Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2010-2015

The strategic planning process focuses on finding actionable strategies for the Wikimedia Foundation/Movement, answering what and how questions concerning outreach and reaching non-editing users, effectiveness of our projects, and how we should prioritize current and future initiatives, among other things. (NB: Wikimedia strategy is not the same as Wikipedia strategy.)

Purpose and Principles


Our goal is to facilitate a year-long, community-driven, strategic planning process that lays out a five-year course of action for the Wikimedia community and stakeholders.

Our principles for facilitating this process:

  • Empower our community and stakeholders to participate.
  • Be transparent.
  • Collaborate, and encourage collaboration.
  • Approach this as a learning process.
  • Model. Operate on a small-scale as we hope the community will operate on a large-scale.



By the end of this one-year process, we will have two deliverables:

  • An actionable, five-year vision paper for the Wikimedia movement
  • An actionable, five-year plan for the Wikimedia Foundation that is in alignment with the larger vision

Additionally, we hope that a number of other useful artifacts will emerge from this process.

How to Participate


There will be a number of ways to engage in the process and the project team.

  • Eugene and Philippe will be holding weekly IRC office hours every Tuesday at 20:00-22:00 UTC. (We'll find another time as well to better accommodate other timezones.)
    • Strategic Planning/IRC Office Hours (2009-07-21) office hour notes are posted on the strategy wiki: [1]
  • Post your ideas to your blog/ account. Just be sure to tag them "wikimedia" so that we can find them.
  • We want to encourage you to self-organize and meet face-to-face in order to explore ideas. Please let us know if you end up doing so, and let us know what was discussed.
  • And of course, there is a wiki at
We could use some IRC guidelines similar to what's on Public outreach/Open hour. --Eekim 22 July 2009



Setting effective goals


Define timelines and actions, help groups crystallize what they want to do in a way that allows them comparison with other major initiatives, a definition of needs, and structured review over time.

Working groups


Working groups have limits on size to be effective, but can define subgroups, or nongroup methods for organizing ideas, priorities, feedback, submissions, or advisors

Open questions : where is there scarcity? Is there a limit to how many elements or suggestions a given group can identify and elaborate?
Are there limitations on who can participate? What is the role of committed work-group members vs. contributors?

Document production


An important end goal is a set of clear documents and processes for pursuing the major goals, communicating/sharing work in progress, indicating availability/interest, and defining project definitions or needs.



The suggestions so far have been to have a fixed-timeline process to supplement the many less structured processes that help guide strategy.

Questions: who have been thinking about these core questions to date? What are the core questions in other people's minds?

Note that there are more dead projects than alive... the Usability project looked for related initiatives last year and found lots that were no longer active. (past studies had been posted but without followup, or had ended with a main page redesign and little more.)


  • Technology
  • Identity : tools for participation and effective engagement
  • Levels of commitment : the diff between WMF philosophical commitments, grant commitments, and community commitments (say to a new project)

Working Groups

How does the idea of 'core groups' map onto the top level sections of lists such as Initiatives? how much does it simply repeat the structure of existing Foundation/Projects/earlier-planning-doc thoughts and directions? Without basic definitions of what defines impact, audience, and the like, it is difficult to claim any set of topics or groups are equally fundamental.

Commonly listed core groups include Reach, Quality, and Participation; or Empowerment, Education, and Effectiveness. All of these lack specific definitions.

  • Is it necessary or important to reduce the mission (already short) and its elaborations to a few terms?
  • How can we compare where it makes sense to commit energy? To what extent is energy transferable from one topic to another?
  • What sorts of partnerships and collaborations are important? To what end are they important?

Vision: how are Wikimedia goals and processes guiding the work of others in the world? How can or should this change?

Variations on the theme : organizational structure (within WP, across wikis, within the foundation, across Free Culture, within the university system, around the world).
Volunteer identity and guidance : a life cycle of participation, development of skills, trust, training.
What sustainability looks like (in structure, distribution, robustness, impact).

Meta topics: org structure, communication, sustainability (and other topics noted above?)

Reflection: what has been done in the past, will this be how we wish things to be done again in the future, what are existing structures and the scale of activity?



Strategic planning



  • Internal news media has a list of ongoing internal news reporting initiatives
  • LSS provides a summary of the mailing list Foundation-l (on a two-week schedule)



See Strategy for an in-progress overview of previous and related efforts in WMF.

In April 2009, the WMF board passed a resolution to start a strategic planning process, which would take place through the summer of 2010. Threads about how to proceed have been floated on foundation-l, and three one-year contracts to facilitate the process (project manager, facilitator, and research analyst) were posted.

  • More information about process / followup on resolution [2]
  • Sue's ideas on how to organize the Strategic Planning process [3]

On July 13, 2009, Eugene Eric Kim of Blue Oxen Associates was announced as project manager, and Philippe Beaudette was announced as facilitator.