List of terms

Current Terms

The following lists current terms actively used at Mattermost. You can also see Tombstoned Terms for terms that have either been modified or deprecated. We use Tombstoned Terms to preserve links to previous definitions so clarity is maintained.

0/5, 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, 4/5, 5/5

We use “x/5” to concisely communicate conviction. 0/5 means you don’t have a strong opinion, you are just sharing an idea or asking a question. 5/5 means you are highly confident and would stake your reputation on the opinion you’re expressing.

Example: "0/5, I think before archiving a channel a user should type in the name of the channel to make sure they really want to do it" expresses low conviction and indifference in the suggestion. The decision maker should feel free to ignore the input. As another example: "4/5, I think before archiving a channel a user should type in the name of the channel to make sure they really want to do it" expresses high conviction and the decision maker may want to ask more questions to understand whether emotion, assumption, or priority is behind the feedback.

Best Practices

We try not to use the term "best practice" at Mattermost, as it's counter-cultural to our focus on iteration, self-awareness, and earn trust. Iteration means there is always opportunity to grow and improve and so we never reach our "best".


Refers to both an As Appropriate interview as well as the As Appropriate interviewer. Final interview required before making a decision on a new hire.


Area Of Responsibility defines the area for which a DRI is accountable. The AOR page provides information on AORs across the company.


Annual Recurring Revenue (“ARR”) is a measurement for time-limited subscription contracts. ARR normalizes contracted recurring revenue into a one year period to allow for like-kind comparisons between contracts that have differing start/end dates and/or different contract lengths. In a recurring revenue model, ARR represents the anticipated total revenue from all active contracts for the future 12 months from any measurement period. “Active” is defined as starting from customer contract signing date, not subscription start date. ARR does not include revenue from non-recurring items such as one-time setup fees or professional services.

For example, total ARR from 3 separate customers would be as follows:

Customer A: 6-month contract totaling $60,000. ARR = $120,000 ($60,000/6 * 12) Customer B: 12-month contract totaling $240,000. ARR = $240,000 Customer C: 15-month contract totaling $45,000. ARR = $36,000 ($45,000/15 * 12) Total ARR for Company = $396,000 ($120,000 + $240,000 + $36,000)


The ARR associated with sales transactions closed during the period. Note that Bookings and Billings are different, particularly for pro-rated contracts and multi-year contracts. Billings corresponds to the amount the customer is invoiced.

For example, Customer A signs a 3 year paid upfront transaction for $300,000. For Customer A, the bookings amount would be $100,000 ($300,000/3 years = ARR of $100,000) and the billings amount would be $300,000 (what we actually invoiced the customer at time of order signing). Customer B has a contract for 100 licenses at $50/year/license for 12 months, for total ARR of $5,000. They decide to add 25 more licenses after 4 months. For Customer B, the bookings amount would be $1,250 (25 * $50/year) and the billings amount would be $833.33 (25 * $50/year * 8 remaining months/12 months total contract).


An obvious error in Mattermost software that is typically a code defect. Changes required to accommodate unsupported third-party software (such as browsers or operating systems) are not considered bugs - they are considered improvements.


Contract Accountability Owner is a DRI for ensuring a contract meets our guidelines and standards ahead of final approval by a company signatory. Also see listing of CAOs.


When an existing customer completely cancels and is no longer a continuing customer. Dollar value of ARR is $0 after the reduction.


COM is short for Customer Obsession Meeting, which is our “All Hands” meeting focused on how we’re aligning the company to serve our customers.


When an existing customer decreases the dollar value of their ARR, either by decreasing the number of licenses, decreasing the number of products and/or the discounting being applied is increased. Note that the decrease is classified as “contraction” if there is still some amount of ARR remaining after the reduction.


Because the term "country" may be either controversial or incorrect when describing a geographic area governed by a state-like political entity we use the term "country/region" to avoid any accidental or implied judgement on the independence of a region. If the term "country" appears to be incorrectly used, when "country/region" is more appropriate, please contact

Collapsed Reply Threads (CRT)

Collapsed Reply Threads (CRT) is a Mattermost Messaging feature available in beta offering an enhanced experience for users communicating in threads and replying to messages. When enabled, Collapsed Reply Threads improve users’ ability to process channel content, find, follow, and resume conversations more easily, and keep threaded conversations focused. See our Organizing Conversations using Collapsed Reply Threads (Beta) product documentation for details.

Core Committers

Core committers are staff or community developers with the responsibility to contribute and review Mattermost source code.


Customer Success Management function at Mattermost responsible for retaining customer revenue, with quarterly & annual targets, including customer relationship management, executive relationships, and quarterly business reviews.


The primary external audience we are focused on for an initiative, which could be an end user without budget (if our goal is adoption and engagement) or a buyer (if our objective for the initiative is revenue). A customer does not include internal staff, since staff are not external.

Dark Actions

The act of using non-web-discoverable formats (Mattermost channels requiring login, Google docs that aren't web searchable, Zoom call, email, etc.) to share non-confidential information or processes.

Example: Giving someone instructions on how to set up Okta for MFA on the community server in a DM rather than writing it into a handbook entry for all new staff to use and re-use.

Dark actions create false openness. Open actions are highly preferred.


Deployment Engineering function at Mattermost responsible for accelerating seats deployed at $50K+ accounts, focusing on single customer pain points & needs by working directly with customers in partnership with post-sales and revenue retention teams, and providing expertise on how to run and deploy Mattermost and the platform as a whole.

Dead Tarzan

Discarding an imperfect solution without a clearly thought out and working alternative. Based on idea of Tarzan of the Jungle letting go of a vine without having a new vine to swing to.


A term for shipping something that is far below quality standards. This term is used by mountain climbers to describe falling off the side of a mountain, which often involves a series of failures, not just one.

Dev Mana

A specific type of mana for developers similar to “points” or “jelly beans” in an Agile/Scrum methodology. On average, full time Mattermost developers each complete tickets adding up to approximately 28 mana per week. A “small” item is 2 mana, a “medium” is 4, a “large” is 8, and any project bigger needs to be broken down into smaller tickets.


Directly Responsible Individual means a human individual who is accountable for a given Area Of Responsibility. A DRI is a single person, not a group of people. If there is a shift schedule, define each shift as a separate AOR (e.g. Tier 2 Mobile Support Escalations Weekdays 8am to 5pm Palo Alto time). If you are unsure who is the DRI, make the AOR more specific until the DRI is clear.


“Edge Release”, a version of Mattermost which indicates the latest unstable release off of the main branch.


“Extended Support Release”, a version of Mattermost maintained for a longer period of time that will receive security fixes.


When an existing customer increases the dollar value of their ARR, either by adding licenses, adding additional products and/or reducing the discount being applied.

Expert Mode

Expert Mode (also known as "Crimson Force Field") is when documentation or on-screen text is written for someone with considerable knowledge or expertise, instead of being designed for a new learner. In general, try to state things simply rather than speaking to just the “experts” reading the text.

If something is extremely difficult to understand, and yet still justified in the mind of the writer, we call it “Crimson Force Field”. This term is intended to evoke the emotional response of coming across something that is difficult to understand, so writers of Crimson Force Field material can empathize with the readers. Crimson Force Field is drawn from an esoteric episode of Star Trek and it is unlikely anyone but the originator of the term understands its complete meaning. Crimson Force Field is itself Crimson Force Field.

False Openness

Keeping non-sensitive information that would be helpful for staff and community to know out of public web search through the use of dark actions. Often false openness is unintentional, though after staff members are educated on the topic and empowered to use open actions, continued use of dark actions would appear to be deliberate.


Fast Futures function at Mattermost responsible for prototyping and validating enterprise customer needs ahead of product engineering investment, which was the approach applied to Calls, MS Teams and OpenOps prior to adding the functionality to the mainstream roadmap.


A status update format that is split into three categories: Going Well, Not Going Well, Next Actions. Read more about GNNs here.

Gross Margin (“GM”)-Weighted Magic Number

A measurement to determine sales efficiency. The GM-Weighted Magic Number is determined by taking the Net Change in ARR for the Period (or New Logo & Expansion ARR in the period less Churn & Contraction) times the Gross Margin percentage, divided by total Sales & Marketing spend in the prior period. This metric attempts to quantify how much Sales & Marketing spend is required to generate ARR.

Gross Margin & Gross Margin %

Gross Margin is determined by taking Revenue less Cost of Goods Sold (“COGS” or “COS”). COGS or COS are the direct costs associated with delivering the product or service to existing customers (e.g. cost of Success, Support, hosting costs, etc.). Gross Margin % is calculated by taking Gross Margin and dividing by Revenue.

Gross Revenue Retention

A measurement that attempts to quantify how well a company retains its existing customers. Gross Revenue Retention (“GRR”) is calculated by taking Beginning Balance ARR less Churn/Contraction and dividing by Beginning Balance ARR. Because both New Logo ARR and Expansion ARR are excluded from this calculation, this value cannot exceed 100%.

HW - Help Wanted

Help Wanted tickets, which are vetted changes to the source code open for community contributions.


A beneficial change to code that is not fixing a bug.


Iteration means being able to quickly improve on something by shipping a minimally viable change in how we do things. It's the opposite of the "wait, wait, wait, ship" method we call the Windows Vista Approach.


“Latest Release”, a version of Mattermost which indicates the latest stable release.


The “Left-Hand Sidebar” in the Mattermost team site, used for navigation.

Majority Regions

Countries and regions outside the United States are referred to as "majority regions". We use this term for a few reasons, a) we use the word "majority" to remind everyone that the ~300M United States are only a tiny fraction (<5%) of the world's 7 billion people (many American companies refer to the U.S. as "domestic" and the rest of the world as "international" which is counter to the inclusive culture at Mattermost), b) we use "regions" instead of "countries" because there are political issues with some locations.

For example, we should always refer to Taiwan as a "region" and not a "country" due to geo-political issues.


An estimate of total energy, attention and effort required for a task - not a measure of amount of code to be changed or cumulative time needed for a change.

A one-line change to code can cost more mana than a 100-line change due to risk and the need for documentation, testing, support, and all the other activities needed.

Every code change added has an initial and on-going mana cost in technical debt, test case coverages, and supportability, which is taken into account in feature decisions.


The “Monthly Business Review”, where senior leadership team and department heads work with functional leaders to clear escalations, make key decisions & have concrete next steps for the next review period.


The “Mattermost Leadership Team”, senior leadership team and department heads working with the CEO in MLT meetings and offsites.


A customer that is any Midmarket ("MM") or Enterprise ("E") organization, including public sector, with 2,500 employees or more, buying a Mattermost subscription that's not on a non-profit or educational discount.


Monthly Operating Review. A monthly review of operations from each department including a GNN and metrics.


A Marketing Qualified Lead refers to a prospect deemed to have a higher likelihood of becoming a paying customer based on their marketing activities, e.g. certain website activities (content downloads, etc), trial activations, demo or quote requests, and more.

Net Dollar Retention

A measurement that attempts to quantify the ability to both retain and grow our existing customers. Net Dollar Retention (“NDR” or Net Revenue Retention “NRR”) is calculated by taking Beginning Balance ARR + Expansion ARR - Churn/Contraction and dividing by Beginning Balance ARR. Because NDR includes the impact of Expansion ARR, this value can exceed 100%. NDR does not include the impact of New Logo ARR. This measurement is typically favored by investors.

Both GRR and NDR are typically presented on an annual basis, using a static Beginning Balance at the beginning of the year. For annual presentation, this number represents total Churn/Contraction for the year divided by the beginning balance of ARR at the start of the year. For mid-year discussion and presentation, this number represents total Churn/Contraction for the period (e.g. first half) divided by the beginning balance of ARR at the start of the year. It is important to note that annual churn will naturally present lower than mid-year churn, using this method, due to the fact that the numerator is changing but the denominator is not.

Nerfs and Buffs

Nerfs and buffs are the framework for setting culture at Mattermost.

A "nerf" is a downgraded experience as the result of a behavior.

For example, if half of a team is traveling to a conference and holds a team meeting in a hotel room and the other half calls in remotely but they can't see everyone in the room and audio is low quality, then the team is "nerfing" their remote colleagues. The people in the hotel room are downgrading the experience of their remote colleagues.

Under this framework, we want to discourage behavior that nerfs remote work, so if your team is holding in-person meeting with remote colleagues, please split up to take the call from separate areas so everyone can be seen and heard.

A "buff" is an upgrade experience as the result of a behavior. If a remote team is meeting on a topic with a clear, concise written proposal requesting asynchronous feedback, people who share high-quality feedback asynchronously ahead of the meeting may have an out-sized influence on iterations of the document ahead of the meeting, compared to people who don't provide asynchronous feedback ahead of the meeting.

Here we want to buff asynchronous communication by focusing review on asynchronous comments ahead of live comments.

Culture is the set of behaviors that are nerfed and buffed. As a remote-first culture, we want to buff behavior that promotes asynchronous communication and remote work. We want to nerf behavior that creates unnecessary synchronous meetings.

New Logo Sale

A standard sale with a customer that has never previously purchased any kind of product or service from Mattermost, either directly or indirectly through a purchase by an affiliate on the customer’s behalf. A sale shall be deemed to be a New Logo Sale even if one of customer's affiliates is already a customer of Mattermost so long as (a) the entity making the purchase has never itself previously made a purchase or has had a purchase made on its behalf, and (b) the new sale is either a purchase of a license key to a new Self-Hosted server independent from other Mattermost installs or a purchase of a subscription to a new Cloud workspace independent from other Mattermost workspaces.

Open Actions

Term for publicly documenting information in a web-discoverable format (GitHub Issue, Staff Handbook entry, forum post, etc.) prior to sharing guidance to staff and community members. We prefer open actions to dark actions.


Product Engineering function at Mattermost responsible for the software architecture, design and development of the product focused on delivering high quality, reliably built and maintained features, systems and improvements applicable to the broad range of ideal customers.


Program Management function at Mattermost responsible for leading and executing key cross-functional programs, working with cross-departmental stakeholders to increase operational efficiency and accelerate alignment towards customer and company objectives.


Product Operations function at Mattermost responsible for infrastructure engineering and customer reliability engineering.


Paid Time Off is time away from work paid for by the company to staff, including holidays, vacations, and approved leaves of absence. See PTO.

Renewal Success Rate

A comparison of the actual dollar value renewed compared to the total dollar value of contracts up for renewal in the period. This measurement attempts to quantify the “success rate” of renewals scheduled in the period, and cannot exceed 100%. Unlike GRR or NDR, this measurement excludes the impact of any multi-year contracts that are not up for renewal in the period.


The “Right-Hand Sidebar” in the Mattermost team site, used for navigation.


A Sales Accepted Lead refers to a prospect that a Sales team has spoken to either in-person (e.g. tradeshow, conference, dinner), or remotely (phone call, video call), and validated the prospect has a legitimate potential to convert to a paying customer.


A Small Business Innovation Research (or SBIR) program funded by the U.S. government to accelerate technology innovation in partnership with small businesses. Funding takes the form of contracts or grants. The recipient projects must have the potential for commercialization and must meet specific U.S. government R&D needs.

The program includes Phase 1 SBIRs (concepts with no development work), Phase 2 SBIRs (development work to create a prototype with a potential for commercialization), as well as larger contracts via TACFI, STRATFI and more:


Spinmint refers to our first generation of automated infrastructure to spin up test servers to evaluate pull requests. The word "spin" comes from the original name of our company, "Spinpunch, Inc." (before we became ("Mattermost, Inc.") and the word "mint" as a short, unambiguous, easy-to-spell name referring to a factory method pattern.


New test servers that use the cloud infrastructure and can be spun up on pull requests to test changes. The name is reference to first generation infrastructure, spinmint, combined with an arbitrary reference to a movie that some people saw called “John Wick”.


Standard Operating Metrics are metrics tracked monthly by each department as indicators for operating health and status.


Technical Account Management function at Mattermost responsible for retaining & expanding customer revenue, including technical adoption & bottlenecks, technical onboarding, issue coordination and escalation.


Replacing a webpage with a link to the new page created so that people using the original link can easily find the new page. An example of tombstoned terms can be found at the bottom of this page.


A reference to the major social media platforms: YouTube (“You”), Twitter (“Tweet”), LinkedIn (“In”), and Facebook (“Face”). The YouTweetInFace channel is used to discuss social media posts before asking contributors and community to engage with the content. The name is a reminder that our tone and approach to social media needs to be thoughtful, memorable, and ideally bring a smile.

Windows Vista Approach

Instead of working iteratively a "Windows Vista approach" attempts to ship significant changes in a complex one-time effort, which seems like a good idea at the time but ends up causing delays, wasted effort, and numerous avoidable errors.

This tempting, high risk approach is named after Microsoft’s “Windows Vista” operating system, one of its most famous examples.

Tombstoned Terms

The following is a list of terms no longer used with links to their definitions or notes on their deprecation. Tombstoned Terms use H3 headings on this page to distinguish them from active terms, which are H2 in heading formatting.


Previously hyphenated, now not hyphenated, see Tombstoned.


A team and process that is ready for a key member to go on vacation, or spend time away from work.

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