Thanks for writing this email Brion. I agree that the movement needs to
invest more in people and the processes that support people.

One of the largest challenges facing the wikimedia movement, including WMF,
is creating good models for how people in the movement can successfully
engage with each other.

This means investing in people and structures that provide ample time and
motivation to engage/collaborate with other people.

For the past 4 years (at least), I've had the sense that WMF is attempting
to accomplish important public facing projects/programs/initiatives on a
tight time line, and it is causing strain inside WMF, with affiliate
organization, and with the larger wikimedia community.

Instead of a well executed "continual improvement process"1  like "Kaizen" 2,
"Agile" 3, or "Lean" 4, the timelines are rushed and too often WMf staff is
redirected from their planned activities.

Affiliates and the community have to shift their priories so are not well
positioned to engage with WMF. The work sprints appeal to people in the
wikimedia movement who tend towards addictive personalities and
unfortunately it normalizes the process. And the tight timelines hinder
engagement from people in the global movement who do not regularly engage
on meta.

While there has been justification made in each situations for the
accelerated timelines, this form of community engagement is far from ideal
and it has contributed to the miscommunication and stress felt by WMF staff
and the whole wikimedia movement.

So, while I'm eager to have changes that improve governance of WMF and
strengthen the wikimedia movement as a whole, I strongly urge that an
adequate time, resources and people are invested in the process to
implement the changes.

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continual_improvement_process
2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaizen
3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agile_management
4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_software_development#Lean_principles
Warm regards,
Sydney Poore
User:FloNight

Sydney Poore
User:FloNight
Wikipedian in Residence
at Cochrane Collaboration

On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 4:29 PM, Brion Vibber <bvib...@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> I think there are many different interpretations of what it means to "be a
> high-tech organization", which makes it a difficult label to base arguments
> around; readers will interpret it very differently depending on their
> personal experiences and biases.
>
> One view might concentrate on notions of "innovation", "excellence", or
> "return on investment" achieved through super-smart people creating unique
> technology -- this view associates "high-tech" with success, competitive
> advantage, brand awareness/marketshare, and money (profit for traditional
> corporations, or investment in the mission for non-profits).
>
> Another view might concentrate on other features considered common to
> "high-tech" companies such as toxic work environments, lack of diversity,
> overemphasis on engineering versus other disciplines, disconnection from
> users' needs, and a laser-focus on achieving profits at the expense of
> long-term thinking. This view associates "high-tech" with social and
> economic inequality and exploitation of employees and users for their labor
> & attention to the detriment of their physical and emotional health.
>
> And there are many, much subtler connotations to be found in between.
>
>
> I believe a high-tech organization should invest in smart people creating
> unique technology. But I also think it should invest in people, period.
> Staff and volunteers must be cultivated and supported -- that's how loyalty
> and passion are developed, and I believe they pay dividends in productivity
> and recruitment.
>
> Absolutely Wikimedia Foundation needs to build better technologies --
> technologies to serve the needs of our editors, our readers, our
> photographers, our citation reviewers, etc. This means Wikimedia Foundation
> needs a good relationship with those people to research, brainstorm, plan,
> develop, test, redevelop, retest, and roll out software successfully. The
> people who represent Wikimedia Foundation in those relationships are its
> staff, so it's important for management to support them in their work and
> help them succeed.
>
> It is my sincere hope that when the current crises are resolved, that the
> Board of Trustees and the executive can agree on at least this much as a
> shared vision for the Foundation.
>
> -- brion
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