Melody Kramer

Goodbye 18f

22 Jun 2016

When I left NPR for a term at 18F, I wrote that I thought it was important to “grow and stretch and do things outside of one’s comfort zone.”

In the past 18 months, I’ve grown and stretched beyond my wildest expectations. Last fall, I led the product team that redid 18F’s onboarding experience, which led to several new tools, organization-wide Slack-based classes, and a robust employee handbook. New employees became familiar with their roles and 18F much faster, and their bosses reported being able to staff them on projects much sooner.

With Jessie Young, I helped make Dolores Landingham, a Slack-based drip campaign bot that helps onboard new employees (or users to a site.) Tony Garvan and I hacked together a checklist program that people can use to keep track of tasks that relate to other tasks. Greg Boone and I wrote a really popular GitHub tutorial (and I became fully fluent in git!) More recently, I’ve been leading a team working on a project dashboard to display all of the publically-available products and tools that 18F has released over the past two years (and how you can use them.) You can see the mocks here. I’m really, really proud of the work we’ve put into making 18F’s work more clear, open, transparent, and accessible.

More important than the projects, though, were the people that I’ve met. I’ve learned so much from people who have been in the government for a very long time, and also people who were newer to the federal service. I’ve worked with lots of people who deeply care about public service and creating really great user-driven experiences, and sharing what they learn with others. I highly recommend spending part of your career in the public sector — at the federal, state, or local level. In government, you think about accessibility and security and serving all people in a way that will help you design better experiences no matter what you do in life.

I’m also really happy that 18F is the type of workplace where tweeting about my work (and routinely asking the public for advice) is both appreciated and encouraged. I love working in public and being able to share and learn with the public while doing so.

This is also why I’m also particularly excited about my next job.

I’m joining Wikimedia as their Senior Audience Development Manager. I’ll be working on audience growth and engagement and strategy and communications and product and experiments to help grow different pathways for reading and interacting with Wikipedia’s amazing free knowledge collection.

I’m excited to join a transparent, public, and community-driven organization that values the same things I do: sharing knowledge, working in public, and building strong communities. I can’t wait to work for one of the biggest websites on the Internet, and with an amazingly driven and smart global team. And I’m really excited to continue to work in, with and for the public.

I’ll be wrapping up my 18F work in early July, and starting at Wikimedia August 1 from Carrboro, NC.

Excited to share with you along the way,


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