Hi yall! Welcome to our guild’s first RFC (Request For Comments) document!
In this RFC, I propose that we define a lightweight Champion-led, RFC-driven process to serve as the basis for high-level planning within our guild.
The proposed process attempts to help solve the following problems:
- Lack of direction and action
- Unclear path for bringing ideas to life
- Decision-making process is too centralized
In other words, the proposed process helps us go from this…
To explain the proposed process, I’ll answer the following questions:
- What is an RFC?
- Why are RFCs useful?
- What is a Champion?
- Why are Champions useful?
- What is a Champion-led, RFC-driven process?
- Why is this process important for the guild?
- How do we start this process?
- When should we use this process?
Before we dive into the proposal’s details, I want to emphasize that I view this process as a living experiment.
If we find that this process is confusing or isn’t working well, we can change it.
If we find that changing the process doesn’t help, we can come up with a new process.
If the DAO creates a process the achieves similar outcomes but in a way that works for all of the guilds, we can migrate to that process.
And so on.
This proposal is intended to be a way for us to start moving forward, not to solve all of our process needs past, present, and future.
An RFC is a document that proposes an idea.
An RFC serves as high-level documentation of the idea and the thinking behind it:
- what the idea is
- why the Champions think the idea is important
- how the Champions believe the idea should be executed
As an example, the RFC you’re currently reading documents these things in various pieces:
- what RFCs, Champions, and an RFC-driven process are
- why RFCs, Champions, and an RFC-driven process are important to us
- how we can implement the proposed process
- Prototyping an idea with words: rather than immediately diving into an idea, RFCs force Champions to first explore the idea, document it, and create a proposal for bringing it to life
- Mechanism for sharing context: RFCs provide the community with the information it needs to understand the proposal and provide feedback about it
- Feedback strengthens proposals: by opening an RFC to the public, the community is given the opportunity to help refine the RFC and shape its eventual outcome
- Serves as a historical record: capturing proposed ideas and community conversation around those ideas in a single format and location allows us to fully understand past decisions in the future
- Empowers members to take ownership in the decision-making process: members have a clear path for proposing their own ideas or for engaging with the proposals of others
A Champion is any guild member that takes ownership of an idea and follows the proposed process to make the idea a reality.
Champions are responsible for:
- Creating an RFC which defines the idea
- Managing community feedback to the RFC
- Responding to comments
- Working through problems, conflicts, etc.
- (optional) Adapting the RFC to account for feedback
- Leading execution
- Defining the work
- Delegating responsibilities to other members
- Ensuring the efforts align with RFC vision
- Keeping the community informed of progress
- Empowers users to take action: by defining this role (and the process it’s a part of), members are given a pathway to move forward with their ideas
- Provides ownership to members: giving Champions the autonomy to define their ideas and execute on them places members directly in charge of future direction
- Creates clear stakeholders: since Champions own the idea, they act as the ultimate arbiter for questions around decision-making, organization, whether contributor efforts align with RFC vision, etc.
At a high level, the proposed Champion-led, RFC-driven process follows four main steps:
Idea → RFC → Discussion → Execution
- Champions start with an abstract idea and define it as a concrete RFC proposal
- The RFC provides the community with enough information to understand the proposed direction
- The community is invited to provide feedback on the RFC, and the champions may adjust the RFC based on this feedback
- Champions lead execution of the proposal and update the community on progress
- Biased in favor of action: the process is about proposing a direction, refining that direction through community feedback, and then executing on it—it is not a request for permission to execute
- Autonomy: RFCs enable bottoms-up planning and decision-making
- Better decision-making: the Discussion step enables the community to provide guidance and perspective to the Champions in order to refine their idea and direction
Keep it lightweight to start: only two requirements
- post RFCs on our Discourse forum
- make sure your RFC provides detailed answers to the questions “What?”, “Why?”, and “How?’”
Learn as we go
- by starting with a lightweight process, we give ourselves room to grow in different directions as needs and/or problems arise
- we can collect feedback from Champions, contributors, and the community regarding our process in order to identify needs, pain points, etc.
- after we experience a few RFCs, we should consider creating a template to help guide Champions in creating an RFC
Become a Champion
- the foundation of this process is members becoming Champions for their ideas
- share your ideas and seek out other Champions to work on each idea with
- when ready to execute, seek out other members of the community that would like to help or want to learn skills that execution might teach
- if you’re not confident with your RFC or you’re not sure how to get started in writing one, reach out to the community and ask for help!
Become involved in RFC discussions
- RFCs are an opportunity for members to provide perspective, previous experience, recommendations, etc.
- Even if you don’t have anything to add about the idea, asking clarifying questions about the RFC can help refine it and provide clarity to other members
Become a contributor
- The “Execution” phase will likely require the effort of more people than just the Champions
- If an RFC sounds interesting to you or like a potential way to grow as an individual, offer to help in the RFC discussion or reach out to one of the Champions
We don’t need to use a Champion-led, RFC-driven process for every decision we need to make, but there are also many decisions where this process would greatly improve clarity and direction. The boundaries are abstract and would probably take more words than this entire RFC to think through, so let’s start with something simple:
We should use this process if:
- we’re proposing a new idea that affects the guild as a whole (new project, new team, new recurring event, etc.)
- we’re proposing a change to an existing idea that might affect the guild as a whole (pivoting a project in a new direction, changing the purpose of a team, etc.)
We probably shouldn’t use this process if:
- we’re proposing something specific to a single area of the guild (new feature or architectural decision for a project, creating a new documentation page for a team, etc.)