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

Mathieu Stumpf psychoslave at culture-libre.org
Fri Dec 7 12:13:19 UTC 2012

Le 2012-12-07 01:04, Sue Gardner a écrit :
> 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 organizational structure gradually gets out-of-date --- it needs to 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.

Well, one may argue the exact inverse point of view : if it works, 
don't break it.
Could you, please, provide us some pointers to documents describing the 
"Wikimedia strategy changes" ?

> 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.

What's the FDC ? Sorry if my questions seems naives, but I'm not a 
native english speaker nor a long term contributor on this mailing list. 
Please fell free to provide me links to document you think I should read 
to better understand subjects discussed on this list.

> * 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.

Does C-team working on C language software, or is that some internal 
classification ? What do you call programmatic activities ?

> 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.

This point sounds like wind, smoke and mirrors to me. Those said I have 
no problem with people playing with syntactic games, enjoy! ;P

> * 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.

On the other hand, don't you fear a reaction from contributors who 
could feel wronged when they see some people got money where they get 
nothing? I personally doesn't have opinion on this topic, I just wonder 
if some thoughts were already thrown on this topic.

Association Culture-Libre

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