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

Quim Gil qgil at wikimedia.org
Thu Nov 22 02:02:23 UTC 2012

Thanks Erik for the extensive response.

Ultimately what counts is ongoing progress. If the model proposed is an 
improvement from the current, solving specific problems we currently 
have, then fine and I'm all or it.

I'm still stuck in one point:

On 11/19/2012 07:54 PM, Erik Moeller wrote:
> 3) Why not have an even flatter structure?
> My prediction with a structure like the one you propose would be the following:
> If you increase the number of direct engineering-related reports to
> Sue from 1 to 5, her ability to meet and seriously interact with any
> one of them will drop to close to zero, with no time for goal-setting
> conversations, career pathing, or serious conflict resolution.

One could ask why so many things need to be reported to or pass through 
a single person? This is the factor defining the angle of verticality of 
an organization.

Why not having more decentralized reporting (broadcasting), 
goal-setting, career path, or serious conflict resolution?

Why not betting on a more brave contemporary model being a non-profit 
foundation, with hundred-something employees, an open source culture, an 
Internet culture, a wiki culture, a remote work culture, a contributors 
culture, an online community culture, a San Francisco Bay tech startup 

I understand what you are explaining about the board being the first 
body defining this kind of game. As for today the board is an entity too 
unilateral and abstract for me, but I'm willing to help bringing this 
type of message to them if these opinions are shared by others.


Well, at least your proposal doesn't go against this scenario. Perhaps 
is one step in that direction. Good enough here and now, I guess. Thank 
you for trying!  And for opening this discussion. Just please consider 
further steps flattening and decentralizing the WMF.

There is a blog post & video circulating these days, about how GitHub 
Inc is organized as a company. They also manage a version control system 
promoting decentralized collaboration, plus other tools supporting this 
core goal and the big community around it. They are also 
hundred-something. They have also offices in San Francisco. They are 
also a young organization growing fast. Etc.

The video is interesting and entertaining. The slides are simple and 
fun. I'm not a person for watching 40min YouTube videos, even less about 
HR & business management topics - but this one was very interesting to 
watch. Even if only as a documentary of how certain company running 
certain product I like happens to work:

Your team should work like an open source project


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