Submissions/What is a product manager, and why does Wikimedia need them?

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This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2013.

Presentation Media

Submission no. 
Title of the submission
What is a product manager, and why does Wikimedia need them?
Type of submission
Author of the submission
The Wikimedia Foundation Product team, including Director of Product Development Howie Fung, Steven Walling, James Forrester, and others.
Country of origin
Wikimedia Foundation
E-mail address
Introductory slides
The Wikimedia Foundation currently includes a staff of six product managers, and other Wikimedia organizations are hiring for this role too. But what exactly does a "product manager" do, and why does the Wikimedia movement need them to further our mission? Even in technology circles, this role is much misunderstood, and our panel will bring together individuals responsible for product management of key initiatives like VisualEditor, Editor Engagement, and more.
Detailed proposal

The words "product" and "management" are not two that are usually associated with open, consensus-based movements like Wikimedia. In fact, their association with for-profit businesses can sound downright hostile to our values. Together, "product management" probably doesn't tell you much about what this role is for, who does it, and why Wikimedia organizations hire such people. As it turns out, we don't directly create products ourselves, and we don't manage people either. So what exactly do we do every day?

Without product managers, technology like VisualEditor, Wikidata, Page Curation, UploadWizard and more might never have seen the light of day. As the Foundation's team grows and other organizations hire their own PMs, you're going to continue to hear the name come up. This panel aims to de-mystify product management for Wikimedians, and explain how the role can provide essential help to the movement.

Technology and Infrastructure
Length of presentation/talk
25 minutes including Q&A
Language of presentation/talk
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  1. Pginer (talk) 07:10, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
  2. Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 15:40, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
  3. Tychay (talk) 22:55, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
  4. Sharihareswara (WMF) (talk) 02:00, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  5. Graham87 (talk) 13:29, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
  6. --វ័ណថារិទ្ធ (Vantharith) (talk) 03:39, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
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