An impossible and incredible job: leading the quality effort for Thunderbird

I have a job for someone who is either incredibly ambitious and audactious, or just crazy (in a good way). Whoever gets this job will undoubtedly get emails like the ones I got when I joined Mozilla: “I don’t know whether to envy your or pity you.”

The challenge is this: we need someone to coordinate, lead, strategize, implement, and generally drive the quality of the Thunderbird user experience.

The scope is, as with most things Mozilla, huge.

  • We have thousands of open bugs, feature request, and work items of all kinds, many of them untouched in years (much to our collective embarrassment, but we’re finally tackling the problem).
  • We have a small but growing set of automated tests, and much work ahead to improve our test infrastructure.
  • We have a large set of manual tests, but no one with enough time to critically analyze how well the Litmus approach is working for Thunderbird, and how we should change our testing strategy
  • We have an amazing set of volunteers who spend hours doing valuable bug triage, code verification, dupe-detection, customer support. They have a lot of knowledge about the quality issues with the product, but there’s currently no clear process for integrating that knowledge.
  • We have thousands of people using nightly builds and alpha builds — people who are already self-selected early adopters, who, I’m convinced, will collectively be the key to decentralizing and leveraged QA for Thunderbird
  • . We don’t talk to them enough yet.

  • We have a separate codebase (Calendar), with its own QA, testing, community, with which we’re planning intensive collaboration.

In short: we have a product which today affects millions of users, and tomorrow hopefully tens of millions, and we need someone to lead the quality effort. It’s not just about QA, although QA is a big part of the job. It’s not just about community building, although anyone who thinks they can do this job without the community needs to look at the numbers again. It’s not just about bugs, either — we need someone to help create an integrated perspective on quality and software integrity, which spans the set of communities involved.

The right candidate will have deep QA experience, ideally with both desktop and web products. She or he will be able to elicit participatory QA (from developers, alpha users, early adopters, and mainstream adopters), help triage bugs and identify the most significant issues in the product, build a testing strategy, and more.

If you’re interested in helping us produce the best product possible, and you have both a demonstrated interest in quality issues, a passion for helping make mass-market software, ideally experience in one or more of mail/messaging, calendaring, the Mozilla world, or open source QA, then please send a resume to If possible, include descriptions of how you’ve done similar or related things in the past, and explain how you would tackle this challenge.

Applicants from all locations will be considered, and remote work is possible.

1 Comment

  1. I am actually a Firefox user. I have yet to use Thunderbird. Actually, I didn’t know there was a difference until I read this article.

    One thing that has always bothered me with web is the fact that there are multiple Browsers. I don’t understand why their just can’t be one.

    I have personally fiddled with IE, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. I personally like Firefox the most but again, I have not yet tried Thunderbird.

    I’ll download it this weekend when I have time and give it a try. I’ll be sure to report any bugs I find to you.

    Taylor Thompson


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s