[Foundation-l] Fwd: Announcement: WMF engineering promotions and role changes

Jon Harald Søby jhsoby at gmail.com
Tue Jun 21 07:38:53 UTC 2011

2011/6/21 Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org>

> FYI :-)
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org>
> Date: Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 5:58 PM
> Subject: Announcement: WMF engineering promotions and role changes
> To: Wikimedia developers <wikitech-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
> Hi folks,
> I’m pleased to announce the following promotions and role changes in
> engineering, effective immediately.
> * Rob Lanphier is the Director of Platform Engineering.
> * Tomasz Finc is the Director of Mobile and Special Projects.
> * Alolita Sharma is the acting Director of Features Engineering.
> Alolita has gracefully agreed to take on this role, for which we’re
> kicking off a full search process.
> * Mark Bergsma is now the Lead Operations Architect, reporting to CT.
> * Tim Starling is now the Lead Platform Architect, reporting to Rob.
> I’ll explain a bit more what these roles mean below, but first, please
> join me in congratulating Rob, Tomasz, Alolita, Mark and Tim! :-)
> Let me also take this opportunity to thank Danese Cooper for helping
> to build and professionalize the Wikimedia Foundation engineering
> organization as Wikimedia’s CTO.  She also set these changes in
> motion, and our overall strategy is one that we’ve begun developing
> and socializing together in the last few months.
> Here’s how these roles fit together. The engineering department is
> principally structured into four sub-departments, each headed by a
> director who is the functional manager of all people within that
> sub-department:
> * Technical Operations - CT Woo: Keep Wikimedia Foundation sites and
> services running, increase uptime and performance, support code
> deployments, and ensure recoverability of data and services.
> * Platform Engineering - Rob Lanphier: Maintain and support the
> MediaWiki platform; ensure reliability, maintainability, and
> performance of our software; lead the release management process; grow
> and nurture the developer community and ecosystem.
> * Features Engineering - Alolita Sharma (Acting): Advance Wikimedia’s
> strategic priorities by focusing resources on specific feature
> projects such as the visual editor, or interventions designed to
> increase editor retention.
> * Mobile and Special Projects - Tomasz Finc: Advance Wikimedia’s
> mobile platform and ensure that mobile devices are fully considered
> across the engineering development process; execute projects with
> strong overlapping requirements (e.g. offline delivery of Wikimedia
> content).
> We’re also recognizing the importance of architectural engineering
> leadership in the development of a mature engineering organization
> (which also represents an additional career path for our distinguished
> engineers beyond “become a manager”). The three architects - Tim, Mark
> and Brion - will work together as follows:
> * Brion Vibber, as Lead Software Architect, has key architectural
> responsibility for getting MediaWiki ready to be the world’s leading
> tool for mass collaboration, by enabling the development of new
> technologies like the visual editor (his current priority), real-time
> collaboration, improved discussion systems, etc. This also includes
> architectural leadership to support bottom-up feature development.
> Brion reports directly to me.
> * Mark Bergsma, as Lead Operations Architect, is responsible for
> creating and communicating the vision and roadmap for the
> infrastructure needed to run all Wikimedia projects, for ensuring the
> design/implementation of our operating environment is reliable,
> scalable, supportable, secure and cost-effective, and for driving
> cross-functional alignment, especially with other engineering
> functions.
> * Tim Starling, as Lead Platform Architect, is responsible for the
> performance, stability, security and architectural cleanliness of the
> MediaWiki platform. Tim is leading potentially transformative
> engineering projects like the HipHop support in MediaWiki. He’s also a
> key mentor to all MediaWiki developers and is keeping us honest while
> we’re pursuing our feature dreams.
> In addition, we’re considering the shape of product and project
> management outside the Director-level leadership in the department.
> Currently, Howie Fung (Senior Product Manager) and Dario Taraborelli
> (Senior Research Analyst) are continuing to support our feature
> development projects to ensure that 1) development is aligned with
> strategic priorities, 2) we’re focusing the development on the needs
> of the user, 3) we’re making data-driven decisions and working
> effectively with the global wiki research community, 4) we’re engaging
> with the Wikimedia editor and reader community on complex feature
> development projects.
> I’m taking on the role of VP of Engineering and Product Development,
> on an interim basis for now. We’re not going to immediately hire
> either for that role or a CTO role. Thanks to Mark, Tim and Brion, we
> have very strong architectural leadership in the department. Moreover,
> we’ve got more than enough disruptive change as an engineering
> organization to absorb for now, so we’ve decided that it doesn’t make
> sense to immediately bring in a new person to lead the department.
> We may decide that it’ll make sense for me to continue in this role,
> or that it’ll make sense to bring in a new person 6-12 months from
> now, possibly in conjunction with further structural change.
> What this means, simply put, is that I’ll be organizing and supporting
> the work of the engineering department as a whole, with the directors,
> the product managers, Brion and Dario reporting to me, and that’ll be
> how we’ll be set up for the near future. My interest is to grow a
> strong, visible leadership team that’ll be on the lists and wikis and
> highly responsive to the community. I’ll be suspending most of my
> non-engineering-related work for the time being.
> I’ll be posting more about process improvements, further discussions
> about intra-departmental structure, and so forth, in coming weeks.
> I’ll also be sharing an updated org chart soon for those who care
> about those kinds of things. ;-)
> All the best,
> Erik
> --
> Erik Möller
> Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation
> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
> --
> Erik Möller
> Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation
> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
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These sound like very sensible changes to me. Congratulations to all
involved, I am sure they will continue to do a great job!

Jon Harald Søby <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jon_Harald_S%C3%B8by>

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