Meeting 5 - September 9th 2021
Meeting 5 - Thursday, 9th September 2021 at 17.00 UTC
Catalyst Circle members:
- David Taylor
- Dean Jayes
- Dor Garbash
- Felix Weber
- Juliane Montag
- Lauris Steglics
- Victor Corcino
- Stephen Whitenstall - Secretary
- John Buck
Victor Corcino facilitated this meeting and Stephen Whitenstall took the secretary role, taking notes.
Updates on Catalyst Circle actions (35 min) -> Update Trello Board Accordingly
Following a brainstorming meeting between Dor & Victor they presented and discussed guidelines for the use of the Trello board.
Dor & Victor had discussed previously how to clarify a workflow for tracking problems and actions for Circle members. This was an opportunity to define & make explicit how to move problems across the board.
They stressed that the guidelines presented can be modified and constantly iterated over time as Circle evolves. Dor & Victor had talked about methodologies - they invited others to share the unique approaches of each Circle representative group.
Briefly, the Trello board will start with the Problem Backlog column which is where the results of previous problem sensing exercises reside. Each representative went back to their group and using their own methodologies sourced their problems specific to their situation.
Because of capacity limitations and to accommodate Circle’s capabilities, Circle members limited themselves to 1 problem per representative group.
To recap; the problem owner assigns themselves a ticket and moves their problem across the board. To initiate this, they write out the problem in a structured form and request feedback from another Circle member. Then once the problem is in the problem backlog it will subsequently be presented at a Circle meeting to discuss modifications.
At the Well-Defined Problems (Ready) column, the problem enters a solution solving state. Here a strategy is defined by Circle to solve the problem. This could take the form of endorsing an existing Fund proposal, to boost current proposals. Or by facilitating problem sensing sessions. A time is scheduled to present at Town Hall to communicate the solution to the community and to amplify it.
The problem(solution) then goes to the Shared with Community section of the Trello board. And the community picks up the responsibility to track, to identify any duplication of effort and any lack of activity.
Once a solution has been explicitly identified by the community it moves to the Picked Up (Ready) column. That is, it is “picked up” by the community or Circle. Here a new ticket is raised that changes the problem statement to the proposed solution.
When the solution has been built it moves to the Prototyping (In Progress) column and then onto the Validation (Reporting) column once positive results become apparent. It is critical at this stage to track how well the solution is Integrated (the solution is accepted) with the community or whether there are Lessons Learnt (the solution is Cancelled). This final resolution aims to initiate new Catalyst members about what worked & what failed.
To conclude there is a Circle Reset where the community decides whether to continue with the problem (solution) or move onto another one. The Trello Board can then be reset, abandoned problems archived and handed over to the new Circle Version 2.
Comments on the Trello board guideline presentation :
John Buck commented : “Just a note: “Shared with Community” could be “Shared with IOG” or “Shared with Cardano Foundation”. E.g., if there is something that IOG is doing that is having an adverse impact, the presentation might be given to the IOG manager in charge of the problematic policies/activities.”
Victor Corcino responded : “I'd say that IOG/CF are part of the community as well. Community covers everyone involved. Maybe we should define this somewhere.”
John Buck commented : “Good point. Might be more than one presentation: in Town Hall as well as other appropriate forum.”
Dor Garbash commented : “I agree - we need to establish a communication line with IOG/CF as often they don’t track townhalls.”
Victor Corcino commented : “We were going to demonstrate this process at this meeting but there is not enough time.”
Juliane Montag commented : “Would appreciate sometime to look at the Trello Guidelines to give an appreciation.”
A brief update from Victor. Keeping track of comments made in response to the new CA/vCA reward model the feedback was generally good.
In regard to the Trello Board, this problem is now in Prototyping (In Progress) and we can change it to Validation (Reporting) once outcomes and consequences become clear.
The Community Advisor (CA) and Toolmakers and Maintainers (T&M) Circles have focused on an on-boarding and outreach campaign to recruit more Community Advisors. IOHK also contributed to outreach. The Catalyst community contributed video presentations such as Ken Adams (Fund 5 Cohort) YouTube channel KEWW (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNjTQ5ogHCU) and the Catalyst School during After Town Hall open space.
Victor and Felix reported : After 1 week we had 100 sign-ups. We are not quite ready to present progress yet as we need to refine our presentation.
Dor clarified that :
Felix commented: That as a first draft for a pipeline the outreach and on-boarding campaign was satisfactory and can be improved over time. We could use the same scheme or approach for outreach and onboarding of Veteran Community Advisors (VCAS) and Challenge teams.
Dor commented: Can we use this approach for Challenge Teams and replicate for Fund 7? How do we avoid the next Circle being in emergency mode?
Julianne commented : Circle should define a baseline of responsibilities that are crucial to outreach and on-boarding to complement the processes the IOHK team uses.
Dor commented: We have our internal logistic machine, but this should be decentralised. Starting with shared responsibility then handing over.
Julianne commented: How do we do this? We need to agree on what we need to do.
Felix commented: There will be new people for Circle Version 2 (v2) - platforms need to be in place to support them.
Dor commented: IOHK are preparing a public dashboard with the intention to inform people of risks & opportunities. At this point in our playbook, we are at the “insight stage” (analogy with proposal process) and critical actions still need to be taken. We need to be more transparent about our engagement data and work on a timetable for handover of responsibilities to the community. A retrospective week would be valuable to gain perspective on what are we (Circle) doing together
John Buck commented: Having staggered terms on the Catalyst Circle (CC) would help carry forward the group memory. For example, only three people rotate off in November 2021. Then Trello board projects can be handed off to the new members (maybe with overlap with the former members).
Felix reported on the Challenge team - Rapid Funding Challenge and suggested that faster more focused mechanisms are needed for the community. The challenge team went off in one direction and this was not the result that Circle were expecting,
Dor commented: It has been a busy month for people in the network. Who was the problem owner - Felix or Lauris ? Circle needs problem ownership, to fillet problems and work together with challenge teams. The challenge team was supposed to target specific issues and there is now a risk of losing focus by shifting onto other wider problems. Nevertheless, this is a great pilot, let us see if it gets voted and has an impact. We need to help the Challenge team to connect to people on the ground - we are just a mirror of the people.
Victor commented : Because of the amount of work, we have had similar issues in the last 2 weeks.
Felix reported that: In the last couple of weeks people have participated in the selection of a secretary and a facilitator. This process has resulted in 1 person for each function (secretary & facilitator), backed by a support team. In all, 4 people in the secretariat and 3 in the facilitator team.
Dor commented: This could be an issue when it comes to funding. Circle needs more focus on roles and responsibilities.
Lauris reported: At the last After Town Hall, I presented budgeting – but there was not a lot of interest from the community. Tried to squeeze out what interest there was. Made some changes to the budget, put some lump sums to make it easier to calculate. But we did not account for more people coming on board. There has been some miscommunication and the proposal placeholder has now been archived and is still left hanging.
Julianne commented: The experiment failed, and it is good to talk about this. Both (Circle) proposals are withdrawn. We need to return to the theme of how we assign ownership. I opted to not submit, to look at how to establish a baseline for funding.
Lauris commented: We need to work on miscommunication and who is in charge of a specific task.
Not discussed. Postpone to next meeting.
Circle members were asked to choose a problem statement to be prioritized in the next 2 weeks :
Dor chose: Who has a sense of ownership & capacity to drive one of these problems.
Dean & Victor chose: Address possible scams by ADA holders.
Dean commented: I am still on board for this priority, I had removed it because there was already strong focus on it.
Victor : Any other comments / suggestions ?
The Circle group agreed to devote the rest of Meeting 5 to a discussion of the failure to submit two Fund 6 proposals that were intended to resource Circle activities going forward.
Victor: This is an opportunity to learn. It was a group failure. Such risks arise when we try to move too fast. We should try to identify what went wrong and try to avoid making the same mistake in future. We could submit a proposal in Fund 7 for retrospective payment – but such a strategy is not guaranteed to succeed.
Lauris: I agree we need to discuss this.
Dor : This is bad. Funds are needed to mitigate the risk of volunteer burnout. But we are now stuck with a continuation of volunteerism. IOHK can use special powers to modify the Circle proposals outside of timetable. I believe it is not viable for Circle to continue without the possibility of future funding. We can submit a modified proposal and ask IOHK to accept it. I am willing to help redraft the proposals today or else we appoint someone else in the Circle to take responsibility.
Julianne : I can do it. Get right into the document. I would place it in the Decentralised Decision-Making Challenge. And refer back to the definition of Circle so as not to reinvent the wheel.
Dor : In terms of how we can proceed operationally; we write out a draft, distribute it to Circle and submit the revised proposal “out of band”. It is too big a deal to live with the consequences of not submitting a Circle proposal.
Felix : The background to this is a pressure to deliver on time and meet expectations. We drive in a dangerous direction as Circle members also have other commitments.
Julianne: We are all here because we have passion and motivation. But self-criticism is required as well. To pose the questions “Where can I add most value?”, “What are the requirements of Circle?”. I think we might lose impact if we must comply or fit in something prescriptive. Should responsibility be concentrated or distributed to a larger team? What is the mode that is best for Circle? What is best for the community?
Lauris: To prepare for the next iteration of Circle (Version 2) we need to establish an idea of what is expected of them. To understand what their commitments will be.
Dean: I met with Nori, for the search committee to find a replacement for the General Voters representative. The next person should have a lot of experience with Ideascale and associated tools. And should be able to commit 10 to 20 hours a week. We should treat Circle commitments like job requirements.
Julienne: This depends on what we consider the most value. By defining requirements too rigidly we are going to leave out certain people.
Victor : We are only now figuring out how much time it takes to participate in Circle. We should be prepared to communicate this to the next Circle. We should write down what kind of knowledge is needed.
Lauris: Circle could use a full time facilitator to offload these responsibilities.
Dor : This experience is actually a gift. As a first iteration we are doing amazingly well. The goal is to learn and sometimes to fail. The next stage is to capture lessons learnt so these can be implemented in the next Circle. To prepare a list of recommendations and dedicate some time to review them. Do a full-on retrospective.
We need shared agreement on what happened and for each of us to propose how to improve for the next session. How and why, under pressures of time and uncertainty, our small team did not submit proposals.
Julanne: I would extend lessons learnt to a lack of will to make it happen for the group. I was unclear on completing the proposal. The assignment of responsibility was ambiguous.
Dor: Given the problem statement we have talked about - what is the solution ? We need to work with this shared understanding of the issue at the end of the meeting. We could discuss in our Telegram group and get Stephen to capture it.
Julianne: We would push the proposal and use Dor’s superpower. But I am concerned how this is perceived by the community. I know it's crucial - but, nevertheless.
Felix: For me personally it would feel really weird. We failed, then if we failed it is important to say why.
Dor: There is a trade off every time some special action is taken. We will need to explain the circumstances. If our rationale is misaligned with the larger picture, we could lose legitimacy. On the other hand, the intention to decentralise is clear, We intend to move power to the community. Looking at the big picture, from next month to a year from now, we want to create the best conditions for distributed governance.
If others think the final outcome would be very different. We should discuss this eventuality. But knowing this is just human error - should we just accept that ?
Lauris: Interim funding (as an option) is not a solution. If we receive interim funding - the question arises as to who we are working for.
Julianne: Looking forward to a solution. What if these circumstances push us towards a baseline - so that a pipeline is in place for the next Circle to execute. It would be more natural to have retrospective funds together with a process of assessing ourselves, evolving with each proposal.
Dor: Would you take a job where it says “come work for me and maybe we pay for you later” ?
Julianne: The resourcing of Circle is at risk anyway - because funding in any Challenge is never guaranteed.
Dor: Next Circle would have that assurance - if we submit out of band.
Felix: Let us go not too much into hypotheticals.
David: I do not know how we get consensus on this.
Dor: The trade-off is between posting our proposals a few hours after the deadline with minor consequences and leaving Circle unfunded which has serious long-term repercussions. I hope people here can see the bigger picture and where we are headed – but this is not on you, it's on IOHK.
Dean: I agree with Dor. There will be a chain reaction of things that will happen if we do not push this through this time. Can we agree to do this for the next Circle in Fund 7?
Dor: The latest possibility is tomorrow for “out of band” submission.
Julianne: We could draft the revisions in a Google document.
Dor: Yes, write down the rubrics in a google document. IOG admin would then submit.
At this point there was a quick survey of individual positions. And a majority agreed to submit Circle proposals “out of band”.
Dor: We will be transparent about this. It was a hard trade off and we are still experimenting. We have to give the system a chance to succeed. A purist approach was never the intention.
Julianne: We trust you as well. It comes down to intention and that feels good.
Dean: If there is blowback - how do we handle it ?
Dor: The community wants decentralised governance and for circle to succeed
David: There is no guarantee it will be funded - so that is a reassurance as well.
John Buck comments in Chat :
The secretary’s role can include tracking critical items like the CCv2 budget and alerting everyone if it appears that there are critical deadlines about to be missed.
Could there be a special meeting on this question tomorrow. It’s very crucial
- (Topic start time) Topic of discussion/Objective - Leader(s) - Duration in minutes
Related problem statement: (CC) Tracking problems and actions
- Related problem statement: (CAs) CAs/vCAs rewarding system
- Related problem statement: (CAs) Risk of not enough CAs/vCAs
- Related problem statement: (T&M/ FP) Catalyst Onboarding
- Related problem statement: (CC) Faster funding for Catalyst projects
- Related problem statement: N/A
- Related problem statement: (CC) CC is not resourced to accomplish its goals.
- CC and lessons learned.
Meeting feedback and buffer time (20 min)