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Admiting when you’re at fault…

By on March 8, 2005 in Personal Thoughts

Sometimes, its the simple things that are the hardest… Being wrong ranks up there at the top. I’m not perfect. I’m human, was born that way and can’t really help it. I try to do the best I can, particularly when people expect alot of me. I try not to let people down whenever possible, unless its simply unavoidable.
Problem is, its hard to admit it when you’re in over your head and you need help. I’ve never been good at working in groups, I don’t really balance workload well, i’m a bit of a perfectionist, and its just easier to do stuff alone, even when i’m not the leader of the group. I hadn’t learned how to lead a project for sure, to bring in people and then actually trust them to do what you expect. I’m not that good at explaining how something should work to delegate and get something good back. These are things you won’t learn about yourself unless your in a situation where they’re required qualities, and you don’t have them.
Communication is key in the world, in order to keep everybody on the same page. Its not enough to just have people who think alike and let them all do their own thing. Its nice, and certainly can be a good if not a very good thing to have, but when it comes time to expand outside of that circle, to ask for help if you need it, you’ve gotta communicate. I’ve learned that as a project leader, I wasn’t good at communicating at all, and I can see this flaw in others too.
In my last blog post I laid the blame of what happened with Mozilla Update on poor communications… I still feel that was the case. I failed to communicate well with the Mozilla Foundation, as I didn’t actually know anybody to communicate with aside from Ben Goodger, who was exceptionally busy. I didn’t know the organizational structure well enough, having only been following the community for a few months. I didn’t attempt to search out that person either. For their part, based on what I’ve been told, I don’t believe that the people needing to know about Update at MF learned from Ben either, for whatever reason. So, this was a mutual failure.
What should’ve happened and what did was two different things, I should’ve gotten more attention from MF on UMO months before 1.0, perferably sometime in July/August, which is when attention on the project really fell to non-existant levels. This would’ve allowed enough time to devote and get resources going, as well as allow people to learn the infrastructure and make dramatic changes if needed, before 1.0, as well as get the security people involved in a more pro-active way than they were. (Just finding bugs doesn’t always help when you don’t have time to get them fixed in a timely fashion.)
I didn’t do that, probably because at the end of July, my father died. So I really didn’t know what I was doing. Between the stress of that, and the load Update had become, making good decisions was beyond my ability, though I didn’t know it, and there was no safety net to catch it either. I believe I probably should’ve stepped down as project leader then. Though I have no idea how UMO would’ve faired in the run up to 1.0, perhaps it was better that I didnt, i’m unsure. I don’t know if somebody could’ve taken over in the build up to 1.0 and gotten it done on time.
I blog about this tonight, because it needs to be said, plainly to be read by all. Yes, I had responsibilities with UMO that I didn’t keep up with. I apologize for that, I did the best I was capable of, until I could do it no more, as i’m human. I reached burnout on the Update project, which should’ve been avoided, but wasn’t because of other factors in life that couldn’t be predicted when I started out.
The responsibility that I was accused of not handling well was UMO’s security. Guilty. I had little experience with security of a webapp project that size, particularly with terms and concepts. There were many times on many bugs I struggled to deal with them. CSRF being the hardest. I wish, those who were concerned with UMOs security at that time had contributed more to the project, but it didn’t happen. I fault them for staying silent too, as much as I fault myself for not asking for more help. Either action could’ve helped.
Mostly, I write this, because, by moving on and learning from mistakes, it puts me in a better position to deal with the fact I made them, so people who bluntly point out where I went wrong, and try to discredit what I’m capable of based on past mistakes. I can just ignore them, because its in the past, and I know I did the best I could, and know how to do better in the future.

3 Reader Comments

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  1. Fr馘駻ic Jeanbart says:

    Hey… You seem to go through some depression. Please do not put some “failure” over all your shoulders, even if you think that facts could justify it. I dunno about that btw, and I don’t care. There are flaws nowadays? Who cares, they can be repared, and I am sure that a transitional solution could be integrated wjile devbelopping a full featured and secured way to update stuff. All I care about is that I’ve discovered Firefox lately and Mozilla since the advent of Netscape, that I am anchanted of my shift (from IE/Netscape to Firefox/Thunderbird), as well as for many of my collegues/friends, and that people like you made all this happen.
    Many thanks, the least you deserve is some vacation!!

  2. mr strauss says:

    Deud, ha ha. Don’t stress. I mean…
    Shit I dunno where to begin. My friend Komputadora and I find your site absolutely unreal. You’re well beyond being interested in hearing praise, obviously, but it is really hard to read your very considered and wise text and not to be effusive in it.
    Me and K are artists who are working on a meta project called “pop goes lethal.” And as part of this project, we attempt to maintain a pro-human perspective and to implement objective self-criticism in all of our endeavors. At the moment, my own objective self-criticism is telling me that I need to take objective self-criticism lessons from you.
    Anyhow, I won’t presume to give you advice, but, uh… here’s some advice I guess. Art is the answer. Put off the college, go after the art. Unless you believe that the other way is the better way to go. In which case do that.
    Good luck, keep being rad.
    mr strauss

  3. dblack says:

    I’m pretty much a random user, and I had really been wondering about why the UMO wasn’t updated (allowing comments, maybe a category trail etc). I had no idea all of the issues that were going on right now with firefox though, so all I can say is I wish you the best.
    And there’s no need to fault yourself. There is ALWAYS a better way to do things when you view the problem with 20/20 hindsight, even if you thought you did them perfectly the first time.