Product Guild - Implementing a System of Decentralized Product Managment (dPM)

Hey Hey :wave:

Developer DAO is entering an exciting year, one in which it intends to build and ship amazing products. The DAO itself has already achieved great things and has demonstrated that decentralization works best with clearly defined goals and autonomy for small teams and the people that contribute to these outcomes. I refer to accomplishments of our Guild system, RFC system, and Core Team / Moderators as examples.

What I am proposing below is the formation of a new guild within Developer DAO:

The Product Guild

What I am not proposing has anything to do with the Product Guild and personal projects brought forth by Developer DAO members. This is a benefit of the Product Guild being explored but it is not the intention of this RFC to comment on it.

To explain the proposed system, I’ll answer the following questions:

  • What is the Product Guild?
  • Why do we need a Product Guild?
  • What is a Product
  • What is a Product Team
  • Who makes up the Product Guild?
  • How will the Product Guild interact with Developer DAO?
  • How do we ensure the Developer DAO Community is involved in Product Guild decisions?
  • What does DAO Involvement with the Product Guild look like?

What is the Product Guild?

The Product Guild is just like our other guilds! It’s a subset of individuals contributing to Developer DAO, with strong domain expertise (design, product management, and engineering), a narrow set of responsibilities, goals, and (hopefully one day) a budget.

The Product Guild will be responsible for overseeing the Ideation, Discovery, and Delivery of Developer DAO-sanctioned products throughout a season. The Product Guild will serve as missionaries for Developer DAO product development. Missionaries are true believers in the vision and are committed to solving problems for their customers (The Developer DAO)

Why do we need a Product Guild?

Product teams have generated high impact and value for companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google, yet Product Management is clearly missing within the Developer DAO.

Leveraging the design of a Product Guild with specific responsibilities, I propose the creation of this new Product Guild to bring the same impact and value-creation seen in Web 2 to the Developer DAO and Web3.

Decentralization is a foundation of web3, and I know product management at first appears to be its antithesis. What a lack of product management creates, however, are massive issues in alignment and coordination.

As Developer DAO enters a new season, one in which we launch our ERC-20 token $CODE, our Treasury will be fully funded, and with new goals set. There must be alignment across members on what problems to address and a system in place to build solutions for them.

Who makes up the Product Guild?

Members should seek Product Guild membership with the intention to declare alignment with one of these three categories:

  • Product-focused members — ensure products are delivering value to Developer DAO members. The product members are responsible for tracking metrics and finding potential gaps in the user experience that can be improved to reach the DAO’s goals.
  • Design-focused members — ensure products have great usability, and users can easily get the value they came for. The design members are also responsible for ensuring the evolution of the design system, keeping up with the latest UI/UX trends.
  • Development-focused members — ensure products are running as free of bugs as possible and identify potential improvements/fixes that need to be done. The tech members are also responsible for ensuring the grants created by the committee are feasible from a tech standpoint.

What is a Product?

When I refer to a product, I refer to more than just the features. It includes:

  • The Features
  • The Technology under those features
  • The UX Design
  • How we Monetize (if that’s a goal)
  • User and Customer Acquisition Strategy

This should not be confused with Project, which is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.

What is a Product Team?

A product team is a group of Developer DAO members who bring together different specialized skills and responsibilities. This team takes ownership of a product or a substantial piece of a larger product.

A typical Product Team is comprised of:

  • A Product Manager/Champion
  • A Designer
  • 2 - 10 Developers

A product team has responsibility for all the work—all the projects, features, bug fixes, performance work, optimizations, and content changes—everything and anything for their product.

How will the Product Guild interact with Developer DAO?

1. Assigning responsibilities

The Developer DAO assigns the roles and responsibilities that are now under the Product Guild. (below)

2. Developer DAO members join

Developer DAO members can declare their alignment within the Product Guild as representing Product, Design, or Development.

3. Definition

Given that the Developer DAO has defined objectives and goals for a season, the Product Guild converts them into problems that have to be solved.

As an example, imagine that the Developer DAO sets the goal of increasing the number of Developer DAO members working for Web3 companies. The Product Guild should dig deeper into the problem, interview people, run user tests, and come up with the hypotheses that need validation:

  • What are attractive traits in candidates to Web3 companies?
  • Do members have opportunities to show initiative and experience?
  • Are incentives high enough for DAO Members to want to work in Web3?

(In)validating hypotheses can be done by the Product Guild, or by the community through the use of grants for user research. Let’s assume the problems have been identified. At this point, the Product Guild defines grants and/or bounty programs for each problem that should be tackled, and where applicable, links them to a measurable KPI target that will help assess the impact of the work produced.

4. Proposal submission

A proposal is a document that contains an introduction to the product, an explanation of how it will help address the Product Guild’s problem, the Product Team’s execution plan, and technical details of the deal.

This type of proposal should be brief, and it should explain complex products in simple terms.

Formatting for proposals will be established by the Product Guild. Tools and consultation will be available to assist teams in proposal drafting to the best of their abilities.

5. Proposal selection

The Product Guild can consult the Developer DAO to help select the proposal — there could be more than one — they think will bring more value. The final decision will be made by the Product Guild, assigning a specific reward for the given proposal(s).

6. Delivery

The team that submitted the selected proposal starts working on the delivery. This could range from a user research study to actual code ready to be deployed.

7. Review

Once the team delivers, the Product Guild reviews delivery to ensure quality and adherence to Developer DAO’s standards (this can include a range of topics, like, UI components, code standards, brand tone of voice, etc). The Product Guild should ask for any guidance or validation from any other Guild if needed (for example, asking the Development Guild if the code should be audited).

If delivery satisfies the original request, whether it is code shipped, a KPI target that was hit, or a mix of both, the Product Guild releases payment for the milestone. Otherwise, it can request additional changes, and iterate until delivery meets the standards initially specified.

The Product Guild then keeps track of metrics (and makes them publicly available for $CODE holders) after delivery so the community can be informed of the progress in solving the problems/opportunities that were defined.

How do we ensure the Developer DAO Community is involved in Product Guild decisions?

One might say that this design gives too much power to a few individuals, which would be just centralized decisions all over again — but in contrast to traditional organizations, the very concept of Guilds invites Developer DAO members to participate in key decision-making, albeit in a curated and efficient way. In addition to the fact that Guilds involve the community in their decisions, mechanisms for the community itself to dissolve the Guild, veto its decisions or intervene make the Guild design even less at risk of over-centralizing.

In order to create stronger incentives for optimal decision-making within the Product Guild and get its members to put skin in the game, we could even envision a system whereby Product Guild members could “back” a decentralized team’s proposal by staking some of their own $CODE tokens — taking a profit (from the reward given to the team whose proposal they had backed) in case of success or losing their stake in case of failure.

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Perhaps I am missing something here, but I feel like this is very similar to the development guild. Can you provide some guidance on how they differ? Perhaps creating a product team under he devolpment guild could suffice, kind of like the DAO delegates team.

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As we have different guilds, I guess we should have clear scope and boundary for each guild and how they interact

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Thanks for the proposal! 2 remarks:

  • we should probably clarify more the different roles and responsibilities between the development guild / design guild / product guild, i’m afraid they might be overlapping each others on some topics if it’s not clearly defined from the beginning
  • the definition of the product roadmap for the season is a major step and should be approved by the full DAO though a vote. Once the roadmap is agreed by the majority, then the product guild could have more autonomy and move forward on its own for the next steps.
    thanks,
    remi
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Thanks for putting this together. Getting product right in a DAO is very hard.

Agree with @MrStevenStiffler here. Think this is similar to existing development guild. Believe product should operate within that guild as members of teams for initiatives there. Perhaps a channel for product people to come together and talk strategy is sufficient?

I don’t personally like the flow outlined where the dao sends ideas to product guild and then this is coordinated by product managers. It should be a lot more bottom up with product providing services to initiatives that emerge to ensure they are closely connected to market and users and have productive processes in place, but leaving each team and initiative a high degree of freedom.

Having said the above, I don’t really believe in trying to get broad alignment either. So if you believe it’s the right approach then just run with it and prove it’s the best approach.

For context I’ve worked on product for over a decade and have been thinking about these dynamics a lot at radicle.xyz - no easy answers here, so appreciate the effort. Im working on the mbd guild - wondering if the product group would be interested in leading a series of Twitter spaces chats with product leaders at more established DAOs. Should be able to get radicle, rarible, and makerdao teams involved to start with.

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The centralization concern that you bring up is well addressed in the RFC. Thank you for that, and I’ll repeat what I think is the TLDR: D_D member projects will not be affected, just those products that are D_D Season Marquee level products. We can still build fun things without doing TPS reports.
If that’s not the case, please clarify/correct me.

My biggest concern is the implicit subordination of Development and Design guilds. This may or may not be a problem, but is certainly worth watching as a potential for politics/issues, given that Products will be built by Product teams, which will be led by the Product guild and staffed by Devs/Designers. There is some (sufficient?) mitigation through the fact that D_D members can be any of those roles based upon their interest in taking on those roles.

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Hey, @MrStevenStiffler thanks for reading and commenting!

What I believe is the differentiation between Development Guild and the Product Guild will be is foundational offering the Product Guild would be providing the DAO.

The Development Guild is a great place for Product Teams to grow out of. The conversations surrounding new technology and project ideas are natural incubators. We are even seeing relationships forming between development and design guilds. There is a conversation to be had about supporting these product teams with product management toolsets, but it is not the conversation I am bringing forward here.

What needs attention as we look into the future is the Developer DAO’s strategies and goals, and most importantly deliberate thought into how these goals will be reached. I do not believe that this responsibility should only be granted the attention of a “product team under the development guild”, it would not suffice.

The Product Guild would be stewards of the Developer DAO’s process to achieve its goals just as the Governance Guild are the stewards of our Treasury and the Writer’s Guild are the stewards of our Newsletter and Blog. A group bringing in Developers, Designers, Marketers, Writers, and Product people all working to ensure that the Developer DAO is building the correct products that tackle the very real problems we are facing, and the great opportunities we have in front of us.

Hey, @Cryptogenic.eth thanks for reading and commenting!

I completely agree that segmentation is important here, and I think it can best be addressed by explaining more clearly what specifically the Product Guild would be responsible for.

At its core, the Product Guild serves the goals of the Developer DAO, which in turn seeks to benefit all members of the DAO.

This RFC is suggesting a distinct purpose for the Product Guild:

  1. Understand the goals of the Developer DAO
  2. Identify the underlying problems/opportunities within each goal
  3. Define grants and/or bounty programs for each problem/opportunity that should be tackled
  4. Field proposals by Development Guild members on how they would complete this bounty.
  5. The product guild votes on which proposal is awarded the “contract”.

During the delivery stage, the product guild would serve as an invaluable resource for the product teams working on the awarded bounties/grants.

Activities in this regard would ensure work being performed on Developer DAO goals is being properly cared for. It would also be building out a system for which D_D members are rewarded for contributing to D_D directly.

There are decisions around what will require a community vote. For instance, I completely agree with you that it is not the responsibility of the Product Guild to decide what the DAO’s goals are. But once they are set, this system would ensure DAO goals are being properly addressed and managed.

Hey, @nas thanks for reading and commenting!

At the risk of repeating myself, I’d ask you read my reply to @MrStevenStiffler here.

To address your point regarding the flow of ideas, I think there is a distinction that must be made between Developer DAO products being built to help the DAO achieve its goals, and products being built by Developer DAO members that stem from ideas/conversations within guild channels. The suggestion for a “menu” of offerings that the product guild can offer members has been made and I see it as extremely useful. In fact, during the delivery stage of the proposed flow, the product guild could offer these resources to the product teams working on the awarded bounties/grants.

For a visual:

And for DAO member projects reaching out to the product guild, there wouldn’t be any reason they have to “Deliver” anything. Illustrated here:

The flow in which proposals are submitted to the Product Guild is to bring more attention across the DAO to a limited number of problems associated with the DAO’s goals and reward people for contributing to our great DAO.

Hey, @gjsyme thanks for reading and re-stating what your interpretation was. It helps me know if my message is getting across or not.

You’re absolutely spot on with your understanding: “D_D member projects will not be affected, just those products that are D_D Season Marquee level products. We can still build fun things without doing TPS reports.”

The last thing I want to come of this is the notion I’m calling for oversight over everything being built by our D_D members. For those projects/products, the Product Guild will naturally find its place to contribute without overstepping. This is just for the Season Marquee-level products.

The appeal I see of how this Product Guild will be organized is that Development, Design, and Product all have equal seats at the table within the guild. Development members overseeing the technical requirements, Design overseeing UX/UI consistency, and Product overseeing Vision and strategy. Great Product teams are only great when Engineering, Design, and Product have a unified understanding of what needs to be built.

How I don’t want this to be interpreted, as was brought to my attention, is that conversation topics and decision-making will be siloed to just the above oversights (technical vs design vs strategy). The Product Guild would ensure developers are acknowledged as creative problem-solvers and are in all the creative, market analysis, and user-interview sessions. Every member of the Guild would be encouraged to take part and contribute in these areas.

Great write up; gracias.

Quick feedback:

  • Let’s think about the parameters for a product. There’s obviously some product categories DD isn’t/shouldn’t pursue but otherwise it could be blue sky without parameters to guide the guild on products to explore [and problems that warrant a product].
  • Believe Development and Product guilds should be separate.
  • This is tricky [and shouldn’t be] but let’s make sure the Product guild represents diverse DD membership. It’s kind of like the problem with biases in AI/ML when the creators are not diverse. Instead we want products that emerge from DD to be from diverse creators as a first principle.

It sounds like you want to emcompas the job of the DAO as a whole in one guild. “A group bringing in Developers, Designers, Marketers, Writers, and Product people all working to ensure that the Developer DAO is building the correct products that tackle the very real problems we are facing, and the great opportunities we have in front of us.”

A group bringing in Developers, Designers, Marketers, Writers, and Product people all working to ensure that the Developer DAO is building the correct products that tackle the very real problems we are facing, and the great opportunities we have in front of us.

I dont think one guild should be in charge of this, but rather the DAO as a whole. I suggest a team that helps foster this relationships and facilitates conversations around the core products of each season. It doesn’s mean that the team scope is only within the development guild, but that it should be housed there as it is where the products will be incubated in the first place.

We are still at season 0 and we want to create a new guild when the current guilds have not even been in place for a full season. I say we try it as a team for a cycle and if through experience we see this is not prominent enough then we create the guild. People voted for an structure not so long enough, we should at least give it a try.

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While I think that your argument is certainly valid, the argument of This idea but smaller is not one I see succeeding. This is an organization of 5000+ developers and is very quickly going to grow with the lauch of Season 1. To suggest "a team that helps foster this relationship and facilitates conversations around the core products of each season” does not portray confidence that they would be able to accomplish what you intend them to do.

I certainly understand your hesitancy here as it is about change, but it isn’t the time for the DAO to be timid. Would a team be able to establish what a Guild would be able to do? I don’t believe so.
This is a question of legitimacy, just as the Governance Guild has legitimacy, just as the Design Guild has legitimacy.

Yes, we are in Season 0, and Guilds have been established, a newsletter has been launched, amazing conversations have been held and a series of projects have been started. We are now considering Season 1, where this DAO has the opportunity to establish legitimacy within the Web3 ecosystem, and with that comes the responsibility to seriously consider what it needs to do to do so.

Let’s approach Season 1 with the confidence that there is a Guild, one that ANY Developer DAO member can join, dedicated to ensuring this DAO makes the impact it promised to do so.

can’t agree more,what a good idea

I think there might be some misunderstanding around the responsibilities of the proposed guild. The product guild is not supposed to decide everything the DAO does, but it exists to help making sure the use of resources (in this case human resources, specially developers) are made in the most efficient way, and in the best interest of the DAO.

I’m not fully onboarded on how the other guilds will work (sorry, kind new here), but IF there will be main objectives for the DAO as a whole, the guild coordinates efforts to achieve the objectives. It does not decide what should be built, it just highlights what are the main opportunities to be tackled so product teams can be formed to tackle them.

Reinforcing, it is not about decision, it is about coordination and reducing risk of human capital waste.

My sense is that people are trying to do this in a number of ways and it needs to done with a focus on how each team can funnel contributors to productive outcomes. A dao wide product strategy that’s coordinated by a product guild feels a little counter intuitive to me. I have heard people throwing around the idea of having an operations guild with similar objectives. I think it’s all coming from more corporate ideas of an org over open source community inspired.

Having said that, the work we’ve been doing in mbd means that we have a bunch of partners that we’re ready to get funding and support from to collab on things, which we hope the dao will deliver and I’m worried the initiatives won’t be there or up to par. So keen to have product leadership, just believe that core dao initiatives and projects started randomly by community members should sit in the same place.

@drop_knowledge - I see that you’re leading on the job board project, which sits as an initiative in the development guild. think I’d rather see that and product and growth people guiding each intiative that anyone picks up and leads on than a DAO wide product strategy.

as I’ve said before. I also don’t think you should need buy-in on this. if you want to setup a guild and people want to join it to achieve an outcome then you should be able to do that and ask for funding for a specific set of things, deliver, and if there is value then continue to get funded by the DAO. If development guild doesn’t want product guild input then they can just ignore it. the only reason I keep pushing back on this is I keep seeing people use the term “coordination” in way that just ends up meaning management and think this isn’t going to be the most productive path forward for DAOs.

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We have a small DAO of experienced Product Managers who are learning web3 fundamentals by building a DAO together. Our goal is run a Web3 for Product Managers event in April to demonstrate our learning and to recruit more product managers into the DAO.

Is there an opportunity to collaborate or work together on this?

I was researching how other professional DAOs are organizing and y’all are the best I’ve found so far.

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I’ve been thinking about this initiative. It’s very interesting, but agree that due to the existence of DEv Guild, it’s hard to find a definite space for it in it’s current version.
However, happy to brainstorm ideas to implement some of the concepts here.
1- Guilds currently have a murky relationship with products and projects, and generally there is no clear support and ownership of those initiatives. Perhaps moving this initiative to a specific “Building DAO Products” (for example) may help as a seed, and grow from there.
2- Merge these concepts with Design Guild, and build from there.
3- Dev Guild’s teams are excellent starting points for these type of initiatives. Building Guilds from scratch now at D_D is complicated. Perhaps starting as a team would be a good idea.