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Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2019/Programme/Submissions/Chapter strategy process: the case of WMPL

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Title of the submission

Chapter strategy process: the case of WMPL

Type of submission (lecture, panel, workshop, lightning talk, roundtable, poster)
  • Lecture
Author(s) of the submission

Łukasz Garczewski, Michał Buczyński


TOR, Aegis Maelstrom


Wikimedia Polska

  • Chapter growth
Abstract (up to 100 words)

Wikimedia Poland is changing! We’ve gone through a through organizational audit, followed by a participatory strategy creation process. The effect of all this work is a comprehensive 3-year plan for transforming our organization into a more effective tool for the creation and spread of free knowledge in Poland.

In his talk, Michal Buczynski, the Chair of Wikimedia Poland, will summarize our learnings and offer suggestions on how other chapters could embark on a similar journey.

How will this session be beneficial for the communities in the region of Central and Eastern Europe?

This session will show how professionalizing chapters ought to go about finding a suitable partner to team up in the audit / strategy procedures and will document lessons learned for other affiliates.

Special requirements

Slides or further information

Interested attendees[edit]

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  • Our path towards 3-year strategy:
    • Michal Buczynski, president of Wikimedia Poland
    • WMPL is going through a transformation so he wants to show us why they needed this change and how we arrived at the plan and what we can gain.
    • One of the oldest chapters, founded 2005 has a stable income of 115 000 € from the 1 %
    • 5 employees, no management other than the board.
    • Disclaimer: you might have a different situation but a general path.
    • It was a grassroots movement, spontaneous, distributed movement of Wikipdians and Wikimedians.
    • They needed an institutional arm in 2005.
    • We needed an institution with a stamp to reach out to have access to institutions, to talk with governments, talking in an official manner.
    • We proved to be very successful with an organization. Everyone was happy. Innovative.
    • Everything was filled with enthusiasm but there was one question: could it scale and could we not burn out.
  • Stuck juggling urgent tasks
    • Accounting, legal requests, requests from all over the place. You have a small space to actually react, everything is urgent.
    • It can be paralyzing for less experienced people and for those not ready to handle the stress. People can be unprepared for the burden.
    • Maybe you should do some kind of thinking. They came to a decision: create a real strategy that is operative, discussed with community and stakeholders. An actual strategy, not to keep in a drawer.
  • Demand the change!
  • Step 0: analysis and preparation, you should demand a change. Change will not happen unless you don't have a real need.
      • Recognize the problem: limits of scale and what can be asked from volunteers.
      • Unless you believe you need it you will not deliver it.
      • You need to have a hope and belief for the future. Need to do your planning.
      • Search for the tools, draft a multistep plan of a change and secure resources:
      • You need to go to the AGM, the WMF that this is a good investment of time and money. Sometimes it is difficult to persuade people.
  • Step 1. get an auditor/consultant
      • We are the source of the problem, our wiki ways is the problem. The environment is the problem.
      • It is unlikely we can get out of problems by ourselves. We need help. So WMPL hired a business consultant.
  • Step 2 analysis
      • everyone was interviewed, staff board members, volunteers, over 30 interviews.
      • The auditor actually went to one of the events to see how things are done.
      • Some recommendations were not new: hire a manager
      • Some were good for detail: better information on resources we are using, better analytics, accounting plan.
      • Some were known but low priority: legal reviews, better office, better development budget, more meetings
      • We kinda new these things but now shown in a different angle. There is an extra value for us: in one place, structured and clearly described.
  • Step 4
      • SWOT analysis: staff+volunteers and board by itself to get a picture of what was happening.
      • The board had space to discuss high-level goals. Through that we could create space for people to share deeper thoughts that were not present for the regular meetings.
  • The result: Five key perspectives: coherent plan for the next 3 years
  1. Community (aka End Result)
  2. Financial
  3. External processes
  4. Internal processes
  5. Research and Development
  • Each perspective:
  1. a set of clear objectives
  2. projects
  3. clear ownership of each objective and project
  4. metrics and expected results for each objective
  • Maybe you can achieve more when you stop expecting much more from yourself.
  • We did NOT define 3 years in advance. No budget for 2022 for example.
    • Have good goals for 2020 and it is pretty detailed.
    • Some goals for 2021 with some project ideas to develop later.
    • 2022 plan has clear goals and a very rough sketch of how to get there.
    • As we work, we will update our Balanced Scorecard with a more detailed plan and adjust goals as needed.
  • He knows what he should start in 6 months. We believe our stakeholders expect us to deliver these.
  • This perspective helps you think about your organization: what needs to happen. It is great to say no too. We often say yes to great ideas. We are often nice, friendly people. We need to learn to prioritize and to say no even. These things will not happen in this scheme of things. or to say that we need this and this to achieve the goal.
  • step 6: make it happen.
    • Now to actually make it happen. New people to hire, have meetings, change board descriptions, change stakeholder responsibilities. We are doing this because we see a future. The tasks are better described.
  • Why do this?
    • It may bring you structure, to assign objectives and tasks to specific people. And it gives you a way to track your progress.
  • Q: During which step did you interview outside partners
    • A: We did a brief interview during the analytical step but we ran out of resources because there was 150h for the consultant. We did some talk with partners and also in the latter stages as well.
  • Q: How easy it was to find a consultant for a civic organization
    • A: Our budget was not in this scope. we had interest but could not provide the budget. A board member had resources/contacts to a SME consultant 100-200 people. Sometimes academics could also help. There are specialized NGOs working with NGOs. There might be even cost-free support but it is competitive.
  • Q: Are you going to redraw the plan yearly?
    • A: Yes. It is updated yearly. Once a year a major review. it is a growing process.