Strategic Planning update
- Theo10011 is a bureaucrat and administrator at Wikimedia's Strategic Planning Process.
The Wikimedia Foundation's Strategic Planning Process began as a major initiative in July 2009, designed to provide an outlet for the community to formulate a five-year plan that will shape the direction of the Foundation and its projects. Community members, consultants, staff members and benefactors were invited to come together to contribute in a single forum, task forces were established to formulate recommendations, and everyone involved was invited to write proposals and provide recommendations. Eugene Eric Kim and Philippe Beaudette served as facilitators (see also Eekim's earlier Signpost article: The challenges of strategic planning in a volunteer community); they developed and nurtured the Strategic Planning Process over the next few months. The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit strategy consulting group, facilitated the interviews and provided consulting for the process along with Eugene on behalf of his consulting firm, the Blue Oxen Group.
As a result, there were close to 900 proposals, 14 task forces, a repository for statistics gathered for the process, and a specialized community to discuss and influence the direction of all Wikimedia projects. Editors were invited to vote on proposals and provide feedback, and a task force comprising some of the authors of the proposals finalized the recommendations based on their proposals. The strategy wiki also served as a testbed for two relatively new software features - the LiquidThreads talk pages and the feature for rating the proposals. After many passionate discussions, debates and brainstorming sessions—some of which occurred face-to-face at the recent Wikimania in Gdansk—we finally had a road-map for where the Foundation will proceed over the next few years.
Broad groups of people were enlisted to discuss and refine these ideas. Bridgespan conducted interviews with many different specialists, such as Ward Cunningham (the inventor of the wiki) and the late political scientist Howard Zinn, and comparisons were made with the business models of similar organizations, such as the Mozilla Foundation.
The Priorities outlined five specific areas of focus:
The Foundation will focus on the Global South to achieve its growth in readership for the next decade—particularly India, Brazil and the Middle East. It will increase the quality of the content by focusing on more collaborations with cultural institutions, increasing inter-project collaboration across different languages and projects, and establishing quality baseline and reader-submitted rankings to judge the 'quality' metric. To increase participation, the Foundation will focus on increasing entry of new editors into some of the mature projects, and achieving higher retention rates among all editors. To stabilize the infrastructure, there will be a target of 99.99% uptime for site availability with secure offline copies of all projects, along with regular measurements of site performance in different parts of the world. The Foundation will nurture more community-oriented campaigns as well as internal Wiki related gadgets, tools, and extensions for use in all the projects, and will provide up-to date archives of public data to researchers.
At this stage, we want to circulate these priorities as widely as possible and to encourage those who supported them to view them and complete a survey that will provide metrics for comparison on what we want to achieve. Sue Gardner sent out an email recently asking community members to provide feedback to the Movement Priorities through this survey. It is intended to give a target range and provide a benchmark for the priorities, and will be available until August 15. The "Movement priorities", targets, and measures of success are located at Strategic Planning Movement Priorities. The process is ongoing, and all community members—existing and new participants in the Process—are invited to read them and provide feedback. The finalized strategy plan will be presented to the Board for approval in late August.
Although the Strategy Process is nearly finalized, there is still room for discussion along with a repository of facts and figures for the community to examine. Above all, there is now a place for the community to discuss the direction that it is going to take. As a member of the strategy wiki, I would like to acknowledge all the support provided by Eugene and Philippe. Without their tireless guidance and continued support, this process would not have been possible; so, thank you guys.
Explore Wikipedia history by browsing The Signpost archives