The Future of Engineering at the Index Coop

Last week we identified the specific blockers preventing Index Coop product launches. That post dealt with the near term tactical next steps regarding automating product rebalances to unblock the Index Coop from launching new products and AUM growth.

Since then, we’ve begun to address those issues in the following ways:

  • Begin documenting all technical operations relating to the Index Coop
  • Begin consolidating tech ops work into a dashboard to hand over to the Index Coop on the Set Labs side
  • Start forming a technical ops team on the Index Coop side

The original post leaves unanswered questions about the roadmap, vision & the future of engineering at the Index Coop. Upon further reflection in the community, there appears to be appetite and urgency in answering these questions now.

This post attempts to frame & answer the following questions:

  • How are engineering resources currently organized?
  • What are the structural weaknesses of our current organization?
  • How can those weaknesses be addressed?

How are engineering resources currently organized?

Right now, Set Labs is the primary technology provider and a mission critical dependency for the Index Coop.

Here’s what the Index Coop is currently handling:

  • Deploying monthly contributor rewards
  • Funding liquidity mining rewards
  • Paying out methodologist rewards
  • Ad-hoc non-protocol work like INDEX Sale execution
  • Updates to
  • Recommending FLI parameter updates

Here’s what Set Labs is currently handling:

The Index Coop is in the process of being onboarded to technical operations but any new product launches require Set Labs involvement and is subject to its internal roadmap & priorities.

What are the structural weaknesses of our current organization?

Our organizational layout is suboptimal in a number of ways:


Visibility into Set Labs’ internal processes & decision making is low. This can be frustrating because mission critical resources are being allocated behind closed doors. The Index Coop rarely has satisfying answers to: What exactly is blocking? What trade-offs were made to reach our current priorities? How can the community help unblock these resources?

Low Cost Awareness

The costs of launching & maintaining products have been abstracted away from the Coop giving a false sense of abundance. Even simple tasks such as executing metagovernance votes can be time-consuming in our current process architecture.


We (the Index Coop) cannot confidently set our own priorities & roadmaps because of the Set Labs dependency. The black box of Set Labs’ decision making can interrupt the product/feature development process at any stage. Only those with high context around Set priorities can effectively navigate the space of feasible work. We’ve seen Index Coop working groups evolve around these black box processes out of necessity.

This is also suboptimal for Set, as it feels like its priorities are being dictated by the Index Coop. Set’s execution pipeline is being filled with commitments / priorities made by external parties with low visibility over the costs of their requests.

How can these weaknesses be addressed?

Engineering autonomy, its precise benefits, and the immediate value of those benefits have been widely discussed in the Coop and at Set. We now have clearer data and more confidence that engineering autonomy can solve or mitigate at minimum the issues described above. With a capable working group owning for the vast majority of Index Coop engineering work (e.g. product launch, maintenance, improvement) we stand to gain:

Increased Transparency

Visibility into the engineering prioritization process will be improved as meetings, roadmaps, and processes are public by default in the Coop. The groups that lead engineering resource allocation in the Index Coop are naturally accountable to the Index Coop & INDEX holders in a way that Set Labs engineering is not.

Better Cost Awareness

Increased transparency will give the Coop a more accurate understanding of the costs required to launch and maintain Index Coop products. This cost awareness will affect all working groups as the Coop can develop an intuition for the bar for high impact work that is prioritized by the engineering organization.

Reduced Dependency

As outlined above, engineering is the most obvious mission critical dependency the Index Coop does not have control over. With engineering brought in-house Index Coop can confidently set it’s own priorities, roadmaps and a long term vision for its future.

On the Set Labs side, there’s no desire to stop contributing to the Index Coop. We’re highly invested in the success of the Coop and will continue to contribute to the Index Coop as community members. However, we believe returning autonomy to both Set and the Index Coop will lead to clearer decision making, higher trust, and better results.

Next Steps

As per Engineering Constraints & Next Steps technical operations handoff remains the top priority for Set Labs & the nascent EWG team.

Besides that you can expect a follow-on post with a more detailed breakdown of the engineering capabilities Index Coop will need, and a framework for which of those capabilities make sense to develop first.


Awesome post @dylan - thank you for the hard work and leadership here over the past months. I know I echo the Index Coop community sentiment when I say “Dylan for CTO of the world!”

I’m glad we are tackling these problems head on. Set and IC is one of the most powerful partnerships in DeFi. Our two organizations working together in collaboration will enable incredible success for both.

Sometimes it feels like community members feel powerless when it comes to helping engineering because it is one of the verticals that requires the most context to understand and is the hardest to help out in simply from the nature of the work. I believe nothing could be further from the truth!

Building an engineering culture is something that everyone can help with. Whether it is simply learning more about the technical challenges, helping to design programs to attract talented young engineers (shoutout @Pepperoni_Joe ), or simply thinking outside the box on how to attract more talent in this area.

I also want to highlight the strong engineers like @0xModene who have stepped up and started to help us solve these problems.

We are all in this together- and even if all community members cannot directly contribute in this area we all have a responsibility to do everything possible to help our engineers in any way possible. :rocket::rocket::rocket:


Thanks for laying this out in an easy to understand way and for tackling such an important task Dylan. It feels like your position between IC and Set makes you the equivalent of a structural safety pin, joining the two entities together but also making sure they don’t collapse! I think we all recognise how much work and focus that requires, and your effort isn’t taken for granted.

Looking forward to the breakdown of capabilities in the next post to understand more about how EWG will manage the handover :+1:


Great post @dylan

The coop was founded by Set and benefitted hugely from that foundation, but it’s becoming clear (to me at least) that we are still too dependent on the Set Labs team for Engineering expertise.

So understanding the demands that we are making and the costs to Set is essential. Then we can focus on prioritisation and delegation as we grow the Engineering Workling Group.