Org Design Workstream

Introducing the Org Design Workstream

In an effort to move towards The Path of Increasing Decentralization within Radicle and further reduce the role of the Radicle Foundation, this workstream is responsible for designing and launching an organizational framework that supports the decentralization of Radicle development and strategy. As part of the decentralization journey, the workstream will work on:

  1. Developing an Organizational Framework that supports the creation, onboarding, development, and collaborative work of Radicle.
  2. Researching & building organization infrastructure (processes, tools, programs, teams) for transferring responsibilities currently handled by the Foundation.
  3. Supporting in the operational transition of core work and strategy currently funded by the Radicle Foundation to the DAO.

Workstream Contributors

The Core Contributors are @louiegrey, @ange, and @abbey.

What is Org Design

Organizational structure will provide the basic framework for people to build and move towards the goals of the Radicle organization. This workstream focuses on building the meta infrastructure that allows Radicle individuals to best work together in a dynamic environment.

As a start, we’ve identified key components that Radicle’s organization design will need to include:

  • North Star Definition: What is the long-term vision for Radicle and how does this reflect what is critical to its community? How is Radicle maturing and how do teams collaboratively define strategies and objectives that align with its evolution?
  • Cross-Team Collaboration: How can the teams behind core Radicle work best collaborate and cross-pollinate? In particular, how does information and knowledge flow to various parties and what is the most effective way to inform and drive the work of the right stakeholders?
  • Contributor Onboarding and Maintenance Flow: How do new contributors onboard to the organization? How do we grow and nurture current key contributors? How can we distribute more influence to Radicle contributors to govern treasury distributions to fund work and strategy? What mechanisms are needed to rebalance influence and power in the network?
  • Governance: How do we make collective decisions? Which framework and tools help us signal collective decisions?

Core contributors and other members of the community will be actively engaged to be a part of the development of these components.

Where We Begin

In order to define the strategy for “how” to get where Radicle is going, it must be clear “where” Radicle is headed; for this, we return to the thoughts in the Strategy and Objective post from 2021. Part of the decentralization journey is distributing ownership to Core Teams and the community at large. During this process, it is intended that Radicle Core Teams will cooperate to redefine Radicle’s “North Star” (i.e. its long-term vision) as well as set the shorter-term objectives and regularly coordinate realignment.

Below is a starting point: proposed directions and goals guiding Radicle’s work based on last year’s Strategy and Objectives. The intention is for these statements to be iterated on with a subset of core contributors, and then inform, in part, the organizational design for Radicle development via the DAO.

Proposed long term directions guiding Radicle’s work:

Be secure and uncensorable code collaboration infrastructure for online communities who value security, sovereignty, and sustainability.

Create building blocks for secure and uncensorable code collaboration, collective code governance, and open-source sustainability.

Become a self-governing network, setting an example for how collaboration can thrive beyond code.

Proposed short term goals:

Reach Product Market Fit in a distributed way. How might we better define what product market fit means for Radicle?

Facilitate the growth of the Radicle contributor base. How might we support the growth (i.e. career development) of current contributors as well as grow the number of new Radicle core contributors? How might we improve recruiting & onboarding flows?

Current Constraints and Considerations

As Radicle faces its next phase of evolution, these goals are challenged by the limitations of Radicle’s current organizational design. At the moment, most of the strategic responsibilities and financial support of Radicle development are coordinated by the Radicle Foundation. Today, the Foundation Council oversees the approval of Core Team budgets & objectives and coordination of priorities. The transition to a DAO is the opportunity for the community to restructure and redesign, addressing the following constraints of the current operating model:

  • Decentralization Constraints
    The Radicle network has been decentralized from the beginning, but RAD token holders can’t directly participate in Radicle development plans and objectives. Radicle Core Teams are closest to the objectives and the technology driving their work, and might be the most suited to making day-to-day decisions and long term strategy calls around technology and ecosystem - but their accountability (from a legal and financial perspective) is with the Foundation. By creating more places to engage RAD holders, the Radicle community can create better incentives for active participation and even more incentives for all kinds of individuals and entities to own, delegate, vote with, and use RAD. In this way, Radicle will truly be community-operated.

  • Contributor Constraints

    Currently, Core Teams don’t have collective responsibility or incentive to collaborate and coordinate directly with each other - this happens via the Foundation, specifically the Foundation Council, which is in charge of the Foundation’s expenditures. The DAO organization design, by removing the Foundation as a go-between, will prioritize the creation of structure that will clearly enable this direct coordination and enable assignment of coordination responsibilities to individual contributors. This way, a DAO-centric model can offer more flexibility, for example, personalized payment mechanisms (see Radicle Drips and Workstreams for some Radicle takes on this issue) and can even be mixed with payments directly and transparently tied to specific work (in the case of Radicle Grants and, again, Drips).

    For “non-core” contributors - for whom it might not be clear how to onboard to Radicle without following Core Team communication closely, to understand what work needs more effort and what opportunities are available- the DAO organization design can enable standardization and transparency across the project. It will also allow for a more defined “membership” model, making it easier to attract & onboard contributors without gatekeeping from a single centralized entity.

  • Foundation Constraints
    The Radicle Foundation has been a useful neutral third party to manage contracts with contributors and act as an owner of the Radicle project’s trademarks. However, its required processes and functions are operationally (and sometimes bureaucratically) burdensome and, as a result, restrict the intentions for flexibility and public-by-default that are at the core of the project. Therefore, in order to create space for the DAO to fully enable Radicle’s decentralization efforts, the Foundation must reduce its scope of responsibilities. At the end of the day, the Foundation is not responsible for the ongoing operation, running, or functioning of the Radicle Network; therefore, it’s critical to support the autonomy of the Network, as a truly decentralized open-source project, in order to achieve long-term resiliency.

In collaboration with other workstreams, additional considerations include:

  • Long Term Protocol Success & Growth
    • What are the defining qualities of success for Radicle and does the organizational structure balance flexibility and cohesion to support Radicle’s growth objectives?
    • What coordination is required to do so? How is that coordination done today, and how will we make sure it’s done in the future?
  • Infrastructure Cost Modeling
    • What are the rough estimates of what will be required of infrastructure to meet anticipated growth and how will the treasury fund and ensure such infrastructure maintenance?
  • Knowledge Sharing & Collaboration
    • Does the organizational framework facilitate coordination and encourage the sharing of knowledge between old and new contributors and teams?
    • How do we maintain open & collaborative knowledge hubs?

Next Steps

Research & Interviews, May & June 2022

This post is an initial uncovering of the work that lies ahead. The next steps are part of a research phase in which the following work will be done:

  • Interview identified Radicle stakeholders to better understand needs
  • Release a public document on the current state of Radicle Core Teams and the process of Core Team formations
  • Facilitate workshop to define a Radicle vision [and short/mid-term cross-team objectives] with a subset of the Core Team
  • Research existing frameworks for organization design and DAO tooling

Call to Action

If you are interested in working on a particular component of this Organization Design work, please reach out directly or comment below.

4 Likes

Thanks for writing this up!

Call to Action

I’d like to assist with the following:

  • Release a public document on the current state of Radicle Core Teams and the process of Core Team formations

The reason I say assist as this document should probably be spearheaded by someone from the Core Team, both as a symbol, but also in a very real way, to embody the transition from working for the centralized Radicle Foundation to the decentralized Radicle Org.

With that said, as the Grants lead, I think it’d make a lot of sense for me to be at the center of the conversations here. It will help me to understand the composition and workings of the Core Team. I see this as invaluable to inform how we better Acquire (see notes below) new contributors and help Retain existing contributors, if the Grants should play a role in this.

Other thoughts

Become a self-governing network, setting an example for how collaboration can thrive beyond code.

Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but the beyond code wanted me to emphasize that Radicle’s products should remain a core part of empowering non-technical people to participate in the governance and work of DAOs.

Work may not be code, but the work will benefit by being codified.

A piece of work may be non-technical (i.e. not be related to code), but I see a lot of room for Radicle to play a part, especially the Workstreams product and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Upstream.

The reason I wanted to emphasize this is that in my almost decade of working, some of the biggest problems are caused by a few common issues:

  • It’s unclear who is working on some piece of work
  • Details live across different tools that aren’t integrated
  • Work is not version controlled and grows stale/unreliable over time

All of these problems would be solved - even for work that doesn’t involve code - with the adoption of Radicle.

In summary, if Radicle isn’t serving some group of users in managing an Org/DAO, we should ask:

  • Is this a product that Radicle itself should build?
  • If not, what existing protocol can help and how can we get it integrated with Radicle?
  • And if nothing exists, should we fund it into existence?

How might we support the growth (i.e. career development) of current contributors as well as grow the number of new Radicle core contributors? How might we improve recruiting & onboarding flows?

As a thought experiment, we can approach this similarly to a lifecycle, which might include:

  • Acquisition: how best to get new contributors onboarded successfully (ramp up, mentorship, etc.)
  • Retention: how best to keep existing contributors happy (autonomy, pay, work/life balance, etc.)
  • Offboarding: how best to cut ties with someone, for whatever reason (transferring ongoing work, pay)

Out of these 3 components, Retention is the one we can make concrete learnings on right this moment.

I’d recommend that we take a survey and/or do 1:1 meetings to understand what our current Core members want at an individual level.

We can use any aggregate learnings to help us inform Acquisition + Offboarding.

I think we’ll have more concrete learnings on Acquisition + Offboarding once we actually go through the motions here, such as with the 2 sub-DAOs we have (Grants, Growth) as well as any other that pop up in the future.

2 Likes

Really great summary folks! Asking a lot of good questions here.

Governance :classical_building: ❤‍🔥

My primary focus will be on governance and how we can improve the existing process. In regards to DAO tooling, the options seem to be endless and have been working with @abbey to host demos and sift through what would be the best fit for Radicle going forward. Lots of thoughts and questions to be answered before deciding how to proceed with governance. Keep an eye out for the ‘Re-evaluation of RadicleDAO stack’ temp check which should be out later this week!

I feel that we have made major strides in the past few months on trying to redistribute voting power amongst RAD holders/contributors, however, tokenize governance will always have power distribution issues. Exploring new ways to redistribute voting power and provide opportunities for token holders to use or share their voting power will be crucial going forward. More on this in the ‘Re-evaluation of RadicleDAO stack’ temp check.

Contributor Incentives :handshake:

Contributor incentives and coordination is also something I am also really interested in exploring going forward. Will there be different tiers of core team members (basic core team/lead core team) that have different levels of power? Will all core team have the same power and expectations regardless of leadership? Should core team members be able to pass on their voting power to trusted active community members or should they be expected to 100% commit to all expectations? Should incentives for coordination/participation be purely financial or something else? What other incentive structures exist/would be viable for Radicle core team coordination? It would also be great to somehow tie coordination incentives directly to governance participation incentives for the core team.

Core Teams Info :dizzy:

Wanted to drop the existing “light” version of a Radicle Core Teams summary here. The Core Teams link provides a list of each core team and on-going expectations. I can see this being a good starting point to be expanded on. The Project Directory link lists all core team members, what core team they are working in and contact details.

Foundation Responsibilities Handover :seedling:

I believe there are a lot of legal/liability unknowns here - as in current regulation doesn’t know how deal with a fully decentralized entity. There have been a few horror stories where authorities have been going after core team members of decentralized projects when things go wrong. I think it would be helpful to keep the core team up to date on developments on this front and any other legal issues/risks that potentially could come up going forward.

2 Likes

Exciting workstream with lots of challenges here! There are some other ideas I’d like to throw into the mix.

Evolution

I think the assumption here is that this is the next of many phases of evolution in Radicle’s org design. We are unlikely to come up with a perfect solution, so whatever we arrive at will need to be iterated upon. Is there a way we can factor in the on-going evolution of our org design? Can it be incorporated into the org design itself? What can we do now that would encourage that process or make it more efficient?

Values, mission and narrative

I’ve been banging this drum for a little while now because I think it is fundamental to a lot of things. By this I mean is diving into things like autonomy, hierarchy, responsibility, accountability, collaboration, evolution, trustlessness, incentives, wholeness, inclusion, contributors, our broader mission, etc — we need to define all of these things, figure out where we stand on them and assemble them into a coherent picture that everyone can agree upon. Org design especially needs to be informed by these things or it risks embodying the wrong values or optimising for the wrong outcome.

Culture

I know Abbey is also sympathetic to this idea so I may be preaching to the choir here, but I thought it was worth bringing it up in this context.

Culture is important! I’d argue that it may be one of the most important parts of Web3 both presently — i.e. the current state of Web3 culture — and in terms of the future — i.e. where some of the biggest challenges are and where the biggest opportunities lie. It’s also hugely important within organisations and is influenced by organisational structure.

This workstream will naturally be heavy on the so-called “tangibles” (objective things) like structures, mechanisms, processes, etc, as they are the output and are easier to rationalise, visualise and design. But the “intangibles” (subjective things) such as culture and norms — things that are more mysterious and difficult to design for — are just as important.

We should be considerate of and intentional about culture, what sort of culture we want to encourage and how we can go about achieving that. Part of this lies outside of the scope of org design, but I also think a part of it is overlapping, in that org design is one of the factors that creates and influences culture.

There’s some discussion and ongoing research along these lines on the SCRF forums: here, here and here.

Research

There are a bunch of orgs doing research work in this area and there may be scope for collaboration or sponsored research on particular topics.

SCRF, Metagov, RnDAO, DAO Research Collective, and the DAO Research Hub (currently forming).

Open discussion

I’d love to see and participate in some open discussion focusing down on particular topics or questions, either here on the forum or in discord.

2 Likes