Wikimedia Eesti/First interim report on professionalization

In the second half of 2013 Wikimedia Eesti launched a professionalization process, the first result of which was hiring two employees (a management assistant and project manager) in October

The goals of professionalization are to:

  • increase the efficiency of the association’s activities;
  • diversify the association’s financial sources;
  • support the initiation of new projects;
  • manage the documentation needed for the association’s work and
  • reduce the management’s workload.

This document covers the results of the interim evaluation of Q1 (October-December 2013) of the Wikimedia Eesti’s professionalization process.

General board assessmentEdit

Generally, Wikimedia Eesti considers the launch of the professionalization process a success. Around 70 people applied for the positions created, of whom a dozen were well-suited in terms of their skills and personal profiles.

As such, the management of Wikimedia Eesti managed to hire employees who not only met, but in fact exceeded the management’s expectations during Q1. All of the tasks assigned by management were completed, with the employees showing initiative in resolving key issues and increasing efficiency within the association.

Wikimedia Eesti’s management capabilities have improved significantly. External communication is taking place more quickly, reporting is being done in a timely manner and several applications have been submitted to diversify sources of financing (two to funds and five to companies). All documents related to and needed for the association’s activities are being drafted correctly and on time.

Those who applied for the positions but were not selected have been recruited into Wikimedia Eesti as volunteers. With the help of the hired employees their activities have contributed to the launch of extensive new projects (e.g. the programme of wikifying cultural heritage, a civic education project and bringing the Wiki Loves Earth international photography competition to Estonia). In addition, existing projects are now easier to manage (e.g. Tartupedia and the education programme).

Changes in board members’ working timeEdit

To more effectively assess the professionalization process, Wikimedia Eesti’s management has also measured changes in the time they spend managing the association’s activities. To do this, the management measured their working hours in the last working week of August 2013 (prior to professionalization) and in the first working week of December 2013 (in the last third of Q1 of professionalization). The composition of the board has not changed during the process.

Name Working hours in August Working hours in December Change
Eva Lepik 16 hours 8 hours 50% decrease
Teele Vaalma 25 hours 35 hours 40% increase
Raul Veede 40 hours 25 hours 37,5% decrease

Lepik and Veede’s work has largely decreased as a result of the professionalization process, because some of their obligations were delegated to the new employees. At the same time, new obligations have been assumed (e.g. launching new projects), but in general their working time has decreased. This has provided the board members with better quality of life and increased professional capability. For example, since the professionalization process was initiated, Lepik has written a book [1] – something she would previously simply not have had time for.

Vaalma’s working hours have increased, but this is mostly due to the launch of a substantial new pilot project to wikify general education schools’ secondary-level research. Vaalma is the manager and person in charge of this project. Overseeing other responsibilities is taking less time with the help of the new employees.

New sources of financingEdit

One of Wikimedia Eesti’s biggest weaknesses to date has been its excessive dependence on one financial source. One of the main reasons for this has been the lack of time board members have had to look for new sources. One of the main assignments of the new project manager has been finding new funding.

By the end of Q1 of professionalization, two applications for funding submitted to banks operating in Estonia and one application to the Gambling Tax Council had been denied.

Three further applications submitted to organisations operating in Estonia and to the Open Estonia Foundation are currently being reviewed. As such, the number of applications has increased significantly and will hopefully result in a real increase in sources of funding in Q2 or Q3 of the professionalization process.

At the end of Q1, Wikimedia Eesti entered into a substantial project agreement with the Ministry of Education and Research (valued at 27,000 euros) in which the project manager played an important role, coordinating the contract and drafting the schedule and budget.

New projects and activitiesEdit

During the process of professionalization Wikimedia Eesti’s education programme has taken on a new dimension. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research, an extensive pilot project to wikify general education schools’ secondary-level research has been launched, as has a partnership with Tallinn University.

Work with libraries, archives and museums has become closer, as reflected in far more training events and new negotiations for cooperation (including Tartu Art Museum and the Estonian National Museum). A collaborative project with Tartu Art School has also been launched to provide illustrations for key Wikipedia articles.

With the help of both the hired and volunteer workers, several new projects have been initiated – the programme to wikify cultural heritage, a project to update political articles, the organisation of the Wiki Loves Earth photography competition and others – in which the hired employees have played an important role.

With a view to the association’s development, the management of Wikimedia Eesti has engaged more in important international communication and has also had the opportunity to take part in a larger number of business trips abroad.

Delegated board member responsibilitiesEdit

During Q1 of professionalization the management assistant has taken on the following responsibilities of the board members:

  1. recording board meetings;
  2. writing and publishing MTÜ Teataja. Retroactively, the period during which Teataja was not published due to the time constraints faced by management has also been covered and it is now published weekly;
  3. managing all Wikimedia Eesti correspondence;
  4. managing the Wikimedia Eesti Facebook page;
  5. organizing events for the association;
  6. organizing activities for exhibitions (including the movement of the travelling exhibitions of Wikimedia Eesti until September 2014); and
  7. ordering Wikimedia Eesti mementos.

During Q1 of professionalization, the project manager has taken on the following responsibilities of the board members:

  1. drafting the grant application for the Wikimedia Foundation;
  2. drafting other aid applications;
  3. compiling action plans and budgets; and
  4. writing reports.

Calculation of employees’ working timeEdit

Employees tend to fulfil their tasks in their own time, while meeting the agreed deadlines. Meetings that have been previously agreed on are an exception. According to contract, the working hours for the management assistant are 20 hours per week over a seven-day period; and for the project manager 30 hours per week over a seven-day period. To determine actual working time, employees were asked to evaluate their working hours in a randomly chosen week. This was the first working week of December (2-8 December 2013).

Name Hours Activities
Mari Vallik 27 hours Recording board meetings, producing minutes, writing MTÜ Teataja, sending e-mails & making phone calls
Kaarel Vaidla 45 hours Writing the civic education project for the Open Estonia Foundation, drafting and forwarding the action plan and budget for the pilot project to and discussing the project with the Ministry of Education and Research & submitting aid applications to Swedbank and A. Le Coq

Employees’ ongoing responsibilitiesEdit

To date, not all of the necessary actions have been taken during the professionalization process. Minutes of board meetings and news about Wikimedia Eesti in English are still not being published on the Wikimedia meta site, and neither are regular blog posts being posted. There have also been delays with the grant application to the Wikimedia Foundation.

These hold-ups are mostly due to the association falling so far behind during the professionalization period and are not the direct result of employees failing to fulfil their tasks. With the help of the newly hired employees, Wikimedia Eesti hopes to eliminate these shortcomings in the near future.

In addition to the abovementioned shortcomings, the hired employees also have ongoing responsibilities (see the list of delegated responsibilities) that have significantly boosted the association’s efficiency in the course of professionalization.

SummaryEdit

Given the results of interim assessment, Wikimedia Eesti has decided to continue with the professionalization process.

In the board’s view, the efficiency of the association has increased markedly, it has diversified its sources of financing with the support of a key national partner, several new projects have been launched, the association’s documents are now easier to manage and the workload of the board members has decreased significantly.

Therefore, all of the initial expectations for Q1 of the professionalization process have been met and continuing with the two recently hired employees makes a great deal of sense considering the goals of maintaining and improving the situation and rectifying persistent shortcomings.