On Sun, Jun 29, 2014 at 10:19 AM, Michael Peel <em...@mikepeel.net> wrote:

> I am worried by how short-term the current plans/goals are, though. I know 
> that
> a lot of work that the engineering department does, particularly with regards
> software, which can only be planned on a quarterly basis to ensure it's as 
> agile
> and responsive to changing needs as possible. However, there's also the
> long-term view - what the key pieces of work that department wants to get done
> over the course of the next year or longer are - which is currently missing. 
> I think
> this is particularly important for the engineering side of things (expected 
> server
> capacity needs etc.), but it's also relevant for the software development 
> side in
> terms of the larger picture.
> Is there a wikipage available somewhere that sets out the long-term
> view/strategic priorities for the engineering department? If not, could I 
> encourage
> you to think about starting one?

Dear Mike,

Thanks for the thoughtful question.

On the subject of short term vs. long term precision, I'd encourage
you (and others) to view Lila's presentation from the metrics meeting
today [1]. We should be able to say with precision with what we're
going to do in the next quarter and paint a general picture as to what
we're going to do in a year.

There are indeed areas of planning that are a bit more predictable,
e.g. hardware purchases. The line item detailed view of the budget is
internal, but it includes year-long estimates for operating expenses
and capital expenditures, for example, based on hardware inventory,
warranty information, capacity projections, vendor agreements, and
project planning. They can still be thrown off if a major project with
lots of inter-dependencies like a data-center build-out falls behind

The current engineering draft goals do include team-level Q3 and Q4
goals, but I've been OK keeping these fairly minimal for now. What's
more important is adding the narrative and through-line as well as
department-wide targets, which is still on my to-do list. Lila added a
couple of example dept-wide targets that we'll be fleshing out
further. We've already stated some of this in the FDC proposal (esp.
the mobile section), but I'll be bringing it into a more concise
summary focused on explaining the strategic context and the expected

I'm optimistic that as we develop this goalsetting framework further
it can serve as a template for how some of this work is done
organization-wide, potentially replacing the additional narratives
developed for the Annual Planning/FDC process.


[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=993lpGrittg
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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