Talk:Towards a five year plan 2013-18

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Draft Five year plan 2013-18 - April 2013

How much depth are we looking for?

"It should have enough detail that an external person looking at the document would understand the rationale behind the targets. The targets should, however, not be too detailed."


Who should we consult and involve?

Our feeling that this should be as wide as possible; members, community, donors, fellow open knowledge organisations and contributors. We will use the blog, Twitter, Facebook, geonotices / talk page notices, email lists, Signpost, and the village pumps of the relevant language Wikimedia projects.

What is the process?

'The process started with a situational analysis asking questions like;

  • What are we good at now? What aren't we good at now?
  • What assets do we have?
  • Where are we within the "ecosystem" of other open-knowledge, cultural, and educational institutions? What do we have a natural advantage in vs what could easily happen without us? '

We then held a day workshop where over thirty people discussed the issues and shared their ideas.

The Timetable

8 February 2013 Agreed overall method
February/March Staff drew up plan for enactment
23 March 2013 In-person workshops for community held in London despite snow.
March/April Survey and March 23rd reports published and shared with stakeholders
April/May Volunteer co-ordinator, staff and trustees attend wikimeets and special meetings to discuss options
April/May First draft shared on UK wiki with call for comments
8 June 2013 Second draft brought to annual conference.
June/July Third draft open for consultation.
July 13.14 Signed-off by Board

Following this process the CE with staff support synthesised the ideas from the consultation so far and draft six of the previous five year plan to create the April draft.

The Revised Timetable

Following a lack of achievable consensus the board has asked the CEO to work on a plan to follow the high level targets. I am working on this, with staff, to produce a draft for the December Board meeting (2013) Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 12:42, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

How often should it be reviewed, by whom and in what ways?

Once completed an annual review should be about right to monitor how we are progressing with a more substantial review at least 18 months before the next five year period starts. The annual plans can have more detailed targets that are monitored against the 5 year plan. We will also seek to create a three year business plan to anticipate day to day growth.

Risks

  • That we never come to a conclusion.
  • That there are too many competing ideas and the document becomes unmanageable
  • That there is no buy-in from a broad range of interests, just a small group dominate the debate.

Comments on the draft five-year plan

Some initial thoughts

  1. The targets seem to be mostly the sort of thing we should be targeting.
  2. It isn't really a plan. It is a collection of targets. A plan would give some idea of some of the actions that will be taken.
  3. The "International communications" bit says "Working to build international links with organisations within the movement and outside." but then the targets just relate to organisations within the movement. No mention of organisations outside the movement. Is that deliberate?
  4. The "membership and communications" bit mentions three different types of in-person meeting - quarterly members meetings, six-monthly fora and wikimeets. I can guess at the distinction between them but some additional clarity would be nice.
  5. A lot of the stuff in the "technical innovation" section actually seems to be about outreach. Maybe it should be in the "outreach" section.

Yaris678 (talk) 17:55, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

thanks for the feedback. One specific point I can comment on is "international links within the movement and outside" as this is an area where GLAM related work will come up. It is difficult to publicly name potential partners before you've started working with them, better in my view for the plan to discuss the sorts of international collaborations that the UK chapter might get involved in. As your GLAM organiser I'm rather hoping the community will say that in the next five years we want more things like Picturing Canada and the collaboration with Indian editors re Tipu's Tiger. But it would be good to hear from people as to what sorts of partnerships you do and don't want us to get involved in. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 18:23, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Governance

This seems to miss out our current short term plans for GovCom and the A&R committee, both simple improvements to governance.

A commitment to external regular audit, peer review and built-in spot checks would be useful in the longer term.

There may be an opportunity here for WMUK take the lead in establishing, sharing and promoting best practice for governance for other organizations within the Wikimedia community and in UK charity, particularly those that are nearby in terms of technology focus or open knowledge focus. Improvement around serious risk reporting, top level public key performance indicators and how whistle-blowing, where appropriate, is made a public process would be another useful set of governance related commitments. -- (talk) 07:28, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

This page is rather confusingly laid out

I find this page very confusing, with both the draft and the comments on the draft all being mixed up on the talk page. If no-one minds I propose to copy the current draft text over to the main page, and to put what is currently there onto a separate 'background material' subpage. We can then have what visitors will expect - the text on the page and the discussion on the talk page. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 09:26, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Done. Comments can continue below :) --MichaelMaggs (talk) 09:34, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Phew. Much better. Yaris678 (talk) 11:46, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Annual reviews

To ensure the vitality of the plan over the 5 year period it would be best to embed within it the requirement for an annual review of progress, and probably also the need for an annual publicly-available report. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:46, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Need for targets to be S.M.A.R.T.

Many of the items listed as 'targets' are not actually targets at all, but but are aspirations and general statements of intent. At the end of the 5 year term, it's important in my view that the board can review how the charity has done, which requires that everything listed as a target should be specific and objectively measurable. Likewise, at each annual review, the board will need to have some objective measures against which to review progress to data against the plan. That's not possible with statements of aspiration and intent.

Good corporate practice, which I think we should follow, suggests that business plans should have goals that are S.M.A.R.T. In other words, every goal should be looked at critically to make sure that it is:

  • S: Specific
  • M: Measurable
  • A: Attainable
  • R: Relevant
  • T: Time-bound

Most of the draft goals seem to comply with A,R and T, but not with S or M. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:41, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Lots of people seem to think that making targets fit the SMART criteria will automatically improve them. This has not been my experience. For example, if we try too hard to make a target measurable we might end up changing it into something that invites gaming.
Specificity is definitely a good thing. But sometimes it needs to be developed as we go along, as in agile software development. Agile is a good analogy because it isn't saying that we want to be vague forever, it is saying that some things can be specified in quite a fluffy way at first and then tightened up when we see how other aspects pan out.
A good example of gaining more specificity in this context is Jonathan asking if people want more things like Picturing Canada and collaboration with Indian editors re Tipu's Tiger. This helps him to get more idea of the sort of international collaborations people value. As he is developing his new projects he will hopefully keep the community informed and respond to comments.
In case my point on specificity isn't clear... getting into the details of Jonathan's projects is probably too specific for a five year plan... but elaborating on the sort of projects we value probably isn't too specific and nor elaborating on how we intend to discuss projects in future.
Yaris678 (talk) 12:11, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

education section

  • I'd be cautious about 'digital divide' as a term - the primary issue in the digital divide is not one of access to technology but one of skills, and use.
  • Why "An annual conference is held for 11+ education professionals." instead of broader education?
  • What are the aims of the education outreach? Improved articles, new editors, new content (articles, commons material, etc.)? I can imagine many outcomes which could have metrics to provide some measure of success
  • Why "up to 50" ? I'd prefer to see some measures than an (arbitrary?) target number
  • Do we want to say something about formal v. informal possibilities? E.g. schools v. coder clubs (or football clubs for that matter)
  • Wikimedians in Residence - are these intended to be paid positions? By us or unis (or split?) Presumably this ties in to the current JISC partnership? 194.83.164.22 12:46, 8 June 2013 (UTC) ( user:sjgknight struggling to login)

Suggestion: hackathons & tech meetups

Just a suggestion: the tech suggestion could recognise tech events as a strategic goal as well as tech development. Jarry1250 (talk) 14:12, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

I agree that hackathons and tech meetings would be good. Weirdly, if you look at the latest version at Towards a five year plan 2013-18/Draft goals (don't ask me why the latest version is there) you will see that while it says "The WMF and the community broadly lead" none of the goals are about supporting the community as it relates to wider tech development. The goals are all about the tech stuff hosted by WMUK (with the possible exception of the one about budget). Yaris678 (talk) 18:00, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Alignment with WMF strategic priorities to 2015

This version of the WMUK's high-level strategy now seems pretty stable, and seems likely to be formally adopted by the board in more or less its present form. However, we all understand that this policy merely sets out high-level strategy aims which are insufficient in themselves to guide the day-to-day activities of the charity and to that end work has been going on to flesh this out with a more detailed underlying plan, including KPIs and metrics.

If there are any final comments on this high-level strategy, please make them now. I am just about to make a few small suggestions myself on the main page with a view to ensuring a more visible and direct alignment between the headings of the charity's strategy and the strategic priorities of the WMF. While we are in fact already very well aligned, making this alignment more transparent may well help us next year when we apply to the WMF for further funding. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 13:14, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Not a plan

I don't know if this is supposed to be a plan in its own right but it certainly isn't right now. If it is a statement of goals it is a fine one, but in no sense is this a plan. Philafrenzy (talk) 12:35, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

That's exactly what I meant by my posting above. This is intentionally a top-level strategy. A detailed 'plan', with metrics, is on its way. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 13:16, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
And we really do need to stop referring to what's on this page as a "plan", when it's merely the strategy. I intend to change the name (move the page) at some point. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:25, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Sorry Michael, but it absolutely is not a strategy either as it does not include any actions to be taken! It is a statement of goals I think, worthy ones but neither a plan nor a strategy. Philafrenzy (talk) 14:33, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Oxford definition of strategy: "a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim" (my italics). Philafrenzy (talk) 14:54, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
We may need to agree to differ. Every single statement sets out what we intend to do. They all start "We will ..." followed by an action-verb. Maybe you are arguing that they are too general to count as an "action", but there we start getting too deeply into linguistics. It really doesn't matter that much, but we should in any event not use "plan" as people expect that to include much more detail. The other thing we have at an even higher level are the charity's "objects". --MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:11, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't care about lingustics, what I am saying is that the whole thing just says what the objectives are with not a word about how we are actually going to achieve them. Adding metrics doesn't help either because it just measures success or failure. To be a plan or strategy you have to say: I am going to achieve Z and in order to do that I am going to do X and Y and I will do them at this frequency and in this place etc. This is really, really, important and just what the FDC are saying as I understand it. What steps, specifically, are we going to take to achieve these things? Philafrenzy (talk) 15:17, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
The specific steps are indeed critical, and they come in the plan, not in the strategy. You will not have to wait long for the detailed plan, now. The board will be discussing it at the board meeting in December, and it will be published well before then. It is informed by the huge amount of previous discussions that have been held on Wiki and elsewhere. This is what Jon refers to in his comment below. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:58, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Absolutely not - I am bringing a draft of a proper five year plan to the December Board meeting. Long, long overdue and the eight or ninth in two years. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 12:37, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Great. Philafrenzy (talk) 14:10, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Michael, I agree with Philafrenzy that this is neither a plan, nor a strategy and dictionary definitions are not particularly useful. Strategies have to be meaningful guides and in the simplest possible terms, you need to know when you have delivered it, or failed to deliver it. For example "We will continue to participate fully in the worldwide Wikimedia movement, and to learn from and share with other groups..." looks nice as a vague aim, but senior management years later could claim to meet this by sending an email to wikimedia-l once a quarter, and talking to Pavel on the phone a couple of times a year. A way of re-expressing this so it would be meaningful, and be a strategy that you can then assess specific plans or outcomes against, would be:

  • "We will take a lead on hosting and participating in international and global Wikimedia events, and each year increase our part in inter-movement joint projects, their promotion, inter-group training and peer review, and provide a accountable benchmark in Chapter effectiveness and efficiency that consistently places us in the top 5."

Then in the detailed plan, I would expect each of the element to have its own breakdown and defined outcomes for the coming year and a high level but committed timetable of milestones for 5 years (committed in that we clearly report when we have or have not delivered on the expected outcomes). For example, "take a lead" could be defined as staying in the international "top 5" of chapters by reasonable independent measures such as numbers of active volunteers, FDC/WMF assessments and numbers of international events we were cooperating on each year.

Without some specificity, this will later disintegrate into dispute. For example right now I would judge that WMUK has failed to deliver on "growing membership" (a top level goal in this document) because I would measure this over a one year time-frame, others would argue that because 5 or 10 members signed up last month and because we could argue we re-set the clock on these numbers by redefining how we counted members that this was an unfair measurement. Further, because this is a "five year plan", some have argued the other way, that we cannot measure anything until the five years is complete—a point which would make the entire process pointlessly unmeasurable. These are the types of clarification that the board of trustee must make completely clear, and agree, if you are to later be able to monitor operational performance of the charity against it and even change the resource plan or assess employee pay using hard agreed top level measurement. Thanks -- (talk) 15:57, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

I agree with all of that, and my expectation is that there will indeed be clear and specific action plans which set out how we actually intend in practice to achieve all of what I have called the "high-level strategies" or what Philafrenzy calls prefer to call "a statement of goals" (what we call this page really does not matter as long as the specific detail is not omitted, which it won't be). There will also be explicit long-term metrics so we agree what we are measuring, and targets to tell us whether we have at the end achieved what we have set out to do. And we will be tracking measures in real time, not just at the end of the 5 year period, and testing those against KPIs as we go along to monitor ongoing operational performance. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 16:23, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes. I hope you appreciate that we were saying very similar things two years ago, so having my fingers burnt several times over that period, it is hard for me to get excited at the proposal this this will all be "over by Christmas". However I look forward to seeing some published firm commitments and well defined and actively tracked actions from the December meeting. -- (talk) 16:29, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Reduce barriers to accessing open content, and help others to do so

I have added a draft section to the high-level strategy which more closely focuses on the WMF strategic priority of "Increasing Reach". By that the Foundation seems to mean two things: (1) improving access to populations in those parts of the world that currently have low levels of engagement; and (2) providing access to otherwise disconnected communities. We can best help the first by supporting the development of chapters in new areas of the word, and the second by helping to break down technical or social barriers to access.

Comments please. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 13:13, 19 November 2013 (UTC)