Learning patterns/Project roles

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Project roles
problemWithout assigned roles, sometimes important tasks don't get done.
solutionHave at least a few assigned roles in your project team, like project manager, publicity coordinator, and facilitator.
created on14 November, 2013

What problem does this solve?[edit]

Organizing a complex project requires many different sets of skills, and there are often many different tasks that need to get done at the same time in order for the project to be successful. Some people will want to work on specific kinds of tasks, and other people may not know what they want to do. However, you need to make sure that certain important tasks like inviting people to your event, or setting up a mailing list, or scheduling meetings get done, even if no one volunteers to do them.

What is the solution?[edit]

  • In order to make sure that important tasks are completed at the right time, it is useful to create a few basic roles for your project, and to ask a few people to take on those roles. The kinds of roles you pick will depend the kind of project you are doing, but some roles are useful for many kinds of projects.
  • You might consider inviting people to sign up to complete 'micro-tasks' instead of taking on a full project role.
  • One way to make it easier for people to volunteer to take on a project role is to make it clear what tasks they will be responsible for, give an estimate of how much time they will need to complete those tasks and any deadlines or dates where they will need to be in a particular place. The table below is an example of one way to organize program roles.
Project task Volunteer responsible Task dates Notes Estimated time commitment
Manage mailing lists Josephina ongoing through May 2015 This person will need to start the project mailing list in January and send out emails every 30 days until May 2015. 5 hours
Media outreach Vijay April 1 through May 15 2015 This person will be responsible for contacting the media before the event, and posting links to media mentions on project page after the event. 8-10 hours
Event facilitator (Volunteer needed) April 1 through April 30 2015 This person will help develop the event agenda and lead activities at the event on April 30th. 8 hours
Event note taker Jorge April 30th 2015 This person will need to attend the event and take notes for four hours on April 30th. 4 hours

General considerations[edit]


Some examples of project roles that were useful in different grant funded projects include:

  • Wiki curator[1]
  • Materials editor/translator[2]
  • Publicity/outreach coordinator[3]
  • Volunteer coordinator[4]
  • Facilitator[5]
  • Project/product manager[6]

Example volunteer roles for education programs:[edit]

Every education program is different, these are just some examples of project roles. All of these roles can be done by one person, but it is reccomended to get support from others.

  • Educator outreach: People who can meet with educators during work hours. Students or staff at education institutions could be great in this role.
  • Translation coordinator: Someone who can coordinate efforts on wiki to get outreach or training materials translated.
  • Online mentor: A person who can answer student questions online a few times a week, or help review student contributions.
  • In class trainers: People who likes talking to groups and teaching people how to contribute to Wikimedia projects. In class trainers will need to attend at least one class session, which may be during the work day.
  • Wikimetrics ninja: Someone who knows how or wants to learn how to use Wikimetrics and / or the education extension.

Example volunteer roles for writing contests:[edit]

Some contests are very simple or are so routine that they do not require significant time to plan and run. Longer, complex and first time contests may need support from volunteers, partners or chapters to assist with planning, outreach and judging. Time commitment can range from 15 minutes to a few hours.

  • Communications: Manage outreach, promotion and social media.
  • Judges: Depending on your contest goals, you can ask experienced Wikipedians or content experts to act as judges. You can also use bots to judge contests.
  • Prize Coordinator: This person might apply for funding, request prizes from partners, manage prize delivery or be in charge of putting barnstars on user pages.
  • Contest coordinator: This person will set up the event page template, may encourage early participation by starting a few articles, and may monitor participant editing and help out newbies.


See also[edit]

Education Toolkit Learning Pattern
This learning pattern is part of the Education Program Toolkit.
Go to the toolkit.

Related patterns[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. "The huge number of entries increased the workload in normal commons maintenance activities. Apart from usual commons editors, Tamil wikimedians Thagaval.uzhavan, Surya and shanmugam have helped a lot with maintenance activities. In future contests like this, a dedicated maintenance only team (that is not involved in general coordination work) is necessary for maintenance activities - categorisation, description adding, file moving, copyvio deduction and using the photos in wikiprojects." TamilWiki Media Contest, 2013
  2. "While co-authoring was a quick way to get the text translated and edited, it would have been faster if one team member were designated as editor." Tervetuloa Wikipediaan! report
  3. Wikimedia ZA Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 report
  4. "The lack of coordination was greatly felt. There was no proper oversight over all the steps, and the volunteers worked as they pleased sometimes." Wikimedia Ukraine Wiki Loves Earth 2013
  5. "We had an open space room but could not hire an open space facilitator so not much happened in open space." WikiSym 2013 Conference report
  6. Improve 'Upload to Commons' Android App IEG renewal