Wikimedia Foundation Medium-term plan 2019/Process
The Wikimedia Foundation recently created a medium-term plan that will support the Wikimedia 2030 Strategic Direction. By creating this plan, we are setting up the Foundation to be more nimble so we can adapt to recommendations coming out of movement strategy. In the past, we have planned one year at a time, limiting our ability to achieve long-term goals. Our hope in creating this plan is that we will be able to focus on a narrow, yet ambitious set of long-term goals.
Our process for medium-term planning
For the next three to five years, the Wikimedia Foundation will focus on the following two goals that will support our strategic direction to become the infrastructure of free knowledge:
- Grow participation globally, focusing on emerging markets. Grow the use of Wikipedia and Wikimedia across the globe. Focus on increasing Wikipedia use in low-awareness or low-use geographies and languages, in order to bring Wikipedia’s use in line with rates of overall internet usage.
- Modernize our product experience. Make contributor and reader experiences useful and joyful. Move from viewing Wikipedia as solely a website, to viewing the Wikimedia ecosystem as a collection of knowledge, information, and insights with infinite possible product experiences and applications.
To create our medium-term plan, we conducted an iterative process that was both top-down and bottom-up. First, the executive team honed in on the two top goals described above that need to be accomplished to move us closer to the 2030 strategic direction. Next, the executive team identified 5 areas to prioritize: Brand Awareness, Worldwide Readership, Thriving Movement, Global Advocacy, and Platform Evolution. A working group consisting of one representative from each department was formed to facilitate the remainder of the process. Each executive team member also created background readings for each of the 5 priorities and the two goals. The working group facilitated 5 focus group sessions with over 90 staff from across the organization. Staff participants in the focus groups represented all departments, all levels of staff, plus a range of demographic profiles by time zone, gender, and race. The focus groups used a collaborative process called visual strategy mapping to gather ideas and clarify causal connections between our tasks and our outcomes. At these sessions, we generated hundreds of ideas, and narrowed them down to a set of 19 outcomes that will help us accomplish our two goals. We brought those ideas back to the executive team, who developed metrics for each outcome and wrote everything into a narrative plan.
The medium-term plan is written at the strategic level and describes what we want to accomplish, without going into great detail about how we are going to accomplish it. This level of focus will allow us to be clear about what the Foundation will achieve in the next several years, while giving ourselves the flexibility to adapt to recommendations from the Movement Strategy process, take advantage of emergent opportunities, and experiment with tactics and strategies.
We will request feedback from you and from all parts of the community from April 5-20th. We are looking for feedback on whether the outcomes we hope to achieve over the next 3 to 5 years are appropriate given the goals of the overall Wikimedia Movement and our strategic direction. We want to know: are these the right “big things” to accomplish in the next 3-5 years? We would also like feedback on whether our overall metrics are appropriate and aspirational enough given our ambitious vision. Are we setting the right targets for how we will measure our progress?
Please provide feedback on the talk page for the Medium-term Plan.
After we receive all comments and feedback, we will make a final round of updates to the our Medium-term plan before publishing it again back on meta at the end of May. In subsequent years, we intend to update the plan on an annual basis to adapt to new information, changes in our environment, and the things we learn along the way.
We hope that you all will provide your insight and thoughts to help the Foundation build this plan and continue to make progress toward our strategic direction!
Medium-term planning and the Movement Strategy
How does this plan feed into the 2030 Strategic Direction?
To support the expanded effort and fulfill the vision laid out by Wikimedia 2030, the Wikimedia Foundation and staff are preparing for significant institutional and programmatic shifts over the coming decade. The first step in this transformational effort is the creation of a “Medium Term Plan” to outline a medium-term perspective on major institutional and technical goals under the remit of the Wikimedia Foundation.
This plan represents how the Foundation will work with the global movement to provide access to free knowledge. Through this process, we are integrating the 2030 Strategic Direction into our programmatic goals to better align our work to the larger movement. The Medium-term planning efforts fits into the programmatic layer of our Movement Strategy, developed in order to support the broader goals of what Movement Strategy is. The Foundation is also working on identifying some of the structural changes that might be necessary to support our programmatic work, and will do so in dialogue with the Movement Strategy process.
We believe that successfully achieving our two Medium-term goals is an essential precondition to realizing the longer-term Wikimedia 2030 strategic direction, as well as advancing the overall Wikimedia movement vision and values.
The Foundation's goal in creating the medium-term plan is to describe the outcomes we must achieve to support and facilitate the movement's progress toward the 2030 Strategic Direction. We intentionally designed a process that will enable the Foundation’s medium-term plan and Movement Strategy to work together. Four principles guided this process:
- We believe our work should be guided by a multi-year plan, even if we expect revisions or improvements as each year passes. A robust planning process should include regular opportunities for reflection and review after the plan is published, including the important advice and recommendations that will come from the expert contributors in the Movement Strategy working groups.
- We believe a strong plan includes a diversity of perspectives. To create the medium-term plan, we conducted a collaborative process to gather ideas and input from staff across the Foundation. We will also request comments and input from Wikimedia communities.
- We believe that both structural and programmatic outcomes are important to achieve the 2030 Strategic Direction. The Foundation’s medium-term plan will name the programmatic outcomes we plan to invest in over the next five years, while also leaving room to adjust to Movement Strategy structural recommendations and other shifts in our global society.
- We believe a strong plan names the common goals of a group, while allowing for flexibility in strategies and work plans. Rather than committing to multiple years of specific tasks, the medium-term plan commits to the two Foundation goals in order to achieve our Strategic Direction by 2030. In other words, the north star remains in the same location, yet there are multiple paths to reach it. Since the Movement Strategy process is ongoing, our plans are not set in stone and will be revised once the recommendations are released.
- March 28 - We will share the draft plan with the Foundation’s Board of Trustees
- April 5 - Plan published on Meta Wiki and announced
- April 5-20 - Community review and comment period
- April 21-May 10 - Revise plan as needed based on community comments
- May 31 - Publish revised plan on Meta
What will the plan look like?
- It will be concise (eg. 15 pages or fewer)
- It will describe what our primary goals and priorities will look like for the next 3 to 5 years.
- It will define what success will look like for each of our goals and how we will measure that success.
- It will NOT describe every major project or milestone we will need to complete. Those will be defined later in the annual planning process in April