[Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [Wikitech-l] [Tech/Product] Engineering/Product org structure

Federico Leva (Nemo) nemowiki at gmail.com
Wed Nov 7 21:21:34 UTC 2012

Thank you, Erik. Before (or rather than) commenting, I have a single 
question below; the rest of the email is just a premise+addendum to it. ;-)

Terry Chay, 07/11/2012 21:04:
>> 	You aren't the only one. It turns out we use a lot of industry terminology, without realizing that we are poorly communicating what that means to most people. [...]
>> 	First of all, this will help greatly to the others (you already read it): <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Staff_and_contractors>.

Thanks for your explanation but personally I'm more confused than before 
about the difference between Engineering and Product, also because the 
terminology didn't appear internally consistent. :-)
So, to keep it simple, that page has:

2 Engineering and Product Development
     2.1 Platform
     2.2 Features
     2.3 Technical Operations
     2.4 Mobile and Special Projects
     2.5 Language
     2.6 Product

and as first approximation "Product" would be something like 2.2+2.6 and 
"Engineering" something like 2.1+2.3, with 2.4 and 2.5 aside?

>> 	[...] On the "Engineering" side, there exists an amalgam of specific focused groups with their own directors. The focused groups are: Language (formerly "i18n and Experimentation", internationalization/localization/globalization is a cross-cutting concern), and Mobile (formerly, "Mobile and Special Projects: the mobile web, the mobile app, also including Wikipedia Zero). The "area" focused ones are: Operations (keeping the lights on), Platform (keeping the code working) and Features (ostensibly new features). [...]

What you call the Engineering side here, at a first glance, could seem 
product development, and in fact those two "focused groups" currently 
have some members which are under 2.6 (Product). Surely the same happens 
for the other areas you mentioned.
Which brings me to my question.

Erik Moeller, 06/11/2012 04:03:
 > A split dept structure wouldn’t affect the way we assemble teams --
 > we’d still pull from required functions (devs, product, UI/UX, etc.),
 > and teams would continue to pursue their objectives fairly
 > autonomously.

Could you please elaborate on this?

"The [current] way we assemble teams" is very obscure to me.
Will members of each team become more or less scattered among different 
responsibles than they currently are?
For instance, if I understand correctly, what Terry called the 
Engineering side is distinguished by being "used" by teams in other 
areas/department for "cross-cutting concerns" in addition to having some 
product-development-like tasks? Will the mixed functions which 
individual persons/teams have become more or less clear by the split in 
two departments?

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