Team Practices Group/Tracking core and strategic work

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Overview[edit]

WMF management asked the Team Practices Group (TPG) to work with audience-facing product teams to start tracking "core" and "strategic" work. As part of annual planning efforts, aligning all of our work to core and strategic labels will help us communicate our work externally, and to improve our internal budget and strategic planning processes. This work has since been integrated with the annual planning, which affects all teams throughout the foundation.

Some teams have been piloting the tracking of other related categories, such as "maintenance" and "interrupt", using Phabricator tools and practices. You can see that work here. TPG will incorporate earlier questions and concerns into this conversation, as well as continuing to work with teams to make categorization as easy and consistent as possible.

Please use the Talk/Discussion page here to help refine these definitions and practices. To help with annual planning, executives have asked that these these definitions be finalized by the end of January 2016. TPG has a quarterly goal that teams are able to track their work in these categories by the end of March 2016.

Why are we distinguishing between core and strategic work?[edit]

As a mature organization we need to understand our costs to maintain and grow our impact. Our goals should be to continually optimize core/maintenance costs and to allocate as much funding as possible to the work that improves impact of our mission. We hope this will bring more clarity to our budgeting process and give us the ability to efficiently plan and effectively allocate our revenue resources to programmatic work as well as to mitigate unforeseen risks.

Definitions[edit]

Core[edit]

Activities required to maintain current level of support and services for our projects. Core work should be evaluated annually or quarterly against relative impact to our reader and editor communities and optimized to best leverage donor funds.

Examples[edit]

  • Operations - Data center support tasks to maintain uptime
  • Legal - Trademark protection
  • Product - Tasks to maintain latest version of Elasticsearch
  • Fundraising - PCI Compliance tasks
  • CE: On-site safety work.

Strategic[edit]

Activities that are experimental and the impact is not yet fully predictable. Strategic work is designed to facilitate forward-looking impact on our projects and movement. Strategic work should be evaluated and re-prioritized annually or quarterly for actual impact.

Examples[edit]

  • Operations - Expanding new data center locations
  • Legal - Exploring licensing and complications with new partnerships
  • Product - Mobile editing feature development
  • Fundraising - Expanding tests to additional platforms or regions
  • CE: Work on gender-based harassment.

Other[edit]

Work that is neither core nor strategic.

How do we think of impact and priorities?[edit]

Our goal is to make a strong positive impact on our vision and mission. This means reaching more people globally, engaging more contributors, and offering more knowledge to people. We also need to ensure we maintain sufficient funding to support our work. Therefore our primary KPIs are number of people reached, contributors engaged, total knowledge added and accessed, and spending within the approved budget. Examples of potential global metrics may be useful to consider impact.

Examples of hard-to-categorize work[edit]

  • "Existing work". The fact that it's already in progress doesn't make it Core; it could still be Strategic. (Wes)

References[edit]

Related Meetings[edit]