[Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Fwd: Announcement: Wikimedia Foundation restructure (Global Dev & Engineering)
anthere9 at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 8 09:40:13 UTC 2012
Looks fine by me Sue. I also agree that restructuration is good,if only
to avoid getting stuck in habits :)
You argued that "if it work's, do not break it".
Indeed, but precisely, the prior very wide focus of the WMF was not
working so well. And some time ago, the board decided that WMF should
change by narrowing its focus. Accordingly, it was mandatory that
changes in the structure be made to fit the new narrowed goals of the
WMF. It would have been very strange to changed goals and not adapt the
structure to fit the goal.
You better read these pages
12/7/12 1:04 AM, Sue Gardner wrote:
> 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.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: "Sue Gardner" <sgardner at wikimedia.org>
> Date: Dec 5, 2012 7:05 PM
> Subject: Announcement: Wikimedia Foundation restructure (Global Dev &
> 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 organizational structure gradually gets out-of-date --- it needs to be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
> * 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
> Sue Gardner
> Executive Director
> Wikimedia Foundation
> 415 839 6885 office
> 415 816 9967 cell
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