Council Q2 2023 Team Budget Request Retrospective

Today at the weekly Council meeting we had a retrospective on how the Team Budget Request process went. Our focus for the retrospective was on what went well and what went poorly. We avoided coming up with solutions, so that we could keep the discussion focused.

This week we’re all going to take time to review the retrospective and develop our thoughts. Next week the Council will meet to discuss solutions!

Below is a summary of our discussion; what went well and what went poorly. We’re sharing it with the community so that everyone can contribute their own thoughts.

Quick reminder: the “Council” is simply all team members. We meet weekly to share updates and have open discussions. The meeting is at 11:00am PT on Tuesdays, and anyone can join and listen in. Just reach out to a team member if you wish to listen in with the “Council Auditor” role.

The following is the list of feedback from different Council members.

If you’d like to any of your own “well / poorly” items then feel free to comment below.

What Went Well

These are all the things that went well with the last Team Budget Request process

  • it’s easy for established teams to renew their budgets. Template is clear, standards are easily followed.
  • we got better in the process compared to last time.
  • We started the process earlier and had a timeline that was communicated and executed properly.
  • The process is working as intended
  • Process is structured and organized and transparent, so it went smoothly
  • There were TBR iterations based on feedback for Growth and Poolers
  • Feedback was heard and implemented
  • Synchronized voting works really well
  • Renewal is smooth
  • Quorum is easily met
  • We had more feedback in the review phase + more Council Auditors
  • Bonus calls run by Leighton were great
  • Compensation Advice Process form was useful for Tim to gather feedback
  • No one fought. Discussions were diplomatic
  • People are now funded to do work on the protocol
  • Rough timeline was followed

What Went Poorly

These are the things that went poorly with regard to the last Team Budget Request process

  • Feedback for TBRs was poor
  • Inefficient calls; reviewing six docs took weeks
  • Need more detail in the proposals
    • Goals, KPIs, long term plans
    • Why should PT fund this?
  • Need more open discussion before going to TBR posts; voters need more time
  • Need better communication when a TBR is revised and changed.
  • Low voter turnout (less than 10 on some TBRs)
  • Voter turnout has dropped since last year
  • Too much focus on individual compensation; it’s not a salary.
  • Need to rethink how we tackle transparency
  • Weren’t public with our “final” TBR reviews soon enough
  • Feedback wasn’t very constructive. Was a flat “no” instead of offering more detail
  • Budgets are approved last-minute. This can be problematic for teams who depend on the budgets and need more income predictability.
  • Deciding on compensation is difficult enough when negotiating as an individual, let alone a community
  • Budgeting with a mix experts and non-experts is challenging
  • Need more compassion when giving feedback
  • Need more constructive feedback
  • imho the biggest challenge is the short period of time between when someone posts a TBR and when that is voted on and the work is due to start. Would be very nerve wracking not knowing if your TBR will pass, requires people to have a few months of cushion funds which maybe most don’t have.
  • Need more time to discuss the TBRs
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Thanks for doing the work to capture this, @Brendan! Adding my reflections on the process so far:

The TBR process was introduced to better facilitate contributions to the PoolTogether protocol.

When trying to shift culture you need to know what size to operate at. All great organizations are made of great teams. It spreads from there. The core of an organization can always set the tone for the next level (modeling).
Usually organizations start with one small group and drive them to into a space where to a high state of safety, inspiration, courage. After that you recruit the next.
We’ve started shifting culture with a whole set groups. These teams need to become comfortable and safe.
Bearing this in mind I think we did a good job in the short time this process is in place.

  • Problem: TBRs are hard to understand for outsiders. It is a lot of work to get informed before voting.
    Possible solution:
    – Condense weekly council call updates into monthly community update
    or Team update threads on the governance forum
    This way the community can stay up to date and have a better understanding of the impact of each team.

  • Problem: Discussions are centered around compensation.
    We’ve spent a lot of time discussing salaries of individuals. The focus should be output and value delivered by the teams instead. We could have spent this time on helping teams to maximize their impact and tapping into possibilities of cross-functionality.
    Solution: Summarize compensation for teams and rework the TBR template in terms of expenses.

  • Problem: Low awareness / voter turn-out
    Solution: Governance is also politicking. Teams should clearly communicate why someone should get out of bed to vote (for them). High voter participation and governance turn-over is a shared responsibility of us all.

  • Problem: A “cold-start problem” for new teams was mentioned
    This is not particularly bad in my opinion. If teams want to work on achieving PoolTogether’s goals we probably want these teams to be values-aligned and very determined in how they can add value for PoolTogether.
    Funding for a quarter (and possibly beyond) isn’t a small decision. Most of the teams that are funded through this process right now put in intense work over long periods of time before the TBR process was even a thing.
    Solution: Team (council) members can still be more public with the process and more intentional with bringing discussions to #governance or even creating a thread on the forum. We can highlight the options to receive guidance.

  • Problem: Teams become silos and indefinitely funded
    The process turns out to be good for addressing the needs of the PoolTogether protocol right now. With a few tweaks it will help us
    Long term it’s likely not the best process. A perfect process should optimize better for cross-functionality with focus on achieving long-term goals of the PoolTogether protocol.
    Solution: I see no immediate solution (necessary) but I believe with the mix of the TBR process, grants and us giving guidance, we’re well set up to accommodate short term growth and tackle our goals tied to the hyperstructure launch.

Timeline for Q3

I’d like to propose a timeline for the next round of TBRs. Once agreed upon the dates will be entered into the governance calendar.
Proposed Timeline for Q3 TBRs:

  • May 23rd - June 6th: Council feedback period
  • June 6th: Post RFCs on Governance Forum
  • June 6th - 20th: Feedback & Refinement Period
  • June 20th: TBRs posted onchain
  • June 25th: Onchain voting ends
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Tjark I don’t know how you do it, but Thank you for everything you do! Im starting to think your Ai haha jk. I wouldn’t even BE here without you! I will never forget what you said to me either. :exploding_head: :muscle: “Don’t let your memes be dreams” :exploding_head: :muscle:

This always makes me think, What if we could Listen to the Governance?

What if Low governance can be attributed to UX/UI specifically? (+ education)

I know they “should” get out of bed and do some work, Agreed. Aside from that, Then why does McDonalds keep slinging happy meals?

IF that same cohort was educated on the Topic in advance or at least during the Voting & was prompted with an easy 1-click CTA UX/UI that goes straight to the vote page ?

THEN I’d bet any amount people would participate 2x-4x % rate.

When voting is as simple as “Liking” :purple_heart: Governance will be decentralized. :palm_down_hand: