Guilds and projects are two core components of how BanklessDAO operates. Over the past three months, we’ve made steady steps towards formalizing guilds. The most recent step-level improvement has been the creation of roles within each guild.
While tremendous progress has been made in guilds, guidance on projects has fallen behind. People are confused about when to write a proposal, how to get feedback, what to include, and a number of other important details that go unnoticed. This forum post introduces a proposal framework to resolve a number of these pain points.
Let’s start with the basics. What is a project?
- Initiatives organized around specific outcomes that benefit the DAO
- Often require cross-guild resources
- Often require funding
- Spearheaded by a champion(s) and a squad willing to commit their time
- Have measurable outcomes
- Impact DAO revenue streams or brand image
Projects are NOT:
- Guild specific initiatives, though they can certainly start within guilds and grow outwards
- Small passion projects that do not impact the DAO in meaningful ways
Project examples can be found here, though this page is slightly outdated.
The first step in any project is brainstorming. It is absolutely critical to get feedback from DAO members. Partly because it would save you from wasting your time on ideas that won’t receive support, but also because feedback from a diversity of individuals will improve your idea to the best it can be.
- Find the relevant discord channels for your idea. Pitch it, see what people think. Workshop in the channel, or even move it to a private chat. Find people that get excited about your idea. If you’re not sure where to start, post your idea in #brainstorm
- Use the #poll channel to get community feedback (Guide). This is perfect if you think your sample size is small or want the community to help you make a decision. It’s important that you include a description of what you want and why. Provide context to help others make the right decision.
Tool: Discourse Forum
- Get your thoughts down on paper and post in the General Forum to discuss in a slower-paced environment than Discord, like this forum post:
After your temperature check, the next step is an informal consensus check. This is a new step that stands between brainstorming and the formal consensus check. The formal consensus check has rigorous requirements in order to maintain accountability and clarity. Going from brainstorming to formal consensus will be a challenge. This step sits in the middle to make sure the authors are on the right path.
The template provided looks different than the template for the formal consensus check. See this sample post to understand how this check works. Note the focus on understanding the major details of the project and anticipated resources required, instead of a detailed specification.
If general consensus is positive, a separate Discord channel can be created to better organize the conversation, where scoping will happen.
The informal consensus check is almost like an advertisement to the DAO to request participation, feedback, and recruit a squad.
If a project receives a generally positive outlook, it’s ready to move to the next iterative stepping: Scoping. Scoping is the process of narrowing the scope of work and the necessary specifications for the selected scope of work.
Many projects that request funding move through iterations, following an MVP, V1, V2, etc. progressive framework. Projects are funded until their MVP, then into V1, then again into V2, etc. until they are mature or self-sustainining.
Scoping means identifying what is within scope for this particular iteration of the project and how the outcomes will be achieved. This will and should make up the bulk of a formal proposal.
- Example of detailed scope of work (Bounty Board proposal)
- Example of detailed specification (PoolTogether Pod)
Squads are the core coordinators behind a project. They are ultimately responsible for the success of the project. Squads typically consist of:
- Champion(s): Responsible for meta-level coordination within the project and all extraneous tasks
- Guild Rep(s): Responsible for delivering on tasks required from a particular guild. They are basically the liaison between the project and guild. Not every guild needs to be represented on a project, but the guilds that will be heavily involved must have a representative. Eg: The podcast incubator project needs an AV Guild rep, but does not need a Legal Guild rep.
- Guild reps can use different incentive mechanisms (with $BANK) to source participation and talent
Budgeting projects is still a work-in-progress. For the time being, budget is required for three reasons:
- Expenses like rewards, advertising, software, etc. (See GLEAM Campaign)
- Bounties to pay guild members for producing materials (See First Quest - under Spec)
- Hourly rate for pay champions and guild representatives (see First Quest - under Spec)
In the future, it’s possible that payment will be:
- Expenses like rewards, advertising, software, etc.
- Bounties and/or hourly work for guild members producing materials
- KPI Options from UMA to pay champions and guild reps on the outcome of their work - Eg. Podcast Incubator squad can redeem tokens based on a benchmark of 100 downloads per episodes by October 1st.
Having gone through the informal consensus check, received feedback, scoped out work, and formulated a squad, you are now ready for a formal consensus check. Having made it to this step signals to the community that your proposal has some serious weight to it and should be comprehensively considered.
Formal consensus checks will happen in a separate forum category and follow a different template as well. The formal forum post wil have its own set of revisions based on feedback and new perspectives provided.
Once your proposal has been thoroughly scoped, staffed, and vetted, it is ready to be submitted to the Grant’s Committee for funding (application form). While the Grant’s Committee sounds like a centralized point of failure, it is more of a sanity check. The Grant’s Committee is expected to follow the will of the DAO, reflected in Discourse forum polls.
As long as your proposal has solid support in the forums, the Grants Committee will approve and fund your project, save for any major red flags. Rejected proposals will always be provided with feedback on how to improve the ask.
As part of the application process, your project must have its own object in the Project Page on notion. You can use the template to create your own object. Please read the instructions. You will need:
- Related resources (eg. forum posts)
- Linked meeting notes table (recommended weekly project syncs)
- Project update form and linked table
The major exception to this workflow are for projects that do not require funding. The structure provided in steps one to three are meant to guide project towards the Grants Committee for funding. We’ve had a number of proposals that do not require funding and would only be hampered with the bureaucracy introduced in this workflows.