[Wikimedia-l] Fwd: Update on community advocacy & liaison work

Anders Wennersten mail at anderswennersten.se
Fri Dec 13 08:11:16 UTC 2013

I am very glad to see this initiative.

A strong user involvement is and has always been critical for succesful 
developement and deployment of user oriented software

And here I see this now is set up in a structured way for the important 
work being done for WMF engineering work.

I am looking forward to follow the work of the new Director of Community 
Engagement and the community members groups he/she will cooperate with


Erik Moeller skrev 2013-12-13 08:40:
> FYI :)
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org>
> Date: Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 11:40 PM
> Subject: Update on community advocacy & liaison work
> To: All Wikimedia Foundation staff & contractors
> Hi all,
> As many of you know, we recently brought on board a team of community
> members to support the development and rollout of mission-critical WMF
> projects like VisualEditor and Flow. To-date, this work has been
> coordinated by Philippe Beaudette (reporting to James Forrester for
> this purpose), with the community liaisons maintaining a dotted-line
> reporting relationship to him while being hired by
> engineering/product. In addition, the Community Advocacy team has made
> available several of its staff members to work and partner on a
> day-to-day basis with the liaisons.
> What we’ve learned so far includes:
> - Community engagement continues to be critical for successful
> development and deployment of products with a strong impact on
> community interactions. Not all products have such an impact -- e.g.
> improvements to the mobile reading experience or mobile apps don’t
> affect the experience of content authors directly nearly as much. In
> other cases (e.g. VisualEditor) the impact is huge and the
> coordination and communication requirements can be very significant.
> - We need to start the process as early as possible - community
> engagement isn't something that can just be done at the tail end to
> support a rollout. Liaison work includes on-wiki participation in
> discussions; organizing roundtables, IRC sessions, feedback and
> brainstorming pages, etc. The earlier, the better -- this helps
> surface likely points of contention, empowering Product Managers to
> better understand the high priority needs and wants from the
> community, as well as the cost of a change (how difficult will it be
> to make the change, and what negative side effects may it have?).
> - Product Managers and Community Liaisons need to work closely
> together and see each other as being on the same team. While a typical
> liaison likely will support multiple projects, just like designers,
> liaisons work best when they develop a deep understanding for the
> needs of one or two teams and are in active partnership with the
> relevant PM. The PM and Community Liaison should be collaborating on a
> day-to-day basis.
> - There are other classes of community-related work that need to be
> appropriately resourced, but are less directly relevant to product
> development. This includes: emergency and crisis management and
> response, support for policy-related RFCs, training for OTRS agents,
> organizing of visits of key functionaries and committees, etc.
> - Learning the lessons from the existence of a Community Department,
> we don't view "Community" as a function that can be owned, controlled
> or managed in a single department -- each department needs to be
> supported by community expertise in its day-to-day work, partnering
> closely with other team members.
> Consistent with that, after careful discussion, we have decided to
> create a new leadership function, Director of Community Engagement
> (Product), reporting to me (as VP Product) and partnering closely with
> Howie and individual Product Managers. The Director of Community
> Engagement (Product) will be responsible for managing community
> liaisons (staff or contractors) who directly support product
> development.
> Once this Director is hired and on-boarded, the Community Advocacy
> team currently reporting to Philippe will re-focus its energy on some
> of the aforementioned non-product matters. The community liaison team
> will at that point move to the new Director, and we will staff up as
> needed. We will still intersect on projects such as election support
> or policy implementation.
> I’m not currently considering merging this group with the "Engineering
> Community Team" under Sumana Harihareswara’s leadership. That team is
> focused on engaging volunteer developers who contribute to MediaWiki,
> and while there is some overlap, I consider the goals and workflows to
> be pretty distinct. That said, I expect the two teams to work closely
> together in practice, with folks like Andre Klapper (Bug Wrangler)
> acting at the intersection between the two teams.
> I want to thank Geoff, Philippe and the Community Advocacy team for
> all their support bootstrapping the liaison team and partnering with
> us on key product roll-outs, on very short notice. It’s been
> absolutely invaluable. I’m also grateful for the continuation of this
> partnership until we fill the new Director-level role, and for help in
> the interview and on-boarding process. Finally, thanks for all the
> hard work of the community liaisons on a day-to-day basis; no matter
> how hot things sometimes can get, we know that we can count on you.
> :-)
> I expect to post the job by early January, and it will likely take us
> until at least March/April to fill the position.
> Please let me know if you have any questions. :-)
> Erik
> --
> Erik Möller
> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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