Streamlining Coordination - Tooling

TL;DR We need a project management tool in order to asynchronously coordinate amongst different teams, to reduce duplication of effort, and allow anyone to easily jump on board to contribute to Yearn. If others feel that they agree, the next step is to decide on closed source services vs open source. I’m a fan of the latter for the reasons described below due to considerations of cost, vendor lock-in, and contributing back to the open-source ecosystem.

Hey all,

(Copying the below from discord)

I’m not sure if this has been answered already or posted about but do we have a semi-organized Todo List / Kanban board for everything that is currently going on? We often get a lot of similar suggestions (which is great!) but it would be even better if we can get everyone on the “same page” in more ways than one, where we can expand on topics rather than post similar variations of the same.

(I know there are some hackmd docs floating around but the PM in me knows a quick visual map of what we are working on, what we’re blocked on, what’s in the pipeline etc can provide us with outsized benefits)

Not sure how others feel re: tooling but I would be open to trying open-source tools especially if it creates a feedback loop wherein it creates value for the OSS ecosystem(whether financial or direct code contributions, one coming to mind being Kanboard (it is self-hosted and we won’t run into issues regarding cost/user/month). As an aside as I find it a shame there isn’t a true open source/decentralized standard for project/product management(gitcoin grants when?). That said, the functionality of such tools should not compromise our ability to coordinate/deliver and as such we should strike a good balance so I’m definitely interested to hear what others have to say (if this means that the core teams find it easier to work using established/traditional tools such as Trello/Asana then I’m all for it too, just want to ensure everyone who wants to contribute can while minimizing our costs of operations).

I think the community as a whole has shown they are very committed to help so my philosophy has always been, whether professionally or personally, to facilitate this and then get out of the way.

Our imperative should be to make it as easy for anyone, technical or not, to contribute to the Yearn ecosystem. Ideally, I envision Yearn to be the “alien dreadnought” of DAOs, where emergent behavior arises to grow Yearn and its environment (recursively) in ways we could not imagine.

Rationale:
Having worked as a Product/Program/Project Manager for a number of years in companies ranging from stealth mode 5 person startups to larger corporations, I can say from experience that adequate communication between teams/areas of responsibility has been one of the major keys to maintaining or increasing forward velocity while maintaining quality(and most of all keeping everyone happy & engaged). While we have not yet begun to experience true growing pains I am beginning to see signs of it on the forums(great ideas that dead end and get buried, duplicated work, people wanting to contribute but not knowing where to start, etc).

As we grow and consequently develop ad-hoc organizational strategies, we may inadvertently silo ourselves preventing cross-pollination/diffusion across our various ‘subdivisions’. Transparency is paramount, especially so in nascent fluid/flat DAO-democracies as everyone is understandably skeptical of any impositions of power and influence which could undermine. This is a good thing. We can empower all the members of our DAO by providing a structure by which we all understand the direction we are heading and maybe in doing so can also find gaps others didn’t see.

Anyone joining our community should immediately be able to dive in and begin contributing without needing to read hundreds of pages of forum posts to know if they are duplicating effort or if it’s something that hasn’t be mentioned before.

So with all this fluff aside here are some options (I have no affiliation to the projects mentioned):

  1. Closed Source: Trello, Asana, Pivotal , Jira
  • Pros:
    • Familiar, have polished UIs, and bug free so contributors can hit the ground running
  • Cons
    • Cost usually is $/user/month which limits our contributor pool
    • User board limitations based on cost which then limits who can
      be involved
  1. Open Source: Kanboard / Wekan (others?)
  • Pros:
    • Prevent vendor lock-in
    • Own our data
    • Contribute to Open Source (wait are these pros beginning to sound familiar)
    • “Free” (no user costs only those for self hosting until a decentralized solution comes along hint hint)
    • Extensible / Customizable with benefits that spill over to overall OSS community
  • Cons
    • Operational overhead: We need to self-host / some maintenance / time needed there. Anyone have a spare server?
    • Not as feature-filled as other commercial platforms

Middle ground: Zenhub Extension but this requires creating additional github repos/granting permissions we likely wouldn’t comfortable with.

In any case, having the most pertinent information allows us to push in the same direction regardless what solution we choose. In the spirit of open source and supporting the ethos which continues to drive us forward, I’m leaning towards an open-source solution such as Kanboard (https://kanboard.org/), docs (https://docs.kanboard.org/en/latest/user_guide/index.html) as it has an extensible interface (via plugins https://kanboard.org/plugins.html) which means we can customize it to our heart’s content. If the theme has you down we can make our own or use this one https://github.com/kenlog/Nebula . I’m not married to it though and would be more than happy to hear what everyone else thinks but I do think we should consider this sooner rather than later.

Arcturus

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We set up GitHub project boards for the Maker community. It works well with a crypto-native demographic; easily discoverable, not a huge lift for non-technical people.

The deep integration into GH also allows for pretty decent document management and it also serves as a good hosting solution for docs, proposals, etc.

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I second this as an option. It will be pretty easy to coordinate around and would live next to everything else in the https://github.com/iearn-finance repo.

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+1
This is the best option

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Guess its time to learn.

As a non software PM, definitely agree with the OP though. Hopefully I can contribute in any way.

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My vote is for GitHub Project Boards.

Seconded. It’s not a steep learning curve for non-technical dumbies like me

Perfect! Glad to hear there’s consensus here and definitely seems appropriate. This way we can also automatically move some of the tasks to “done” once they’re completed(especially those hackmd PRs). I’m not sure who to tag here to get this going for the various repos/initiatives which exist (starting with https://github.com/iearn-finance/docs since it seems easiest to start there) or if there’s something in the pipeline already for this.

Apologies for the tag @Substreight or @tracheopteryx but would either of you know anything/have access to adding “Projects” to our github repos(or creating a community repo similar to what Maker has which has many projects within it https://github.com/makerdao/community/projects ) to begin coordinating efforts on GH itself (instead of ad-hoc todos posted on forums/discord/trello etc)?

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Looks like the consensus seems to be towards Github project boards. My experience has been with stuff like Monday or Trello which is why I first suggested them when I first came on as the editor/PM for the docs.

I have no problem overcoming a learning curve if there’s a proven demand for it.

If I have to pay for additional trello users, so be it. Honestly I think there should be a separate slack channel, etc. We’re basically trying to make a wiki here, and it’s going to take effort from a small group of people that put in a lot of effort, as well as a lot of people who put in little effort.

Often see paralysis analysis with a lot of community efforts i’ve been a part of, where it’s easy to get caught up in finding the “right” way to do things when it would already be just done if we well, just did it lol.

Regardless, I’m a fan of keeping things the way they are - I think efforts should be towards creating the content.

Access/easier availability should be a priority sure - but not at the expense of content output (esp. right now IMO).

Most volunteers are passionate in the Discord and will be able to overcome Trello if they’re handling smart contracts lol.

TLDR: IDC what we do, but decisions shouldn’t be made simply because solution A is better than solution B. First should we condense all the info? Create a separate forum? Getting rid of all barriers of entry will likely cost more in terms of time and opp. cost.

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Having experienced this before in other companies, waiting until there’s proven demand (although I think there already is - not demand but needs as outlined above) would make transitioning over the workflows/processes orders of magnitude more onerous when we eventually have to. It would really be in our best interest to have our various projects/tasks in one place so that newcomers/contributors can immediately begin contributing. For example, as of right now visiting the docs repo https://github.com/iearn-finance/docs, one has no idea how to contribute or what is currently ongoing w.r.t work in progress/backlog.

As for you paying for Trello I really respect that but I think the expectation shouldn’t be that individuals should have to pay especially when the tools already exist natively.

I agree that effort should be placed on creating content but I don’t think that migrating the Trello cards to the Github project would be that laborious especially at the stage we are at now. If it is I’ll personally volunteer to migrate over the cards myself(manual or automatic as for the latter I see there are tools which exist to migrate from Trello to GH Projects). Using Github Projects instead of Trello would not detract away from creating content but the longer we wait to do so and the longer the backlog builds up the harder(and more confusing) it will be to do this later.

Most volunteers are passionate in the Discord and will be able to overcome Trello if they’re handling smart contracts lol.

It’s not a question of overcoming Trello, it’s about organizing our efforts in one place to facilitate contributions. Additionally it’s about fostering an environment of openness and accessibility which is what Yearn is predicated on. Github is one of, if not the best places for that as it’s where our code lives.

Not sure what is being referenced here but this thread is suggesting a tool for streamlining work in the Yearn ecosystem mainly from a PM standpoint wherein Github Projects seems to be the most agreeable/useful option. The opportunity cost and cognitive overhead nightmare of managing various different tools/disparate areas to know what’s going on will cost Yearn far more than it will to start relatively greenfield.

In the meantime, I welcome other thoughts but the sooner we migrate over to a consolidated system, the less we will have to worry about future migrations. Maker using Github Projects makes me extremely optimistic as I consider it one of the most well oiled DAOs, no doubt due to the effort of their organizational practices.

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