Netscape made two mistakes. They did not publish enough product management
information to enable the community to help them achieve their goals. They
did not even consistently communicate what these goals were. The
cohabitation of engineers and PMs did not contribute to open dissemination
of information as it was easier to communicate with your immediate team than
those on the outside. Without understanding the importance of publicly
available documentation to effective community development, the extra steps
to publish the results of internal discussions were not always taken.
The other mistake was not having a clear vision for product development.
For the folks working in Client Product Development (CPD — the browser/mail
software division at Netscape), the idea was to rebuild and improve upon the
Communicator suite using the newly selected layout engine. The goal
was to make a better browser and mail reader.