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Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan

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The Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan is the plan for the Wikimedia Foundation's work each year. These are scheduled for the Wikimedia Foundation's fiscal year, which starts on July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following year. The creation of the plan may sometimes be referred to as the Annual Planning Process or APP.

List of annual plans[edit]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)[edit]

  1. What is an annual plan?
    An annual plan is a high level roadmap for what an organisation aims to achieve in the coming year. They typically outline key priorities, resourcing needs, and desired results that are co-created with the Wikimedia Movement, and fit within the broader framework of our multi-year commitments and the Wikimedia Movement's strategic direction.
    At the Wikimedia Foundation, the annual plan is meant to offer directional guidance to managers and teams by shaping the projects they work on throughout the year. It is not meant to be a list of projects of technical features, as these evolve throughout the year. The annual plan contains priorities and high level hypotheses that guide teams to research, design, test, and deploy different strategies. The annual plan’s primary audience is internal departments, teams, and individual staff who use it to guide their work throughout the year, which is reflected in the plan’s tone, language, and structure. It is built through collaboration and made public every year first in draft form and then as a final product to offer transparency and solicit feedback from Wikimedians.
  2. What are the main parts of the annual plan?
    Beginning in fiscal year 2023-2024, the Foundation began publishing dedicated sections for four major goal areas rooted in the strategic direction: Infrastructure, Equity, Safety & Integrity, and Effectiveness. The annual plan typically also includes information about major external trends that may impact our work, as well as our operations, department functions, budget, grantmaking, and revenue patterns.
  3. Why does the Foundation have an annual plan?
    An annual plan helps the Wikimedia Foundation connect the activities that staff do on a daily basis to our mission and broader vision, what the world needs from us, as well as Wikimedia's strategic direction. It is a time when Foundation leaders weigh competing priorities for how their teams should spend time in the coming year, and ensure that we are meeting the complex and evolving needs of readers, contributors, donors, and our platform. It also offers staff at the Foundation the opportunity to sense-check these priorities and improve ways of work with volunteers, affiliates, the Board of Trustees, and with one another across teams and departments.
  4. What is the timeframe for the annual plan?
    The Wikimedia Foundation follows a July-June fiscal calendar. This means that fiscal year (FY) 2024-2025 covers July 2024 through June 2025. Within that year, we typically track our work into four quarters, each three months long.
  5. How does the annual plan get written?
    The process changes somewhat year to year, but over the last few years we have continued to evolve and improve a collaborative planning process.
    The discussions for FY 2024-2025 began with Talking:2024 - conversations between Foundation staff, leaders, board members, and Wikimedians around the world. The feedback from these conversations informed the priorities laid out under the goals of the annual plan. Talking:2024 was followed by an invitation from Chief Product & Technology Officer Selena Deckelmann for input on-wiki into proposed objectives for the Foundation’s product and technology work next year. These objectives build on ongoing conversations through Talking:2024, which highlighted the importance of continuing focus on the needs of our platform and online contributors. The Product & Technology key results were published in late March, and these were followed by the full annual plan materials on 11 April 2024.
    We welcomed ideas over a two-month period on-wiki, in community channels and through live discussions in co-created community spaces in many languages. Wikimedians shared their take on the proposed plans and about their own goals for the upcoming year. Inspired by what so many others are doing in their own work, we continue to find opportunities to collaborate and learn from the planning processes and work of others in the Wikimedia movement as well as other partners. Throughout the period changes were made to the plan - see edit histories and a summary of feedback, engagement statistics and changes to the annual plan will be available over the next few weeks like in previous years. As the annual plan is not meant to be a list of projects or technical features, which evolve throughout the year some of the conversations started during the annual plan will continue to be live conversations.
  6. What shapes what goes into the annual plan?
    There are several factors that shape what goes into the Wikimedia Foundation’s annual plan. We begin with thinking about “what does the world need from us”? This means looking at global trends, such as the rise of misinformation and disinformation, artificial intelligence, changes in search trends, and global regulatory changes.
    The next thing we think about is “what do our audiences need from us?” At a very basic level, our audiences include contributors, readers and others who use our content, and donors. By contributors, we mean anyone who gives their time to grow or improve content on the Wikimedia projects including editors (of all experience levels), content uploaders, and volunteer developers. The second category includes everyone from individual readers to academic researchers to large scale organisations that consume and reuse Wikimedia content. For donors, we mean anyone who gives financial support of any size and through any method. We reflect on what we hear throughout the year from the Wikimedia Movement on global trends that we should pay attention to, infrastructure and software needs, legal and regulatory challenges, and what the world should know about our shared work.
    Finally, an important part of the annual plan is what’s not in the plan. During annual planning, Foundation staff and leaders have to weigh important tradeoffs about the future of our product and programs. Part of this is because we raise our annual operating budget each year; in essence, we can spend what we fundraise in a given year, with a small amount of the total funds raised also going toward our financial reserves (for unforeseen events) and the Wikimedia Endowment (for more stable long term revenue). What we are able to plan for is shaped by budget and revenue projections for the year, as well as our commitment to maintain a strong programmatic expenses ratio.
    To some people, the existence of spending tradeoffs seem impossible given the size of our annual budget, but as planners we have to think very practically about how our budget is used to support technical infrastructure that we can maintain. With this lens, the Wikimedia Foundation is unique: there are no other major technical organisations in the world with comparably sized website traffic, online footprint, multilingual capabilities and data reusage who operate on a nonprofit budget and don’t run ads or sell your data. As a result, the questions we think about are typically not “what needs to be fixed?” but “what is the most important opportunity or problem to focus on this year? Can our teams have a meaningful impact in that area with the resources we have?”
  7. What are “OKRs” and “hypotheses”?
    We began using this planning language more consistently in the FY 2023-2024 annual plan, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
    Good strategic planning means beginning with the impact or change we hope to make - things like making Wikimedia content more discoverable, decreasing page load time in part of the world, increasing newcomer retention, improving moderator workflow, or protecting against a certain type of legal threat. These things are expressed as “objectives”, or a statement that captures the broad impact we hope to achieve.
    The next step is to identify several measurable statements that would help us achieve those broad, ambitious objectives. These are known as “key results” and represent the high level ways that we can measurably show whether we have achieved our objectives. From there, we create hypotheses to represent how teams believe they can contribute toward achieving the KR. Hypotheses are where we execute on the detailed work needed to achieve our goals. Information about hypotheses is found on individual teams’ project pages.
    Lastly, OKRs aren’t meant to capture everything we do. There are a lot of maintenance oriented tasks that Wikimedia Foundation staff spend considerable time on throughout the year, including trademark and brand management, software maintenance and bug fixes, site reliability and security, and public relations and reputation management.
  8. Why does everything sound so vague?
    The annual plan broadly reflects what we hope to change or achieve in a given fiscal year. Once those priorities are in place, Foundation teams spend the year figuring out how to achieve that change, such as a new product feature, data system, engineering workflow, legal strategy, communications campaign, or community program, and then implementing it.
  9. How does the Wikimedia Foundation evaluate and share progress and impact?
    The annual plan includes a section on the metrics that we are using to measure our impact and progress against the plan. We routinely publish this information. See past examples in the Diff-post "Strengthening Connection in the Wikimedia Movement" and an update on progress against the 2023-24 plan in the Diff-post "Progress on the plan: How the Wikimedia Foundation has advanced on its Annual Plan goals".
  10. Is the annual plan the same as the annual report?
    No. The annual plan is a planning document of intended work for the year ahead. The primary audience for this document is staff, as well as volunteers, donors, and readers. The annual report is a retrospective document meant to highlight our impact on the world, and its primary audience is donors and the general public.

See also[edit]