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

Steven Walling steven.walling at gmail.com
Wed Nov 7 22:46:27 UTC 2012

On Wed, Nov 7, 2012 at 2:16 PM, Platonides <Platonides at gmail.com> wrote:

> > 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. :-)
> I feel like you, Nemo. I am glad by Terry explanation, but as I went on
> reading it, the less I felt I understood it. It would benefit from a
> more layman explanation. Maybe it's just complex to everybody.

Simplest possible explanation of what Erik is proposing: we need to split a
large department in to two, and add more managers. It's too big ad too
critical for one person to manage.

In three steps...

   1. Right now there is one department, Engineering & Product Development.
   It includes engineers, designers, product managers, community liasons, data
   analysts, and more. It's the biggest department at the Wikimedia
   2. In 6-8 months there will be two departments, Engineering and Product
   Development. Each will have their own leaders that report to Sue, instead
   of everyone reporting to Erik. Engineering will contain software engineers
   and their managers, for the most part. Product Development will contain
   designers, product managers, and data analysts, for the most part.
   3. There will also probably be new Director-level positions under the
   new departments, such as to manage the design team.

That glosses over the entirety of the reasons for proposing this and the
benefits, obviously. Howie's explanation of what each of these roles are
will help define why product development is distinct from engineering, I'm


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