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Community Relations/Community collaboration in product development

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From WMF Annual Plan 2017-18, Program 11:


Wikimedia communities and individual volunteers still struggle with following and participating in the Foundation’s product development activities. On the other end, many Foundation teams working on product development still struggle with their community engagement activities. In practice, only a very small and committed portion of volunteers are able to follow and have a good view of the Foundation’s plans and ongoing projects. The Community Liaisons (CLs) have been helping to bridge this gap.

As part of the previous Annual Plan, CLs started to organize their support to product development teams more flexibly than before, focusing on Product goals. However, this setup still left the Technology department out of CL’s scope, even if some of their teams also work in projects requiring community engagement. CLs and product managers are also driving the creation of the Technical Collaboration Guidance (TCG), a compilation of best practices for inviting community involvement in product development. One lesson learned was that the TCG was best applied to projects that had adopted these best practices since their inception.

After these initial steps, now it is time to standardize the CL support to better serve Product and Technology goals and to harmonize community engagement practices across product development teams. The TCG offers a starting point that is expected to improve as we apply these best practices and we learn from the consequent results.


The goal is to increase the awareness and participation of Wikimedia communities in our product development projects. A higher quantity and diversity of participation through our planning and development process will result in a better common understanding, a better collaboration, and better products.

A requirement to achieve this goal is to offer to our communities a simple and predictable way to stay informed about and to participate in our product development projects.  For this, our current reliance on CL support will be increasingly complemented by harmonization of community engagement practices across Product and Technology teams.

This shift will be based in these principles:

  • CLs will continue to be regularly involved in product planning, having resident specialists appointed to the different areas.
  • CLs will be directly involved in the most complex goals and tasks, as agreed on a regular basis with Product and Technology product owners.
  • All projects will take the TCG as a set of base recommendations to be adapted to their specific needs and circumstance


Lead team: Community Liaisons

  • Outcome 1: P&T's most strategic goals get full support by CLs;
    • Communities are a real partner, members are satisfied, more interested in technical collaboration activities and even proactive.
    • Lack of community involvement and satisfaction is no longer a factor preventing smooth rollouts and goals' achievement;
    • P&T teams' outputs fully adhere to TCG best practices, whenever applicable;
  • Outcome 2: CL support scales better across Product and Technology, also in projects without CLs directly assigned, and by having information necessary to successfully do basic community outreach all Product and Technology teams will more easily be able to update communities directly on lightweight communications that do not require CL intervention.
  • Outcome 3: TCG is adopted by Foundation teams, communities, affiliates and third parties' technical contributors;
    • Projects can run their basic community engagement activities with TCG and related docs


  • Objective 1: Support P&T teams in their path of adoption of TCG best practices (based on needs, via advice, or coaching, or a more stable embedding) and with current, ongoing projects;
    • Start applying current TCG draft systematically to new projects.
  • Objective 2: Develop internal processes (for example, a protocol to request CL support) to clarify terms of engagement, roles and responsibilities, and for a smarter triage of incoming requests.
  • Objective 3: Improve and finalize TCG based on P&T and community feedback; compile documentation (or create additional one) as a supplement to TCG, for teams that need or want practical, structured how-tos; compile and share list of adoption use cases, successes and misses.


  • Target 1: CL coverage:
    • At least one resident CL is allocated in every Product audience team, involved in product planning activities.
    • Product and Technology management teams have one CL assigned each, involved in relevant planning activities.
    • 100% of Product and Technology goals involving CL support developed through these co-planning activities are resourced.
    • Beyond team goals, 100% of support requests submitted to CL by Product or Technology receive a response within a week.
    • Beyond team goals, 80% of support requests accepted are resourced within three months.

Zero unanticipated clashes with the communities related to goals or tasks where CL support has been committed, or where TCG best practices have been followed by the Foundation teams. CL will ensure that development teams are aware of potential and emerging points of conflict.

At least three wiki projects requesting beta features and early deployments  (where applicable).

Top 25 wiki projects in terms of active contributors have at least one active tech ambassadors and one translator identified (could be the same person).

  • Target 2: Degree of satisfaction of teams receiving CL support or using TCG documentation is recorded via surveys and/or interviews as “Very satisfied”.
  • Target 3: Major community collaborations are rated as "good" by volunteers through surveys, to verify whether TCG expectations on best practices were met.


Community Collaboration in Product Development[edit]

See the Annual Plan draft.

Tech ambassadors and translators[edit]

  • Top 25 wiki communities in terms of active contributors have at least one active tech ambassador identified.

Source: Tech/Ambassadors/List

Unanticipated clashes with communities[edit]

  • Unanticipated clashes with the communities related to goals or tasks where CL support has been committed, or where TCG best practices have been followed by the Foundation teams

FIXME: It should be clear that the result is "0".

Satisfaction of Wikimedia Foundation teams supported[edit]

  • Degree of satisfaction of Foundation teams receiving CL support or using TCG documentation

0 = Strongly disagree; 4 = Strongly agree.

The number of responses for every quarter is indicated between parentheses.

Overall satisfaction

Average value of the three indicators below combined.

The Community Liaison was responsive throughout the project

The Community Liaison provided useful advice and information throughout the project

The Community Liaison was effective in implementing any agreed-upon actions

Other metrics[edit]

Wikimedia Foundation Audiences and Technology goals supported (percentage)

Beyond goals, support requests by P&T receiving a first response within a week (percentage)

Median time of first response (days):

Note: "0" indicates that most of the support requests were filed by the community liaisons, creating the request and the response at the same time.

Beyond goals, accepted support requests resourced within three months

Not available in July - September 2017 because it requires a systematic approach to new requests for accuracy. In any case, as of 2017-10-11 there are no support requests waiting for our resourcing.

As of 2018-01-11 there is only one support request not resourced after three months, partially due to its unclear current status.

As of 2018-03-31 there are no support requests nor resourced.

Work with tech ambassadors and tech translators[edit]

See Community Relations/Community collaboration in product development/Tech ambassadors and translators.