Wikimedia’s strategy, and the future

This is the last week for the formal strategic planning process for the Wikimedia Foundation. There are three newish summary pages worth noting:

I would particularly like to see those interested in Foundation workings who may have missed the last item, as I did — it’s been up for about two weeks now — to review it. This document came out of the Bridgespan work that was done, certainly along with many consultations, and it features many interesting predictions including:

  • Growing the staff to 188 by 2015, with a $51M budget to support them (currently we have 35-40 paid staff, which in itself is nearly double from just a year or two ago; note that this is projected to double to 90 next year )
  • Splitting the office into 5 divisions, including community, global development, and “strategic products” (aka projects?)
  • supporting local offices around the world

What do you think of this plan for the WMF? Is it responsible? What would you change? I personally find this level of growth fairly shocking, and potentially ill-considered, but then I have always been nervous about Foundation growth, and about the WMF taking leadership in historically community-driven areas. I worry about the continued ability of community members to get involved in Foundation work (itself a marker of community health), the health of the office itself under such brutal growth, and the financial sustainability and wisdom of such a plan, given that I think we ought to be building an endowment for the long term.

I’d love to hear what Wikimedians and non-Wikimedians alike think of these ideas, however (many of which are already put into place or in motion, like the new office divisions). And I’m curious: is this new to you? Has this been discussed much of anywhere?*

* aside from internally, of course, and bits of it — though I’m not sure about all of it — on the strategy wiki.

Edited to add: the annual plan for 2010-2011 was just posted.

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