Last year Mozilla went through a rigorous planning process for 2015, the Participation 2015 Strategic Plan came out of this process. The plan was open for feedback and that way we structured the year according to a plan that had a three year vision.

When the Reps Council and Peers met in Paris in March, one of the topics that emerged as being of crucial importance for communities was exactly that: how to change the way that we currently approach our goals and aspirations by changing the way we plan. Planning is inevitable for getting projects off the ground and working together. It has always been present in our local and regional communities and in any individual initiative, but until now we haven’t been very intentional in making it explicit or in providing a framework for it.

During the last months the participation team in collaboration with local communities has been working on a framework for mid-term planning that is being tested with 3 communities right now, these communities are Indonesia, Germany and Mexico. The idea behind this framework is to help communities:

  1. craft a vision for themselves as a community and the impact they want to have
  2. choose and define their goals
  3. set measurable objectives
  4. draft roadmaps

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We have seen this approach being used in many organizations around the world and we are testing it right now with our communities to understand how it fits within our culture and to understand what it might unlock. Our working hypothesis is that this planning framework will help us plan thinking holistically about community development and community impact. And that this will unlock great potential:

  • by crafting a vision we will be able to see how all different initiatives relate to one another, specially the relationship between a healthy developing community and the impact that it can have
  • we will be able to be more ambitious, not only in terms of how big our initiatives are, but the type of impact that we have. Helping us to start exploring more the road of open innovation
  • through earlier planning we’ll be able to achieve better outcomes, which will lead to more impact
  • We will be building community and personal development into the planning process, thus making sure that we keep on investing in Mozillians

The approach is not only to set a framework but to accompany communities during the planning process, providing guidance when needed but also getting feedback about the process and how it can work in the Mozilla environment. The two main documents for planning are the Regional Community Planning Guide and the Planning for Impact presentation with the framework for choosing community goals.

I will be diving into both of documents in my next blog post, as well as into the support system we’ll be offering to communities that want to use this planning framework. This is just the first draft, so please let me know your thoughts, feedback and ideas!