On the other end of a self-imposed death march project
So, I’m a couple of weeks back from a well-deserved vacation taken after the launch of a project well over 18 months in the making. I kind of overworked myself, voluntarily, and that needs to change.
What project? Kuma on developer.mozilla.org. What’s that? Well, it’s generally described as a wiki, but though I think we’ve gone a long way away from “The simplest online database that could possibly work“. At this point, it’s a content management system, complete with revision management, WYSIWYG, collaboration, community, and localization features. It’s a wiki insofar as anyone can edit it, but Kuma’s not exactly simple.
The parts I had the heaviest hand in were:
- Content migration from the previous incarnation, which employed the MindTouch platform to a very full extent;
- Development of KumaScript, a server-side JS platform for dynamic content heavily inspired by (ie. cribbed entirely from) DekiScript.
As it turns out, those were two of the hardest parts of the project. No, I wasn’t alone: I’m a member of a team, and my teammates did plenty of work themselves. But, I’ve found that I have a lot in common with Mordin Solus, a fact that made me actually cry during this scene:
(Spoiler alert: Mordin gets blown up.)
That’s why I say this was a self-imposed death march. No one nailed me to my desk, and no one on my team was a slacker. In fact, although there was a lot of pressure to get this project out the door ASAP, managers and others quite often told me to take it easier. And furthermore, working on myself to ease up on this particularly neurotic sentiment was a major theme of recent performance reviews.
So, to be clear: This is about me, and not my team. My team is awesome.
That said, my motivations for the work on MDN are pretty simple:
- I think producing tech books online, collaboratively, is the future;
- I love Mozilla and the open web.
And, so it seems, Mozilla loves me back. I got atta boys all around, from managers and awesome teammates alike. So, my efforts certainly didn’t go unappreciated. In my experience Mozilla is a brilliant place to work and is an organization that appreciates both smart and hard work in ways both conventional and unexpected.
All that said, though, I really do need to ease up. There are plenty of things in life at large that I’ve been neglecting lately – and that’s not good: Those are the things that make my work possible to begin with.
But, I’m not burnt out and I’m not moving on. I didn’t bust my ass on MDN just to wander off from it, and I can’t think of a better place to be than at Mozilla (especially right now). But, it’s time to take a bit of a more human pace with things. Contribute, take breaks, trust my awesome teammates can kick as much ass as I demand from myself.
Because the MDN team totally does kick so much ass.