Proposal: Gitcoin DAO Budgeting Process Redesign

The DAO has been continuing to work on increasing transparency and context-sharing with our Stewards and wider audience, and it’s been encouraging to see some of the recent high-quality engagement this has been driving! Below is a proposal for a redesign of one of our most important/impactful operation procedures - our budgeting process. This proposal has been discussed extensively internally as well as with some of our most engaged Stewards, but is still very much a work in progress and additional feedback is greatly appreciated.

Currently, the DAO uses a quarterly budgeting process as the main way to report to and engage Stewards, plan work for the upcoming Season, and allocate resources for completing this work. Although the existing process has served its function of ensuring workstreams have the resources they need to do their work, it hasn’t been the most effective or transparent way to maximize our accountability to Stewards and ultimately our larger community.

In addition to being time-consuming and emotionally-taxing for workstreams, the traditional budgeting process that Gitcoin has been using can have several other pitfalls that lead to deeper, systemic issues:

  1. Inflexibility + short-term thinking: the process encourages workstreams to fixate on delivering on rigid OKRs for the season in order to prove their value during the next budgeting cycle, reducing our ability to sense and respond to changes and opportunities in our environment, or think more long-term/take in the bigger picture.
  2. Weak links to strategy: as each workstream is looking out primarily for their own interests, OKRs consist of targets centered around the functions that this workstream has resources to deliver in the next three months - even if these targets aren’t necessarily the ones most aligned with long-term strategy.
  3. Gaming behaviour: lowballing and sandbagging due to OKR-setting being tied to workstream performance evaluation
  4. Performance-related issues: workstream and contributor performance is tied to suboptimal metrics - the same metrics that are rigid/not tied to strategy/can be gamed etc.
  5. Opaqueness to Stewards outside the organization: With very little context on workstream projects (and little incentive for workstreams to increase context-sharing), Stewards are often left in the dark on the how/why of work completed at the DAO - leaving them to make resource allocation decisions without a complete picture.

Proposal

Modularize the budgeting process and make it more effective by separating resource allocation from forecasting, objective setting, and performance evaluation.

Details

In our current budgeting model, the three processes of resource allocation, strategy and objective setting, and performance evaluation are inextricably intertwined. This makes it very difficult or impossible to optimize for each, due to conflicting goals for these components. By modularizing the budgeting process, we make it much easier to work with and refine each piece. This proposal includes all three components.

  1. Forecasting + Objective Setting

Currently, the DAO doesn’t do any meaningful forecasting - there is often no clear “why” for objectives being set. Well-thought-out objectives should be aligned with a unified strategy and have a strong “why” that is easy to understand, and in response to market signals.

In this redesigned process, we propose (strategic) forecasting and (tactical) objective-setting to be the first part of a three-part process.

The process:

  • Every 3 months, the DAO presents a rolling forecast of the next two seasons (the upcoming season + one more following). This should include forecasted milestones, threats/challenges, changes in market and/or “competitors”, and any other major considerations for each of our four essential intents. Note that this is not just an internal roadmap, but also looks outward to define the “why” behind the work we’re taking on.
    • PGF (being the home of our flagship Grants Program) and GPC (being the builders of our Protocols) would be the first to share their forecasts internally, followed by other workstreams, informed by PGF and GPC’s forecasts.
    • These forecasts are then merged into a single forum post (not every workstream) to be made on the governance forum - inviting the community and stewards to provide input on any blind spots or perspectives we may have missed. The purpose of this is to serve as the “why” for the work that workstreams will propose in the next step of the process.
  • Once this post has been on the forum for a minimum of 5 days, after another 5-day working period, workstreams present how they will sense and respond to the presented forecast (with integrations from any steward feedback) + how they sensed and responded to the previous season’s signals ****(a short summary of work that was completed in the past season, with no judgment attached).
    • The format of the sense and respond proposals is up to the workstreams - workstreams can continue to use OKRs if they prefer (keeping in mind they will not be evaluated on how close to 100% they get to achieving these OKRs), or just a list of objectives/projects based on the forecast + how the workstreams plans to assign resources (contributors) for accomplishing them.
    • Once proposals have been on Discourse for a minimum of five days (and any changes have been integrated + other requirements for proposals such as minimum Steward input are met), these can go to a Snapshot vote for a “vote of confidence” on the workstream’s direction/planning for the season.
    • Additional discussion may continue to happen as the Snapshot proposals are live, however a “no” vote at this stage signals that Stewards disagree with how the workstream has chosen to respond to the forecast and/or how it is assigning resources.

Only after the above activities are completed + discussed with Stewards do we move on to the next step in the process, resource allocation. This ensures that Stewards understand and are aligned on general direction first, before providing additional input on resource allocation.

  1. Resource Allocation

This process is only done every other season (6 months) - the idea is to approve forecasted expenses (mainly contributor compensation) for 6 months at a time rather than every season.

In a Resource Allocation season, once the proposals from the Forecasting + Objective Setting step are passed, the DAO presents a single proposal that lists total compensation costs (this is ~ 90% of expenses) + any other forecasted costs such as benefits, tooling and a reserve for GTC price fluctuations for the next six months. In total, this should cover at least 95% of the DAO’s projected costs over the next six months.

Workstreams will have discussed how these resources are assigned in the previous step (direction-setting that Stewards will have agreed on), so there should be minimal debate at this step.

We propose sending all of this six months’ funding to the CSDO Multisig and having a simplified payment system through Utopia Labs for the entire DAO (most core contributors are already being paid this way). This could help us be more cost-conscious, as well as simplify treasury management practices.

Note: For a simplified, shared compensation proposal to make sense, the DAO would need to demonstrate to Stewards that our contributors are being compensated fairly and consistently across all workstreams. The comp-auditing/reporting work that is underway will allow us to back our claims on compensation with market data.

For the remaining 5% of costs, such as new hires in the middle of the season (that weren’t forecasted), unexpected infrastructure costs, retreats, etc, we would follow the advice process first internally (at the CSDO and Steward-Council level at a minimum, preferably engaging the wider DAO), and then at the governance forum before requesting a funds proposal on Snapshot.

Tying spending to GTC price:

As one step in tying our spending to GTC price and protecting our treasury, I propose the 6-month resource allocation to be denominated in GTC, using the spot-price at the time of the proposal + a portion in stables to cover token price fluctuations and protect the GTC treasury. For example if the sum of compensation + other expenses is $5M USD for the 6 months, and GTC is at $2/GTC, the budget amount is 2.5M $GTC + 20% or $1M in stables.

This is the maximum in GTC + stables we will pull from the treasury for six months of expenses - if the price of GTC drops further than expected, we would need to pull from our stablecoin reserves instead of spending more GTC for the remainder of the season’s expenses. A Snapshot proposal would be required to send stablecoins from the treasury to the CSDO Multisig, and a “no” vote at this stage would signal that workstreams will need to find ways to further reduce costs and minimize operations to get us through to the next resource allocation.

Good treasury management practices for the CSDO Multisig can help us prevent the need to do this, and allow us to better handle market fluctuations - an ideal scenario would be converting a large portion of the 6-month funding to yield-generating stables, so that there is less uncertainty around being able to cover expenses in the short term.

  1. Performance Evaluation

OKRs have not been an effective performance measurement tool for the DAO, and there is a large amount of documentation to show they don’t work as performance evaluation tools in other organizations either.

In the existing model, workstreams essentially evaluate their own performance on OKRs that are designed to be unambitious to meet and/or prone to being framed in a way that makes them seem like they were met. This is demonstrated by the fact that 95% of S15 OKRs were marked as completed or on-track to be completed in S16 budgets - for most workstreams, the number is 100%.

In the new model, we propose moving accountability to where it should truly live in a DAO:

  • internally with core contributors across the DAO, and
  • externally, with Stewards.

We’ve received very positive feedback on our “Steward Health Cards” model for evaluating the performance of Stewards, and the idea of “Workstream Health Cards” has been floated on a number of occasions for accountability in the other direction. This component of the redesigned budgets presents an opportunity to implement Workstream Health Cards.

We propose agreeing on a set of 4-5 metrics that are closely tied to core values/principles we aspire to as an organization. Measurement of our alignment with these values will encourage us to continually push towards excellence in achieving them (”what gets measured, gets managed”).

For the purposes of this proposal, let’s start with the values of Communication/Transparency, Impact, Financial Responsibility, and Alignment/Collaboration, and Leadership.

For the Workstream Health Card, each workstream is evaluated internally and externally using a 1-5 Likert rating scale questionnaire for each of the five metrics, at a monthly cadence.

A questionnaire that can be used to measure the above metrics:

Communication + Transparency

  1. I understand what this workstream has accomplished this month, as well as what’s on the horizon.
  2. It’s easy for me to find information on projects this workstream is working on, and/or get in touch with someone for updates.

Impact

  1. All of the work this workstream has completed/worked on this past month has been valuable to the DAO.
  2. This past month, this workstream has played an important role in moving the DAO further towards achieving its goals.

Financial Responsibility

  1. I believe that this workstream has used its resources effectively this past month.
  2. I believe the value this workstream has delivered this past month justifies the costs to pay its contributors.

Alignment + Collaboration

  1. I can easily see how this workstream’s work in the past month fits within our Purpose and Essential Intents.
  2. I can see how this workstream’s work this past month fits in with what other workstreams are focusing on.

Leadership

  1. I trust the leadership of this workstream to steer it in the direction that brings the most value to the DAO.
  2. I believe this workstream holds its contributors to high levels of accountability.

Internally, this questionnaire is completed by all core contributors on a monthly basis for other workstreams (for obvious reasons, contributors don’t fill out the questionnaire for their own workstream), during a 1-week evaluation period.

Externally, this questionnaire is completed by all Stewards on a monthly basis, during the same 1-week evaluation period.

The scores = the average rating received (between 1-5) for each of the components, with a separate Contributor and Steward scores. These are updated on the Workstreams tab on https://www.daostewards.xyz/, or other easy-to-find location.

Here is an artistic rendition of what a Workstream Health Card might look like (thankfully we have better designers in the DAO than the author of this proposal):

Front and Back of Workstream Health Card

Advantages of this approach:

  • This provides a more holistic look at how workstreams are performing, as evaluated by peers and Stewards rather than themselves
  • Much less emotionally-taxing/burdensome for workstreams
  • Doing this at a monthly cadence instead of every 3 months gives workstreams more opportunities to detect shortcomings and course-correct
  • Provides a direct and regular touchpoint between Stewards and workstreams, and incentivizes workstreams to improve context-sharing with Stewards
  • Encourages collaboration, creativity, and long-term thinking as performance-measurement is no longer tied to fixed independent goals, but to the overall value added to the DAO

Note: This proposal only focuses on the workstreams’ performance - for contributor performance we will continue to work with our existing peer review system within workstreams, and an adapted version of this for CSDO member performance.

Assumptions

  • Stewards are interested in engaging with strategy and goal-setting, and will find it easier to understand costs once they are aligned on direction
  • The additional opportunities for input from stewards will allow us to make better decisions and increase accountability, rather than becoming a distraction or time-sink
  • Strategy/objective-setting, resource allocation, and performance evaluation are a good way to modularize the existing budgeting process to make it more effective
  • We can stay aligned and build towards our goals without a rigid, but thorough, OKR-setting process every season
  • Evaluating workstreams on more generalized “values” rather than outputs (existing traffic-light system) will lead to better performance and increased accountability

If successful

  • Stewards will find it easier to understand the context surrounding the DAO’s work (through the forecast), and be able to make more informed decisions
  • We’ll see higher energy around governance outside of resource allocation debates
  • While it may not reduce the time required to do budgets, it’ll reduce the emotional burden as planning is more fluid, and performance isn’t tied to delivering on fixed outcomes
  • Workstreams will be able to better adapt and respond to market signals rather than fixating on pre-set OKRs
  • We’ll see an increase in collaboration, alignment, and truly cross-stream projects, as workstreams are evaluated on the value they’ve added to the DAO and not just on their own independent projects
  • It’ll become simpler to track workstreams’ performance and improvement over time
  • Accountability will increase, with more regular (monthly) scorecard evaluations
  • We’ll set more ambitious targets instead of ones we’re afraid of missing
  • For future adjustments, it’ll be easier to incrementally fine-tune just specific modules of this process without affecting the entire system

The world if this budgeting redesign is successful

Risks

  • Forecasting is hard to do due to the dynamic nature of the space, and the DAO isn’t practiced in this. If there isn’t clarity/leadership on how to do this well, we might slip back to old habits and keep relying on internal signals for planning instead of responding to external challenges and opportunities.
  • If the assumption that we don’t need rigid workstream-specific OKRs in order to build things proves to be wrong, this could lead to workstreams struggling to find direction without them.
  • This process is longer and proposals will spend more time on the governance forum from start to finish (2-3 weeks in seasons without Resource Allocation, 4-5 weeks in seasons with a new Resource Allocation proposal) - workstreams/Stewards could lose energy to continue participating in these discussions.
  • If the price of GTC falls much more than 20% since the previous Resource Allocation proposal, we’d have to tap into stables through a Snapshot vote that could fail at the governance level, possibly necessitating layoffs and/or other difficult decisions.
  • As with any large change in organizational process, there are risks associated with how this is implemented and communicated, and the adjustment-time needed for contributors to become comfortable with a new way of working

Open Questions and Call to Action

As DAO Ops continues to evaluate and make tweaks to all our operational procedures, budgeting being one of the most important, we hope we’ll continue to increase their effectiveness as well as value to our Steward community. The above proposal has been discussed at CSDO internally as well as with some of our most engaged Stewards, but still remains very much an open proposal.

We also have a few open questions that would be great to have additional input on:

  1. There has been a request for some Stewards to have fixed DAO/workstream budget caps. If we went down that path, how would these budget caps be decided? Would the cap be a percentage of available treasury? Is it tied to performance?
  2. How do we reconcile transparency with the need for efficiency? This budget process is designed to be more transparent and provide better context for Stewards to engage, but is also longer. There have been several calls for greater transparency from the DAO, and the creation of the Steward Council and this budget redesign are some of the ways we are working to resolve these tensions.
  3. Is there appetite and capacity from the Steward community to engage in more planning/strategy and performance-evaluation discussions?
  4. The DAO is also interested in an alternative (likely post-protocol launch) exploration into shorter budget cycles and thinner workstreams. Is there a way to reconcile this and the composable approach to budgeting described above?

Given this redesign process and our efforts to incorporate the Steward feedback we receive to create a proposal that best enables the DAO to fluorish in an uncertain market, we will likely need to request a “bridge budget” for the DAO to continue operations until a new solution is reached. Your feedback will help us expedite the creation of a new process so we can minimize the period we would need these bridge funds for. We’ll have a much clearer idea of timeline once a final decision has been reached.

The budgeting process is a lot more than how we spend our resources - it’s also how we strategize and plan our work, share context with and stay accountable to Stewards and the wider community, and ensure alignment on shared goals - your input on helping us build a process that enables us do all of this more effectively is very appreciated.

2 Likes

This is an interesting proposal, but it’s a bit complicated. I will think on it before weighing in.

In the meantime, is there any plans to summarize it. If something as complicated as The Merge can be summarized in a graphic like this, then hopefully the budgeting the Gitcoin process can be too!

6 Likes

This was my first reaction as well. I took a bit of time here to try and diagram in Miro

Just a first pass to summarize the process as I understood it from the post. Happy to incorporate feedback, or folks are more than welcome to fork/update as they like.

5 Likes

@safder a ton of thinking in here. well done wrapping your mind around several outages in the DAO.

In general, I encourage proposals to be smaller in scope to in order to

  1. encourage better community engagement - people can grok it.
  2. target feedback on specific sticky points - easier to get to nuance
  3. increase the velocity of proposals - smaller scope is easier to get to vote.
  4. You can include easy “temp check” polls like this:
  • I love this feedback
  • I do not think this feedback is helpful
  • We need more thinking about this feedback

0 voters

I know this proposal works in concert across the three areas, but I would see value in breaking this into two components: 1) budgeting and 2) performance evaluation. I think “forecasting” is confusing strategic planning / goal / road map development and that is a separate process - which also needs work, but separately.

But. I know web3 is enamored with omnibus proposals so I am likely going to be banging my head against this rock for a while :slight_smile:

4 Likes

related to 3. Performance Evaluation section

This is a gap, thanks for calling this out.
Do these proposed questions integrate with the DAO Health Survey set to launch next week? If not, they should. Consistency across mechanism will help with comparisons. Based on the solid input @k3nn.eth gave us on the DAO health survey design, it would be helpful to get talentDAOs take on the questions. I could also thinking of linking into the DAO Health work rnDAO is doing atm. Happy to connect dots.

Monthly seems a bit heavy for the stewards - I would go with a quarterly assessment, but if you really want monthly data, we can do a continuous batch poll, for example. We could do 1/3 of our 200 stewards each month.

regarding 2. Resource Allocation

Part of me likes 6 months, but the overachieving-ambitious part of me (its a small part) wants to move to a jobshop project portfolio design where funding is allocated by project, not by arbitrary timefences. But, might be for later. I like 6.

This should be the case anyway - regardless of the budgetary cycle. I would pull this out of the proposal and build it into the ongoing seasonal deliverables for DAOops. Random side note, I don’t quite get the secrecy around individual DAO compensation. Actually, I do as I have fought this battle in non-profits as well, but in the US, government organizations publish individual salaries as do many non-profits.
Example:
https://data.cincinnati-oh.gov/Efficient-Service-Delivery/City-of-Cincinnati-Employees-w-Salaries/wmj4-ygbf/data
Also - given payments are on chain - there is only an illusion of privacy, individual payments are figure-out-able.
Net: Just publish the data and let stewards chew on it. Way faster. (/end rant)

I agree professional treasury and financial management is a gap at Gitcoin. But I do not think this is the place to attempt to professionalize treasury management or building contingency plans for market drops. It has to be done, but not here.

3 Likes

In summary:

You put a ton of thinking into this and you scratched the surface of a LOT of improvement areas. I suggest focusing in on smaller bits, and knock them out of the park.

Additionally - I think you need to bring this to the Steward Council as a topic and get input from from that council of web3 wizards. It may not be a converging exercise, but if you scope this right, you will get some great input. Next free agenda period is Jan 23 - but we can call a ad-hoc meeting of those with relevant experience to review the topic sooner.

Great post Saf, lots of rich details here, and I would echo the points above about distilling key points (i.e., maybe an executive summary) and producing a helpful graphic to help people who don’t have the time to deep dive on this (shouts out @kevin.olsen).

Going deep on one specific part here, I worry about the rhetoric regarding tying spending to GTC price. I know I’m somewhat a heretic with my belief that token price has nothing to do with performance, but I’m becoming increasingly convinced that token price is a terrible indicator for success, especially when the token is a governance token. This tweet from Messari about Yearn’s ATH TVL and ATL token price is something I think about often.

In the absence of super strong tokenomics (which we are currently moving quickly towards) there is no reason we should assume token price is currently any indication of success, which I view as an implicit assumption behind this idea you purpose.

The most recent pump of $GTC in early November, from my perception, had nothing to do with anything the DAO achieved.

I worry that this idea of “tying spend to token price” in the absence of strong tokenomics is a poor idea. I’d propose we consider alternatives. For example, tying spend to revenue generation, or simply holding off on this until we have strong enough tokenomics to assume any price action is the result of something we are or aren’t doing. There is currently a ton of work underway to address the revenue generation and tokenomics pieces, so I’m optimistic we’ll solidify those pieces in place in the coming months.

I might be completely wrong here, and perhaps tying spending to token price at this moment is a good idea.

However, I’m personally highly convinced that token price is an enormous distraction, and we should focus on achieving a state where the DAO’s spend is not at all concerned with token price fluctuations, meaning that we either have enough stables to support operations, or better yet we have enough revenue to cover our costs via either strong tokenomics or a successful business model (hopefully soon!).

3 Likes

This is amazing, thanks for putting this together Kevin! To fill in the question mark, if there’s a “no” vote to a workstream’s proposal, this signals that Stewards disagree with how the workstream has chosen to respond to the forecast (Stewards don’t think the proposed work would be valuable to the DAO) - this would require redoing the proposal integrating any feedback received.
In contrast, what we currently have is a monolith that includes all three of these components as one inseperable block.

Super appreciate this feedback - the current version that’s been shared has been through several rounds of editing to get it to be as digestible as possible, but I agree it’s stil quite a mouthful. At this point, now that the cat’s out of the bag, would it still be helpful to split this out further into two posts?

It does not - the thinking behind this was that the questions in the monthly review are centered around accountability, whereas the health survey is more around contributor experience. While there is some overlap between these, I think it makes sense to have separate metrics for each. Note that contributors are reviewing other workstreams (not their own), so again the focus is on accountability in both the contributor as well as the steward portion of the reviews.

I tend to agree here - I originally had this set to just the Steward Council (as they have a mandate to keep a closer pulse on DAO activities), but received feedback that it could be wiser to leave this more open. The Steward Council would mainly be the ones expected to complete this monthly, while it remains optional for other stewards. It was also designed to be a very light lift, with Stewards only expected to answer 10 questions on a 1-5 scale.

Yes, there are conversations to move in this direction post-protocol launch (as a heavier restructuring before then might be too large of a disruption). The good thing about this proposal is that in that case, we could easily adjust the resource allocation portion of this process while the other components remain largely the same (or receive minor changes).

Again, couldn’t agree more here - I am definitely of the opinion that every DAO that truly aims to be accountable to its community should have fully transparent compensation practices (and many of the best do), but this is a hotly debated topic and the prevailing opinion is to keep these private. As a Steward, I would advocate for demanding greater salary transparency from the DAO, but as a contributor, this feels out of my control (I have voiced this opinion in the spaces I do have access to internally).

This came out of conversation with some Stewards - the biggest thing Stewards want to see from the DAO in the current market environment is contingency plans in case of another severe market downturn, and incorporating this into our budget feels like the most natural home for this (as this would affect all other aspects).

Yes I think an ad-hoc meeting with interested Stewards would be very helpful - especially since I’m planning to be away the week of January 23. I’ve spoken to a couple of Stewards on the council and incorporated their feedback into this proposal already, but would love to get more feedback.

I 100% agree that token price is very loosely, if at all, tied to performance. I think the reason there is such a strong push to tie our spending to token price however (again, this section was included after a strong push from some highly engaged Stewards) is not because it’s being used as a measure of our performance as a team, but because ultimately what the DAO has to spend is GTC. With ~80% of our treasury consisting of our native GTC token, a sharp drop in token price (for reasons completely unrelated to performance) ultimately means we have significant less funding to work with. This component of the budget process serves as a “break in case of emergency” forcing function for us to pause what we’re doing, and consider adjusting priorities in the case that we suddenly have 50% less funding to work with.

2 Likes

Makes sense to me, thanks for clarifying.

I think this survey may be conflating two different respondents. If we are polling contributors, the proposal makes sense on a monthly cycle. If we are polling contributor-stewards, it makes sense. But it seems a stretch to ask non-contributor-stewards to be able to monthly weigh in on such questions as:

  • I believe the value this workstream has delivered this past month justifies the costs to pay its contributors.
  • All of the work this workstream has completed/worked on this past month has been valuable to the DAO.
  • I understand what this workstream has accomplished this month, as well as what’s on the horizon.

Please consider the Stewards primary touchpoint is a 1 hour meeting 1x a month and quarterly budget proposals. Without some other mechanism to provide greater WS visibility to stewards so they can answer the questions in a meaningful way, I think monthly polling will become an annoyance.
But, if someone really wants to give it a go, lets try it and see the results after 3 months. Or as mentioned before there are 200 stewards - you can do a rolling poll of 1/3 of the stewards each month and see what happens.

Sorry - did not mean to distract from the relevant passage in the proposal - which I forgot what it was and can’t find the original reference because is was like 15 pages ago. For reference, see “I encourage proposals to be smaller in scope to in order to:” somewhere above :slight_smile:

At this point, I am too long on this post and will try to pick up the rest later.

1 Like

I think, at first blush, these changes look like they’re moving in the right direction.

That said, I’m a bit apprehensive about this proposal being framed as a complete redesign, incorporating many different little pieces all into one big proposal to change this super meaty process once & for all. (It’s also overwhelming to try and evaluate it all as a steward.)

What I’ve seen work well in Gitcoin/CSDO governance to date is more iterative, smaller moves to test ways of working and then charge forward with them, or scrap them, depending on how each one goes. What I worry is that this whole thing gets passed as a proposal – and then parts of it ultimately work, but parts of it ultimately don’t, and then it becomes unclear if the process redesign was a success or not.

I am wondering if there might be a way to make this proposal more modular/iterative?

To me, the forecasting/objective setting → resource allocation → performance evaluation metastructure is a no-brainer at the highest level, but I’m not necessarily convinced on some of the specific details within each (mainly because this is all new territory and we just don’t know what’ll work!) so I’m wondering if you guys might start with a bit of a broader proposal on structure and then describe what you’ll test within that structure each cycle, rather than implementing a granularly thought-out process once and for all.

Just food for thought.

5 Likes

Part 2:

This is building in the open looks like - we get all the messy bits of diverge, converge, and diverge again. I am just node = 1 so lets get a pulse check from the community. If we get less than 10 responses - the results would likely not be directional. Which is possible given attention span dips after a few pages (this comment will appear on page ~20)

(see “I encourage proposals to be smaller in scope to in order to” above) :slight_smile:

> READERS - PLEASE WEIGH IN ON THIS ANONYMOUS TEMP CHECK POLL BELOW

  • We should break this into smaller, more focused proposals

  • We should keep as one proposal and just figure it out

  • Undecided

0 voters

Finally - as this gets closer to proposal execution, I would look for some input on the 1) cost of the work, 2) time allocated to get the work done 3) which workstream would take the lead (and cost) on which part and 4) how this intersects with or subverts season plans.

1 Like

As a steward, I support the direction this is moving in and appreciate @safder’s earlier outreach with DAO members + other stewards to gather feedback on the design.

I agree with above comments about distilling this to a simpler proposal, which probably means omitting some some of the process and implementation details for now. I like what @kevin.olsen started with the Miro board and would like to see another iteration.

IMO, the design challenge is to have two feedback loops: one for the DAO’s essential intents and strategic objectives; the other for the DAO’s resource allocation across people and projects. These should be assessed independently even though they will often yield highly correlated health metrics / decisions.

Keeping them parallel also helps prevent the system from reducing a la Goodhart’s law to: monthly scorecards → votes of confidence → resource allocation decisions.

Finally, I would add that the level of coordination should ebb and flow based on the market cycle (or revenue projections): tight times call for tighter coordination.

6 Likes

This is a daunting undertaking. I know. I’ve been researching aligning strategy with operational execution for years. Coordinating efforts across a network of contributors is challenging without a central place to view the big-picture plan.

If you are looking for feedback, I’ll offer mine. This is another approach you can look at after implementing this current effort. Here is a quick video (<5min) that shows this approach.

The image below shows Gitcoin’s 2022 plan using modular and composable plan building blocks.

  • An important point, this “big picture” plan doesn’t exist anywhere (you know this). I had to visit a ton of online locations to assemble it. It is easily captured using plan building blocks.

  • If Gitcoin used this, contributors and the public could see the entire season’s initiatives in one place, easily understand what’s going on because of its simple visual form, and know where to jump in and add value by searching for open opportunities.

2 Likes

I disagree. The token price pump started only a day after Messari published this report about Gitcoin

https://messari.io/report/governor-note-decentralizing-gitcoin

In that report, Messari said:

This proposed solution signals the Gitcoin leadership’s confidence in the modules they have built

Some component of the token price will always be tied to the macro economy, macro crypto markets. And some will be tied to Gitcoin’s own performance.

Gitcoin should not turn nihilistic and assume that they have no agency over the direction of GTC.

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Thank you for acknowledging this point!

This is a great idea.

It’s so hard to follow the budgeting processes because workstreams are so bloated and they don’t map to the DAOs goals. This makes it hard to see where the $1 million per month is going, and which outcomes they achieves. Since oversight is so complicated, this means there is not a lot of accountability to outcomes.

@a33titude brings up an important point.

Gitcoin has modular protocols. But it’s budgeting is not really modular at all! If funding was more modular and it were tied to outcomes, that’d make it much easier to track what is worth funding and what is not.

TLDR I think a sign of a more mature GitcoinDAO would be if there was competition for modular teams creating outcomes.

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Haha great to hear the budget process I put in place was horrendous.

I think some elements of the redesign are good - glad to see the workstream cards making progress as intended in my original work towards it with @Fred. That said, I echo A LOT of the sentiment from other stewards and the community that this proposal “incorporating many different little pieces all into one big proposal to change this super meaty process once & for all” (@annika) is too intense.

As demonstrated in the process up until now, incremental changes and improvements tend to work better. A tree does not shoot up all at once. I advise breaking this down into phases that are not only easier to observe and measure but also easier to digest for everyone and rather than correcting a whole organism if it fails, you address the small part that can be improved.

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Hey @safder as I was thinking about this - the power of web3 is open source and forking. Not reinventing the wheel everytime we need a new process, but rather scouring DAOland and looking for those who have solved whatever problem it is that we face.

I know this takes a ton of time, and none of us are gifted with enough, and so I recognize that. Have you been able to look to existing approaches to see if there might be solutions that we could fork?

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I huge thank you for the thought that everyone put into this.

The good news & the bad news is that nobody gets forecasting → budgeting → accountability quite right afaik.

The better an organization is at forecasting - the more deterministic their results are - the closer they are to becoming a slow or no-growth organization. Variance is the enemy of forecasting. And yet rapid growth takes an organization that will “sense and respond” quickly.

That said - driving blind without forecasts is sort of ill-advised for any size org.

My other priors include:

  • I am a steward council member, a part-time contributor to the FDD, and I have helped to found the OpenData Community which FDD Gitcoin founded & continues to support along w/ other orgs

TL;DR -

  • I support 2/3 of the main modules: Do add some sort of 1. Forecasting & 2. shift to 6-month budgeting w/ a loose tie to GTC value - I do not currently support 3. Performance Evaluation shifting to rely upon voting as a means of quantifying feedback for workstreams

Why?

  • a bunch of reasons - regarding OKRs, while they are imperfect and I definitely fear we are gaming them which is human nature (more on that below) → I know they are used actively to attempt to nurture self-accountability & team-work & focus by FDD at least.
  • how could we make the OKRs better?
    • I think the Forecast process or some version of it will help here by providing an external context that is more objective even when setting the OKRs so we don’t see them set too low for eg
    • someone above - I’ll link to it in a minute - made an excellent contribution of suggesting that each workstream have a view into their competitive set & taking an approach of evaluating other approaches to achieve their goals than simply hiring more, working harder, etc; perhaps this could be facilitated by including this competitive / substitute good perspective into the Forecast. For example each workstream would be responsible as a part of forecasting for maintaining a Porter’s Five Forces or similar view of their competitive set and an explanation of how their approach to achieving the essential intents is superior to alternatives and whether they are going to take a portfolio approach (which is what I believe FDD is doing fwiw by supporting ODC - more than one org structure and “business model” addressing similar goals of fighting Sybils)

One more point on external view - while it isn’t in our essential intents - I do wonder if having as a goal or aspect of our mission helping to grow web3 itself could be useful. A few folks discussed this briefly on the broad stewards call recently. How this intersects budgeting is that it could be that we need to reinject some broader vision into our thinking as we appear to approach the goal of turning into a protocol our software and hence wonder whether we are not soon to become a hyperstructure, running on forever with or without all of us :mantelpiece_clock:

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Jumping in and adding my two cents here. I’m a fairly new steward but can see how this proposal is aiming to make the existing budgeting process more efficient. I enjoyed reading it @safder, it was very detailed and thought-through.

I think the overall goal of providing a six month cadence for funding makes sense so as to give workstreams a bit more runway in their planning. I also like the idea of using Workstream Health Cards to inform forecasting, which then informs resource allocation. Smaller-scope more frequent check-ins that lead into less frequent, larger scope decision making seem like a smart/standard way of operating.

I think a monthly check in might be a bit much for stewards however which is why I love @shawn16400’s idea of maybe checking in with 1/3 of stewards every month on a rotating basis.

Overall, I think this proposal is moving in a really great direction but would second the idea of breaking it up further and making it more modular, per @annika and @Pop’s comments.

Really exciting to see the thinking around this process evolving in real time!

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