Strategic Plan/2010-2015 WMF Business Plan Draft

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The 2009-2010 strategic planning process aims to surface the priorities for the Wikimedia movement as a whole. Much of the work on these priorities can (and should) be done by volunteers, but each of the affiliate entities also play a role. For example, the Wikimedia Foundation should play a role based on its unique assets (financial resources, staff, servers) and position (protector of Wikimedia brand, etc.). (See Sue Gardner's draft letter to the WMF board, which outlines the role it sees itself playing over the next five years.)

In October 2009, 14 Task Forces were formed to delve more deeply into a set of emerging strategic priorities. In January 2010, the Task Forces published a set of recommendations. Based on this work, interviews, and secondary research, top priorities include:

Ensure Wikimedia runs high quality web site and operation

Investment area Agenda
Site operations
  • Invest in infrastructure to address site performance and reliability, data security vulnerabilities
  • Identify long-term site performance and capacity requirements; implement infrastructure changes to meet requirements
Tech operations
  • Design, realign tech operations to support critical roles cost effectively; create effective environment for work in partnership with volunteer developer community
User experience
  • Build from usability project to institutionalize product development process for user (reader and editor) experience, customer service, navigation, WYSIWYG editing environment, “how to” tools, customization tools (e.g., own skin, mywikimedia), localization tools (e.g., Korean Wikipedia that looks Korean, right-to-left languages)
Data analysts
  • Make operational data accessible to the staff and movement
  • Create management systems and culture that utilize data for decision making
Financial sustainability
  • Build fund-raising expertise to increase community giving; improve existing campaigns and develop new approaches to donor cultivation
  • Continue business development for licensing and in-kind support
Organization and governance
  • Build organizational capacity: fill in key leadership and administrative positions; refine structure, systems and operations to enable and manage fast growth
  • Increase staff capabilities and attention to volunteer management and coordination
  • Clarify and improve governance of the Foundation, roles and responsibilities, and account-abilities within the movement
  • Expected impact: “Wikimedia meets the core performance requirements that the public expects and rules out risks to its viability.

Strengthen and grow the contributor community that is the lifeblood of Wikimedia

Investment area Agenda
Newer contributors acculturation
  • Improve overall user experience and make it much easier for readers to try their first edit
  • Enable default experience for new editors that provides shelter, guidance, and aids acculturation
  • Work on creating and supporting mentorship roles; encourage experienced editors to assist with new contributor acculturation
Article quality and improvement tools
Rewards, incentives, and supports for ongoing quality contributions
  • Continue to leverage feature articles, barn-stars and other simple rewards to recognize excellence in a low stakes fashion that helps build the culture, but doesn’t undermine volunteer spirit
  • Fund meetups to allow Wikipedians to build social bonds offline
Collaboration / coordination around solving problems, adding value, and resolving disputes
Increase diversity of contributors
  • Focus on improving the new contributor experience
  • Conduct focused outreach to groups with potential to bring new expertise to the community (e.g., academia)
  • Nurture community members (particularly members of underrepresented groups) who are working to create more of an open and welcoming culture
  • Expected impact: Expand and diversify the contributor community that would serve to expand readership. Improve the quality (and perception thereof) of Wikimedia and expand the knowledge/content available. Reduce the risk of an editor implosion.

Accelerate impact through innovation

Investment area Agenda
Geographically-focused teams
  • Design and deploy staff teams to focus on growing both readership and the contributor base in selected geographies (See market analysis data.)
  • Create global management structure to supervise local teams, integrate their work with other areas and cross-pollinate learning
Global outreach support
  • Continue to develop support kits and help tools for outreach work around the globe (e.g., Wikipedia Academies)
  • Provide small funding opportunities to encourage experiments in community building
  • Support new organizational models and structures to support collaboration (e.g., wikipods)
Mobile and offline strategies
  • Continue to build partnerships that expand mobile and offline reach
  • Continue to be supportive of efforts within the community and by entrepreneurs to develop mobile and offline applications
  • Look for low cost opportunities to make Wikimedia content more accessible for mobile usage (e.g., first paragraph synthesis)
  • Add dedicated staff resources to support mobile applications and develop coherent mobile strategy
  • Assess the medium-to-long term implications of mobile and product/service expansion opportunities for the Foundation (as well as threats)
Innovation space
  • Develop criteria for the type of innovations the Foundation will support as well as criteria for “sunsetting” investments
  • Capture data to measure and assess experiments; create avenues for migrating high potential innovations into strategic priorities for the Foundation
  • Expected impact: Create new avenues for growth of the Wikimedia footprint in service of the vision

Implications for the Foundation

A focus on the three strategic priorities will have immediate implications for the Foundation:

  • The Foundation is engaging with others in the Wikimedia movement to articulate its role and relationships to other entities, with the goal of achieving better coordination in service of Wikimedia’s mission
  • The Foundation will not invest in other important areas that fall outside these priorities (see some examples of things the Foundation won't do).
  • The size of the Wikimedia paid staff will grow in order to have the capacity to fill current and future roles, contingent on growth in revenue; details on costs associated with ongoing costs and one-time investments to be fleshed in coming months
  • The Foundation has developed a 2010-2011 plan that is rooted in these priorities (as well as a sequence of activities for the five year plan).


Increased capacity
  • Volunteer management: The Foundation’s paid staff capacity will remain tiny relative to the capacity of the broader Wikimedia movement; WMF staff must develop strong skills in volunteer management and see this as primary to their role regardless of their internal function
  • Technical staff: Implementation of all priorities will require increased in-house capacity to evolve the MediaWiki platform, drive new product development, and leverage volunteer developers
  • Fund-raising: Wikimedia will need to increase its effectiveness in revenue generation, which will require further investment in fund-raising capacity
  • HR and Operations: The Foundation currently lacks core administrative staff and systems that will be required as its staff and resources grow


New capabilities and orientations
  • Global presence: Targeted investments in key countries/regions will require development of new international staff functions
  • Innovation and experimentation: Strategy implies need for staff capabilities in developing and running pilots, capturing data to assess success, and integrating results

Implications for the Chapters

  • Alliances and Partnerships
  • The chapters will support Foundations mobile and off-line strategies
  • The chapters will support the development of support kits and help tools for outreach work for the local community. Wikimedia Outreach serves as a knowledge collective and collaboration space.
Increased capacity
  • Paid Staff: There is a desire for paid staff to support the activities.
  • Fundraising: The chapters will need to increase its effectiveness in revenue generation during fundraising campaigns from individuals and institutions to increase community giving.

Implications for the contributors

  • The wiki-communities will improve community health and Wikimedia quality