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