[Foundation-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Announcing Howie Fung as Director of Product Development

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Mon Jan 30 18:07:13 UTC 2012

Hello all,

It’s with great pleasure that I announce the promotion of Howie Fung
to the position of Director of Product Development at the Wikimedia
Foundation, effective February 1.

Howie joined us in October 2009 as a consultant for usability
projects, and became a permanent staff member in May 2010. Prior to
Wikimedia, Howie was Senior Product Manager at Rhapsody, where he
helped grow the music site's traffic five-fold within the the first
year on the basis of extensive customer research, including web
analytics, focus groups, user testing, and customer surveys. Prior to
that, Howie was Product Manager at eBay, prioritizing features based
on business objectives, usability studies, and economic impact.  He
has an MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA and a Bachelor of Science
in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University.

I’m really proud of all the work Howie’s done for Wikimedia since he’s
joined, calmly and rationally introducing method where there was
madness, always challenging us to increase our understanding of our
communities and to use our limited resources for the projects that are
likely to have the highest impact. In addition to the work he’s done
on the Usability Initiative, he’s worked on a variety of projects,
including the Editor Trends Study, the Former Contributors Survey, the
Article Feedback Tool, Moodbar, and the Feedback Dashboard.  We’re
very lucky to have him in this new role.

This announcement also means that we’re formally establishing a
Product Development department at Wikimedia, which is part of the
larger Engineering department. Product, in our context, means really
digging into what we want our projects to look like in a year, in two
years, in three years, and working together with software developers
and architects, as well as across Wikimedia, to make that vision a
reality.  Our work will be organized along the following product
areas: Editor Engagement, Mobile, Analytics, and

The following staff and contractors will be part of the Product group,
going forward: Phil Chang, Brandon Harris, Fabrice Florin, Diederik
van Liere, Siebrand Mazeland, Dario Taraborelli, Oliver Keyes, and the
new Interaction Designer, when hired.

The Mobile team, which works on both mobile apps (such as the
Wikipedia Android app) and the mobile web experience, is a good
example of how this works in practice. It has Phil as a product owner
(reporting to Howie), Tomasz as a scrum master and engineering
director, and Patrick, Arthur, Max, and Yuvi as engineers (reporting
to Tomasz). The team itself is the most important unit here: it drives
the success of any given initiative. The connection into the Product
Development group helps to ensure we follow a consistent strategy and
coordinate efforts across the board. [1]

This is an important step in our organizational development and will
help us parallelize and coordinate product and engineering work more

Please join me in congratulating Howie, and WMF. :-)

All best,


[1]  In case you’d like to learn more about agile product development
and software engineering, this presentation is a good intro to scrum,
a specific methodology we've started to use on a couple of teams:

Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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