I've advocated for flexible/ad-hoc/cross-functional teams before, and I
would advocate for that again.
Many of our successful projects -- both software and social -- start as
initiatives from individual staff members, often in concert with volunteers
providing research, testing, feedback, usage, and even patches. This is
something I think we should embrace in how we structure new projects.
Central budgeting and a standing team are great for maintenance and for
ongoing work on large projects, but I think we need to be more flexible in
spinning up new projects.
Communication should be handled by people close to the planning and
implementation; we've seen startling failures of centralized communication
in the Knowledge Engine project, and the difficulty for the *actual*
Discovery team to control and communicate their own narrative and be judged
on their own merits has been very painful for that team.
Anyway, I think there's plenty of place for planning and big teams and
predefined KPIs, but I think we can be more... dare I say "agile"... than
we have been. (Little "a".)
I hope once the current troubles pass, that we will all be able to talk
more openly and safely about how we can all help ourselves, our org and our
On Feb 23, 2016 4:53 PM, "Yuri Astrakhan" <yastrak...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Something in Oliver's departure email caught my eye:
> * "Because we are scared and in pain and hindered by structural biases and
> hierarchy, we are worse at our jobs." (quoted with Oliver's permission)*
> And that got me thinking. WMF, an organization that was built with the open
> and community-driven principles - why have we became the classic example of
> a corporate multi-level hierarchy? Should we mimic a living organism rather
> than a human-built pyramid?
> This may sound naive and wishful, but could we have a more flat and
> flexible team structure, where instead of having large teams with
> sub-teams, we would have small self-forming teams "by interest". For
> example, someone decides to dedicate their 20% to building support for
> storing 3D models in wiki. Their efforts are noticed, the community shows
> its support, and WMF reacts by increasing project resourcing. Or the
> opposite - the community questions the need of a project, and neither the
> team nor WMF can convincingly justify it - the project resources are
> gradually reduced.
> An organism reacts to the change of its environment by redistributing
> resources to the more problematic areas. Would small, flexible, and more
> focused teams achieve that better?
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