There are examples of more open and more closed communication approaches with the community from the Catalyst team when sharing information about Catalysts product planning, discussions, decision making, preferences and future intentions.
A good example of where communication has been more open is around the funding categorisation changes for fund 11 that have had a number of workshops to involve the community. This process started with some initial suggestions from the Catalyst team and then quickly moved to communication with the community to get feedback and discussion around those category ideas before a set of categories would be defined and selected for fund 11.
An example of where communication has been more closed would be around all of the decisions and discussion that led up to the proposals that got submitted in fund 10 by the Catalyst team. The product planning, discussions and decisions that were required to create those proposals was not available to the community ahead of time to read and then give any feedback. Many of the product decisions and execution preferences had already been decided at the point of the proposals submission. Product decisions were made that would heavily influence how Catalyst is developed moving forward. These architectural, product and design decisions could have benefited from being shared more widely with the community nearer the inception of any planning, discussion and decision stages to allow for more open communication so the community could provide any feedback and discussion.
- Need for open product planning - Currently much of the initial parts of any product planning happens within IOG controlled communication. New approaches, changes and ideas that are being explored could all benefit from being open to the community so that those who are engaged in that process are able to suggest their own ideas, tools and software or infrastructure approaches amongst any other relevant contributions. Many decisions were made that lead up to the proposals made by the Catalyst team for fund 10. If that planning and decision making was available to the community earlier there could have been community members that may have had some insights or useful feedback. The key outcome this approach helps to achieve is enabling the opportunity for feedback or insights to be communicated by anyone in the community even though it may not be the case that this actually happens.
- Lack of community discussion & feedback - When there are tradeoffs, nuances and a number of different approaches that could be taken for a product decision the community benefit from being able to give their thoughts and feedback in case approaches are missed out or there was another way to solve the same problem. For any meaningful product change to the Catalyst process there is a benefit to setting up a space, such as a forum post, so that the community can offer their thoughts on the options available.
- Lack of open decision making - Many product decisions still occur within the Catalyst team such as those that led up to the fund 10 proposals. Making decision making more open would mean that any of the options considered and decisions that need to be made become public to the community. Some community members may decide to add their thoughts and insights into the decision making process. The value of making this fully open at all times is the wisdom and insights that different people in the community could provide for important decisions.
- Lack of awareness on Catalyst teams preferences - In 2022, I presented the case for why a contributor focussed funding model would be a good approach to experiment with for the Catalyst funding process. That presentation did not lead to a clear public statement of intent and preferences currently held by the Catalyst team. It would be beneficial to understand the opinions and preferences of the Catalyst team so the community is aware of them and can provide feedback. For instance, if the Catalyst team was against a contributor funding model then that information could help with organising community members who wanted to explore that approach in the future - especially after CIP-1694 gets passed and deployed. The more the community knows about the Catalyst teams stance on different matters the more the community can offer their own feedback and potentially come together to test their own hypothesis.
- Lack of awareness on future intentions - If the Catalyst team had any intentions to work on certain areas of the Catalyst funding process in the future it would be valuable to know these plans ahead of time and any current opinions held. Just starting these discussions could help with spurring on more thinking about a problem space before it is more formally approached with more serious contribution efforts. As an example one area I have been recently sharing about historically is the benefits of separating the prioritisation process from idea selection. In the funding categories work there is a goals & objectives section and on the recent W3A treasury disbursement analysis there is analysis on an independent priority process. If the Catalyst team did have a future intent to explore a priority process this information would be useful to the community so they can start providing their thoughts upfront. If the Catalyst team did not have any intentions to work on this area then it would still be high useful information for the community as then people may decide to step in and experiment themselves. The more the community is aware of the Catalyst teams future plans the more they can offer their feedback or align their contribution efforts around how they could best support existing contribution plans or experiment with areas that are not being explored.
- Communities lower ability to contribute - Less communication around planning, discussion & feedback, decision making, preferences and future intentions makes it more difficult for community members to identify the areas that they could most effectively contribute and make impact in for improving Catalyst. Communication from the Catalyst team is key for helping people to organise themselves and find ways they could propose ideas and solutions to support new or ongoing efforts rather than duplicating existing efforts.
- Potentially wasted efforts & resources - There is a higher risk that the community do not agree or approve of certain product development outcomes if they have not had sufficient opportunity to provide their thoughts and feedback. Making all product related communication as open as possible will help with ensuring that whenever product development outcomes emerge where the community does have strong opinions and preferences that they will be able to express those thoughts as soon as possible. This could help with preventing wasted contribution efforts and usage of resources on solution approaches that would have not been well received by the community.
Suggestion option #1 - Continue to open up all communication around product planning, discussion, preferences, decisions and future intentions
The Catalyst team has already begun its journey in becoming more open with its communication around product planning, discussion, decisions, preferences and future intentions.
The point of this suggestion is to put even more emphasis on the fact that this openness can be further improved. This is a simple but important step for more effectively enabling the community to participate in product thinking, discussions and decisions when they any community member believes it is important to do so.
The more open and public a products planning, discussion, preferences, decisions and future intentions are the higher the opportunity there is for community members to provide relevant and supporting information or offer useful insights that benefit the ongoing product development of Catalyst.
The community highly benefits from understanding how the Catalyst team is thinking, what they are basing their current decisions on and what their ongoing intentions are with how the funding process is being iterated and improved. With this awareness and knowledge the community is able to provide counter arguments, insights and their own expertise to support and improve the product development process. Beyond this it will make it clearer where there are areas of execution that the Catalyst team has no intention of tackling which would then help to create a clearer opportunity for the community to step in and decide how experimentation could be conducted in those areas and do so with more collaboration, communication and support from the Catalyst team to better test any hypothesis.
Some potential example next steps:
- Planning - The fund 10 proposals were a great example of more open communication for product planning. Continue this approach and further open up any more communication that happens prior to the any new proposals happening.
- Discussion - Use documentation tools for communicating execution plans / decisions and long form discussion platforms like the Cardano forum to share the teams current stance on product decisions and approaches so that the community can participate in the conversation and give space for that discussion to build up over time.
- Decision making - It will be great to see open discussion and any research and analysis that leads up to making any future decisions so that community can respond and contribute. Example situations could be around proposal data structures for the projectcatalyst.io website or plans for creating priority systems.
- Preferences - The current preferences and stance of the Catalyst teams about different topic areas should be documented so the product approach and direction being taken for Catalyst is well known by the community. For example which disbursement approaches does the team believe are worth experimenting with or is there a preference that these approaches are experimented with elsewhere and the team doesn’t think Catalyst should test some of these? The community being aware of any of these big preferences enables the community to offer their thoughts and feedback and can then also determine how they want to explore any areas that are not being covered by the Catalyst teams preferences.
- Future intentions - What areas of execution are the Catalyst team intending to focus on in the near future? For instance is an independent priority system being considered as an upcoming areas of experimentation? This and any other relevant intention related information would be invaluable for the community to provide their insights and feedback or find ways to support those intentions or experiment in the areas not being considered.
Suggestion option #2 - Have another suggestion
Comment with your other suggestion below.
Suggestion option #3 - Disagree
The Catalyst team don’t need to communicate anymore than they already are. Provide any rationale in the comments below.
- #1 - Continue to open up all communication around product planning, discussion, preferences, decisions and future intentions
- #2 - Have another suggestion
- #3 - Disagree
- No vote - See results
- forum.cardano.org - Where the Catalyst team could initiate communication to allow for more community feedback and discussion or any other similar long form communication service could be suitable.
- Category Scoping, Catalyst Community Discussion - #38 by musikc - This is a good example of bringing together communication about the topic of funding categorisation from the ongoing workshops.
- Miro | Online Whiteboard for Visual Collaboration - The Miro board also helped to bring together some of the existing resources around the topic and allow people to comment and share ideas.