[Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Fwd: Announcement: Wikimedia Foundation restructure (Global Dev & Engineering)

Anders Wennersten mail at anderswennersten.se
Fri Dec 7 07:42:29 UTC 2012

 From what we learned during our FDC deliberation, I see these changes 
to be very good (I have no competence re the engineering part and do not 
comment on those proposed changes) .

The importance for us all to better understand impact of programs was 
one of the key learnings we had.

And  as I have had the privilege to work closely with Anasuya and seen 
her excellent competence in process issues and handling people from 
different culture and of different opinions I  am very happy to see that 
even more WMF-activities will make use of her support and comptence. And 
Frank we all know with his deep understanding in the different program 
we run, and I look forward seeing the results he will provide to the 
chapters, community and FDC


Sue Gardner skrev 2012-12-07 01:04:
> Hello folks,
> On-passing this FYI --- I hope the formatting doesn't break too much.
> If people want to discuss this, maybe the first person could put it on
> a wiki page (attached to Narrowing Focus, maybe?) so the discussion is
> recorded for other interested parties and can be revisited later,
> rather than just being ephemeral.
> Thanks,
> Sue
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: "Sue Gardner" <sgardner at wikimedia.org>
> Date: Dec 5, 2012 7:05 PM
> Subject: Announcement: Wikimedia Foundation restructure (Global Dev &
> Engineering)
> To: "Staff All" <wmfall at lists.wikimedia.org>
> hey folks,
> The purpose of this note is to lay out some changes to the structure
> of the Wikimedia Foundation. Some will take place immediately, and
> others will play out over the next six months. I’m announcing it in a
> single big note rather than bits & pieces because I want everyone to
> have the overview: where we’re headed and why. This will be long ---
> please bear with me.
> First, some context. Why are we restructuring? Basically: if an
> organization’s going to function well, it needs to reorg every now and
> then. As an organization grows and changes and learns, its
> organizational structure gradually gets out-of-date --- it needs to be
> refreshed based on our experiences and our ambitions, or else it’ll
> eventually stop working. And structure should follow strategy: as
> strategy evolves, structure needs to evolve as well. With the
> Narrowing Focus emphasis on engineering and grantmaking, we’ve revised
> our strategy, and so we need to refresh our structure too.
> So what’s the purpose of this restructure? What are the problems it’s
> aiming to solve, and what coming changes do we want to be ready for?
> The whole purpose of this restructure is to support increased emphasis
> on engineering and grantmaking. Some specific issues:
> * The FDC is off to a good start: it’s proved it’s able to make tough
> choices, and its decisions are being respected by the chapters and the
> community. For the FDC to do a really good job for us next year
> though, it's going to need to be able to assess the impact of the
> funding it’s given out --- not just “is this organization capable of
> spending this much money competently” but “to what extent is this
> spending helping the movement achieve its goals.” The FDC won't be
> able do that without support from us, and so we need and want to
> invest in support for programmatic evaluation. At this point the
> movement has very little ability to say “x kind of activity is having
> a good effect” and “Y kind of activity is not” -- we need to help
> equip it to do that.
> * Currently more than half the organization’s staffing and spending is
> concentrated in engineering. That’s great and it fits with our
> strategy, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense to have half the
> organization reflected at the C-level by a single person. I would like
> the C-team to be less admin-heavy and more weighted towards
> programmatic activities.
> * Currently, as Erik has said in an earlier note, he personally makes
> any trade-offs that need to be made in terms of where to focus
> engineering/product resources. He believes, and so do I, that we could
> get better decision quality if there were more debate at the executive
> level about tradeoffs.
> * After a couple of years of developing the foundations of the
> engineering department, we’re ready now to upwards-prioritize user
> experience, analytics, and high-level strategic planning and
> assessment. We want to add more resources to those areas.
> So, what are we going to do?
> First, we’re going to revamp Global Development. Starting now, that
> department will be called Grantmaking and Programs. It will be co-led
> by Anasuya (grantmaking) and Frank (programs). Anasuya and Frank will
> have separate direct reports and budgets, but we’re going to keep it
> as a single department because neither sub-department is very large
> and because the two are deeply interlinked: we wouldn’t have one
> without the other. Anasuya, currently Director of Global Learning and
> Grantmaking, will become Senior Director of Grantmaking, and Frank,
> currently Global Education Program Director, will become Senior
> Director of Programs.
> Anasuya will be responsible for running all grantmaking processes (for
> both individuals and entities) and for helping movement entities, like
> chapters and thematic organizations, to develop and mature. Reporting
> to Anasuya will be Asaf Bartov, Jessie Wild, Oona Castro and Siko
> Bouterse, as well as a Senior Program Officer for the FDC (a new
> position that will be filled within the next month or so).
> * The Senior Program Officer will be responsible for facilitating the
> FDC process, which recommends funding allocations for the largest and
> wealthiest Wikimedia organizations such as Wikimedia Germany and
> Wikimedia France.
> * Asaf continues to be responsible for the Wikimedia Grants Program,
> supporting younger, smaller Wikimedia organizations like Wikimedia
> Venezuela and Wikimedia Mexico, and for finding non-Wikimedia
> organizations that we can fund to carry out good programmatic
> activities in developing countries, particularly where there are no
> chapters.
> * Jessie will be responsible for evaluation and learning for all our
> grantmaking --- both helping us internally optimize our processes, and
> helping us and the grant recipients assess organizations’ development
> (for Anasuya) and the impact of the programs funded by movement
> dollars (for Frank).
> * Oona will continue to run the Brazil program. Consistent with the
> Narrowing Focus plan, she is actively seeking a partner to continue
> the work in Brazil within a grants structure similar to the one we
> recently negotiated with CIS in India.
> * Siko is taking over responsibility from Asaf for all funding for
> individuals. This will make it possible for us to grow our individual
> grant-making, and it will also free up Asaf to do more small
> organization development. Siko will also be responsible for
> documentation and analysis of all grants except the ones funded by the
> FDC. It’s important for us to grow grantmaking to individuals because
> individuals create 99% of the value in the projects. They do it with
> practically no funding, but in some cases a little money will be able
> to make something great happen.
> Frank will be responsible for designing and implementing a
> collaborative program evaluation process that will help the movement
> optimize its programs, including, but not limited to, those funded by
> grants. His clients for that will be fund-seeking entities (to help
> them make decisions about what programs to run) and the grantmaking
> groups (to help them make decisions about what requests to fund). He
> will also continue to hold responsibility for the Wikipedia Zero
> project and the Global Education program.
> Reporting to Frank will be Kul Wadhwa and a new Senior Program Officer
> for the Global Education team (a new position that will be filled
> within the next few months, and to whom Annie Lin and LiAnna Davis
> will report). Frank will likely also begin to build a small team
> supporting program evaluation: he is starting now to develop a plan
> for that.
> * The Global Education Senior Program Officer will be responsible for
> running the Global Education Program, which supports Wikipedians and
> educational institutions in running programs in which students write
> Wikipedia articles as part of their classwork. This program, which
> started a couple of years ago, has proven effective at improving
> article quality without costing much money. Inside Global Ed, LiAnna
> is responsible for communications (creating and improving materials
> and tools for teachers, students and volunteers), and Annie is
> responsible for expansion to new geographies. LiAnna and Annie’s roles
> won’t change.
> * Kul continues to be responsible for leading the Wikipedia Zero team
> which makes deals with mobile providers giving their users access to
> Wikipedia with no charges for data.
> * Jessie reports to Anasuya, but will also support Frank in his
> program evaluation work. And, Frank’s program evaluation plan may
> result in us creating new positions for evaluation work.
> That’s Global Development. Now Engineering.
> 62% of the Wikimedia Foundation’s staff (79 of 127 people) are in
> Engineering and given our increasing emphasis on engineering and
> grantmaking we can expect that proportion to grow. That’s a pretty big
> span of control for a single person, and so as you know over the past
> month we’ve been discussing whether to split the department in two:
> one focused on Engineering, and the other Product. After talking it
> through (a lot), we’ve decided not to do that right now: we think it’s
> possible we may be able to achieve our objectives without breaking up
> the department.
> So what are going to do?
> For the moment, we’re going to keep Engineering as a single
> department, incorporating Platform (Rob Lanphier), Features (Terry
> Chay), Ops (CT Woo), Mobile (Tomasz Finc), Languages (Alolita Sharma)
> and Product (Howie Fung). No change there. We want to
> upwards-prioritize user experience, analytics, and high-level
> strategic planning and assessment. Here’s what will happen next with
> regards to that:
> * Erik and Howie are going to hire a Director of User Experience. The
> position will be posted sometime in the next few weeks, and we hope to
> have the person in place around February/March. Once that happens,
> Brandon Harris, Heather Walls, Munaf Assaf, Pau Giner and Vibha Bamba
> will report to the Director of User Experience.
> * We’re going to have a series of meetings to figure out how best to
> structure analytics work. These meetings will include (in various
> groupings) me, Erik, Rob, Howie and other internal analytics clients
> and stakeholders, and research/analytics staff. To date, the people
> working in research and analytics have been distributed throughout the
> organization on different teams, reporting to different bosses. Right
> now, we are leaning towards combining all those people into a single
> department so that they can concentrate their energies and give the
> organization maximum bang for its buck. That would include: Aaron
> Halfaker, Andrew Otto, Dan Andreescu, Dario Taraborelli, David
> Schoonover, Diederik Van Liere, Evan Rosen, Erik Zachte and Ryan
> Faulkner. At this point, we’re operating on the assumption that we
> will post and board a Director of Analytics (or some similar, possibly
> more expansive title) position, probably late in the first three
> months of 2013.
> * Erik, Gayle and I are going to meet to discuss options for what can
> come off Erik’s plate to free him up to focus more on product,
> strategy, user experience and analytics and evaluation. In January,
> we’ll meet with the Engineering directors to make a final decision
> about whether to split the department or add more resources to
> Engineering in some other fashion.
> Geoff and I are also pleased to announce a change in title for Jay
> Walsh. Effective immediately, Jay’s title will change from Head of
> Communications to Senior Director, Communications, owing to the
> expanded duties and scope of the Foundation's communications team.
> Since he started, Jay has grown the team from one to four people (Jay,
> James Alexander, Matthew Roth and Tilman Bayer), and it now has a
> wider range of responsibilities, including creative direction,
> editorial/news production, research, and merchandise. And so, we're
> pleased to recognize the considerable work of Jay and the team. (This
> really isn’t a restructure-related announcement, but I’m putting it in
> this note so all the news comes at once :-))
> That’s the roadmap for where we’re headed right now. To summarize:
> Global Dev’s name is changing to Grantmaking and Programs, and it will
> be co-led by Anasuya (Grantmaking) and Programs (Frank). Some people’s
> job functions and reporting lines will change. In Engineering, we are
> adding two new positions: a Director of User Experience (search will
> launch in January), and a Director of Analytics (or some similar
> title) (search will launch by March). We will also be discussing in
> January whether to break Engineering into two departments, Engineering
> and Product & Strategy, or not.
> Last thing I want to say: We’ve been talking about this restructure
> for a month or so --- it’s used up a fair bit of organizational energy
> and caused some noise and anxiety. So I was interested to read the
> other day a new blog post by Clay Shirky, in which he said this: “Open
> systems are open. For people used to dealing with institutions that go
> out of their way to hide their flaws, this makes these systems look
> terrible at first. But anyone who has watched a piece of open source
> software improve, or remembers the Britannica people throwing tantrums
> about Wikipedia, has seen how blistering public criticism makes open
> systems better.”
> I am not actually asking for your blistering public criticism :-) But
> I am asking you to accept that things are going to be a little messy
> for a while, and to continue to engage in good faith as we work
> through this stuff. This stuff can be raw because of the implications
> for people personally: I’m grateful that for the most part people seem
> to have been able to set aside their individual self-interest and
> think about what’s good for the organization overall --- I’d ask you
> to keep trying to do that.
> If you’ve got questions about this, you can ask them here on the list,
> or at the metrics meeting tomorrow morning, or speak with your boss or
> me.
> Thanks,
> Sue
> --
> Sue Gardner
> Executive Director
> Wikimedia Foundation
> 415 839 6885 office
> 415 816 9967 cell
> Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
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