Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups

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Strategy Phase II WG Model credits.png


Photo: Jason Krüger, Wikimedia Conference 2018, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • The task of each Working Group is to work on:
    • Scope - map the present situation of the thematic area, the obstacles and opportunities, using all the data already collected over the years and further research if needed. Identify the changes needed and build a case to explain why these changes help us moving in our strategic direction.
    • Recommendations - identify possible strategies for making these changes and develop concrete recommendations for the movement on how to ratify and implement them.
    • Implementation - advise on and iterate changes based on the recommendations.
  • Working Groups are meant to complement existing movement structures, and not to create redundancies. The groups are not decision-making bodies themselves, but will develop recommendations as a basis for decision-making.
  • Each Working Group will ideally consist of 10-15 people.
  • The group represent the diversity of the movement, as well as the diversity of skills and experience needed to work on the thematic area.
  • As thematic areas are diverse, each Working Group will need to define how it works individually. The set-up of each Working Group is supported by the Core Team, to provide consistency across the groups.
  • Connection and collaboration between Working Groups is essential. It is up to the Working Group to identify collaboration needs and opportunities, as well as to actively maintain collaborations across groups. This is supported by the Core Team who acts as the ‘backbone support’ of all the Working Groups.
  • We will be prototyping and improving the Working Group method as we use it, so that it fits the movement’s needs and culture.

Thematic areas[edit]

The key thematic areas have evolved from conversations we have had in our movement for years, for example in various WMCON sessions and group discussions on governance, resources, diversity, partnerships, etc. For each of these areas, the Core Team has mapped the focus and a couple of core questions that need to be answered to enable us to fulfil the Wikimedia mission and advance us towards the strategic direction.

The key questions these working groups are addressing all focus on the structural level, not on programmatic work. The Core Team proposes the following thematic areas to be addressed by the movement (click on the name of the thematic area to read more):

Thematic area Draft description Mailing list

Roles & Responsibilities1[edit]

  • The organizational and affiliate model of the Wikimedia movement;
  • the different roles, purposes and relationships of the Foundation, affiliates, and committees;
  • global, regional, local and thematic responsibilities of movement organizations (existing and prospective);
  • movement wide leadership, governance and decision-making processes;
  • equity within our structures and distribution of responsibilities for crucial functions needed by the movement (legal, fundraising, data protection, software development, communication)

Revenue Streams[edit]

  • principles for revenue streams in the movement;
  • models for revenue streams that already exist in the movement and in other non-profit organizations and movements;
  • development of models for revenue streams in alignment with the development of the product;
  • ways to tap into the full potential of movement stakeholders (like organizations, groups, allies, partners and donors) when it comes to generating revenue streams;
  • evaluation and enhancement of current structures and responsibilities for the generation of revenue streams for the movement.

Resource Allocation[edit]

  • principles of equity in our structures for distribution and use of our financial resources within and beyond our movement;
  • local, regional and global responsibilities for resource allocation and grantmaking across the movement, incl. grantmaking bodies and decision making processes;
  • evaluation of global and local resource allocation models;
  • the impact of funds spent, and accountability of movement entities.


  • to map the current areas of diversity and the diversity gaps within the movement as well as projects that have been concentrating on bridging these gaps;
  • finding ways to increase awareness of privilege and to overcome related cultural, institutional, technological and behavioral barriers to inclusion and to knowledge equity;
  • ways to include missing voices and bridge gaps in content, reach, and users (in terms of both access and contributions).


  • opportunities and challenges related to building partnerships at the local, regional and global levels;
  • strategic approaches to scaling the work that we do in ways beyond our own capacity and reach;
  • collaboration with other organizations and movements to promote our vision and values;
  • and move in our strategic direction with opportunities for wider impact.

Capacity Building[edit]

  • goals for investing in capacity building in our movement;
  • understanding what capacities we need within the movement as such and identifying priorities for target groups;
  • development of leadership skills to build leadership and expertise in our movement – in volunteer as well as staff roles;
  • systematic approaches towards scouting, recruiting and retaining people with the needed skill sets (volunteer and staff) to support our work towards the *strategic direction as a global movement;
  • implementing organizational and cultural change.

Community Health[edit]

  • structures, practices and resources necessary for supporting a culture of trust and collaboration in Wikimedia communities and organizations;
  • the future perspective of engaging and including newcomers in a sustainable manner;
  • balancing workload and personal health;
  • critical roles in the communities and providing support to retain people with these roles and responsibilities.

Product & Technology2[edit]

  • together with a wider spectrum of stakeholders, map future scenarios for product and technology development;
  • develop structures for continuous communication and ongoing connections between product/technology teams, groups, communities and other stakeholders in the movement and beyond;
  • map the needs and expectations for local technological capacity building.


  • legal frameworks, public policies and agendas to define areas where active advocacy and political engagement supports our mission and our strategic direction;
  • build capacities to break down political barriers;
  • identify partners for political impact

1During the Wikimedia Conference 2018, the Working Group “Roles & Responsibilities” proposed “Power Dynamics” as a title instead. As power is only a part of the broader conversation around global, regional and local responsibilities and roles, and we wouldn’t want the group to only concentrate on this aspect, the Strategy Core Team decided to keep the original name.

2At Wikimedia Conference 2018 this Working Group was named "Technology", but after some consideration regarding the extensive scope of the group, the Core Team has decided to rename the group to "Product & Technology".

Structures within the working groups[edit]

Each Working Group decides how to organize their work. Based on the consultations at the Wikimedia Conference 2018, we suggest the following minimum structure:

Photo: Habib M’henni, Wikimedia Conference 2018, GFDL
Set up
  • Size: 10-15 people
  • these people have to represent diverse perspectives and roles within our movement (e.g. organizations and/or groups of different types, sizes and geographies; staff, board members, movement volunteers etc.)
  • working group members should be able to commit the required time over the lifetime of the group
  • the group selects two co-chairs who will take over a supporting and coordinating role for each group 1
  • guiding principles that are common to all the WGs (to be created)
  • functional roles within the group (communications, facilitation, etc.)
  • clear process defining each phase of the work
  • As long as the total number does not exceed 15 people, Working Groups can appoint new members if they agree that there are specific competences and expertise missing or if a member drops out before the finalization of recommendations
Tasks and workflow
  • map the present situation of the thematic area, the obstacles and opportunities as well as needed change
  • create recommendations for the movement and provide guidelines for movement entities and individuals to implement the recommendations by
    • including community feedback cycles
    • developing different realistic scenarios for the movement to support the decision making
    • accommodating different needs and working styles of team members (stay flexible)
    • soliciting expert advice and commission research projects for areas in which we lack knowledge
    • Ensuring new insights and perspectives (from within and outside of our movement) are a part of the process and influence the final recommendations
  • We predict an average of 5 hours per week time investment in the Working Groups from each individual, but that might vary depending on the workflow that each group agrees upon. We hope that the Working Groups will have people who can commit more time beyond the 5 hour minimum, to cover tasks that take more time.
  • continuous communication (online meetings, face to face meetings, written communication)
  • report to the movement and to the other groups via a reporting template about every step of the process
  • consultations with experts and (potential) partners outside the movement
  • constant consultation with the other working groups in order to proactively identify and address interdependencies in recommendations
  • publication and dissemination of research results to the movement
  • publication of draft recommendations based on research input to the movement
Decision-making about recommendations
  • the appropriate decision-making process will be proposed by the WG in consultation with movement stakeholders
  • decisions can for example be made by common consensus, a defined group/team decision or a resolution by the WMF Board of Trustees (as it is currently the only global decision making body)
  • together with the Working Groups, the members of the Board of Trustees will explore and agree upon the different models for ratification of the recommendations that each group will develop

The Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation is committed to the Movement Strategy process and each of them has joined one of the Working Groups.

1 Co-chairs will be mainly responsible for the internal workflow and management of the Working Group and any project management beyond that scope (such as coordinating with external vendors/researchers) will be responsibility of the Core Team.


Members of the Working Groups (WG members) are expected to act in the interest of the movement, not in the interest of their own organization or community.

For best results we need a diverse set of members from across the movement. Working Group Steering Committee was assembled to decide upon membership in close coordination with the Core Strategy Team. The Steering Committee based their recommendation on a range of criteria; the Core Team made the announcement of the selected members and will also find ways for those not in the groups to participate.

Photo: Habib M’henni, Wikimedia Conference 2018, GFDL
Photo: Jason Krüger, Wikimedia Conference 2018, CC BY-SA 4.0


  • Strong interest in strategic discussions and/or strategic planning
  • A good understanding of the landscape of the Wikimedia movement and its structures
  • Competences and expertise in or related to the determined key theme
  • Experience in working with diverse stakeholders on the determined field OR deep local or organizational perspective that can enrich the discussions
  • Effective communication and teamwork skills
  • Where applicable, ability to work with colleagues who do not have English as primary language
  • Comfort in English (written and spoken) (If this is the only expectation stopping you from signing up, please still sign up, and we will assess the possibilities for translation)


  • Region, country
  • Language
  • Gender
  • Role in the organization or community
  • Emerging communities / established communities
  • Voices that are not yet included in strategic discussions


A healthy mixture of different roles and functions per group:

  • Affiliates
    • Board members
    • Staff members
    • Different size and type of affiliates
    • Regional and thematic
  • Communities
    • Projects
    • Languages
    • Photographers
    • Developers
  • WMF
    • Board members
    • Staff members
  • ED group
  • Chairpersons group
  • Committees
  • Regional collaboratives
  • Informal organized groups

Guidelines for replacement of WG members[edit]

  1. Core Team member attends the call or follows the online/written conversation
  2. Core Team checks and documents attendance of members
  3. If WG members miss two calls (continuously) or don’t provide input as requested, the Information and Knowledge Team send an email to these members, CCing the interim coordinator.
  4. This email is a confidence and care building measure and will consist of three questions:
    1. Question on wellness
    2. Question on availability (time zone, tech problems, social challenges, etc.)
    3. Question on future participation.
  5. Core Team and coordinator consult how to move forward according to the answers provided.
    1. If the WG member has health issues, we request participation in future.
    2. If WG member brings up ‘availability or social challenges’ coordinator to bring it up in the next WG meeting.
    3. If WG member is non committal about future participation, CT to initiate replacement process.
  6. If the person misses another call without explanation after the reminder a replacement process will be initiated due to inactivity.
    1. Announcement to the person
    2. Announcement to the group
    3. Removal from meta pages and mailing-lists
  7. WGs should be given the first chance/priority to search and replace members.

Representation at events[edit]



Working Groups will be supported by the Core Team of the Strategy Process with the Information & Knowledge Manager being the main point of contact. The support includes creation of templates and toolkits to be used in structuring and designing the workflow of the Working Groups as well as management of information flows to enable Working Groups to have informed discussions and make informed decisions. The team will also ensure that the progress of Working Group discussions will be shared with the wider movement in a timely manner.

The Core Team is working on budgets for research, travel, translation and training needed for each Working Group. Details will be specified once the Working Groups have been formed and their needs and expectations are mapped.

During the Working Group call there is no translation support available, yet, and we are relying on existing regional and local networks to share the call. After the Working Groups have been assembled, we ask them to define their scope and map their needs for outreach and translation, so that the Core Team can ensure the necessary support.