Background: As introduced in this post, the Product Working Group recognizes that our current onboarding process is not scaling well or meeting the needs of our community, product team, or methodologists. We also recognize that we have room to improve the transparency of how products are launched and prioritized, as called out in our recent community survey results. This process aims to provide a clear, timely path to launch without sacrificing the quality and thoroughness of research required to launch a successful product.
PWG is on a path of continuous improvement, excited about new ideas and contributors (shoutout @edwardk, @abel, @Cavalier_Eth ) joining the group – and want the full Coop along on the journey! Huge thanks to @overanalyser who has co-led this process revamp and to @puniaviision for his context and support.
- Examined current product onboarding guidelines
- Conducted feedback interviews with methodologists. Aggregated & anonymized feedback can be found here.
- Note: Due to multiple ongoing conversations with DeFi Pulse on fee splits, future product launches, and more, I did not contact them for feedback, but welcome it here or on Discord!
- Drafted new and detailed onboarding guidelines, reviewed with PWG, POC leaders, and BDWG leaders for feedback.
Diagram/Flow chart of product launch process
a. Status: Complete
b. Link: Product Launch Process Overview - Google Docs
Revised Gitbook entry with highly detailed launch process
a. Status: Ready for community feedback
b. Link: New Product Onboarding Process - Google Docs
Revised Product IIP template
a. Status: Ready for community feedback
b. Link: New Product IIP Template - Google Docs
Documentation on various levels of engineering complexity
a. Status: Ongoing
b. Link: Product Feasibility Analysis - Google Sheets
Documentation of roles/expectations for Product, Engineering, and Methodologists
a. Status: Completed
b. Link: INDEXcoop idea to DG2 tracker - Google Sheets
Roadmap for current products in pipeline
a. Status: Not started, blocked by finalization of prior items
Key Points & Goals:
Due to the length of the documents, they unfortunately can’t be copied directly into this forum post. They are available to anyone to comment, and we welcome detailed comments in the Google doc (ie - what does this mean?) and higher-level or more strategic comments in the forum (ie- I don’t agree with this approach.) Important changes are summarized here for easy reading.
- Much more detailed launch process. A key point of feedback is that the launch process is unclear and methodologists are unsure of what is required of them to move forward, or how to set timing expectations between idea → launch.
- Better Methodologist support. Business Development has agreed to take a formal point-of-contact methodologist support role through DG2 to help methodologists navigate the Coop, introduce them to key stakeholders, and clarify any general questions or add context. (Thank you, BD!)
- Increase product requirements definition and create a formal PRD (Product Requirements Document) between DG1->DG2. We want to reduce surprises in the product launch process and ensure that outlining the work and requirements happens before DG2, so that the work can go smoothly in the launch process! This will also empower the community to vote on products with more context on the impact and effort it will take the Coop to deliver on them, and make sure that we are deploying our limited engineering resources towards the highest-potential products.
- Add liquidity assessment pre-DG2. This is intended to ensure that the product can launch as outlined with palatable fees for rebalances and swaps and there is enough underlying liquidity to support the product.
- Add an explicit Product Working Group signoff of the DG2 proposal. Similar to the point above, we want to make sure that everyone involved in launching the product is aware of the requirements, and they feel complete and reasonable to PWG, EWG, and methodologists.
- Re-institute quorum for DG1. Currently, any product can proceed to DG2 with a simple quorum-less majority. Quorum will remain relatively low (5%) but this will ensure that a product has enough support and depth to merit the work required for the DG2 process.
- Move towards a more iterative proposal process: If a product does not pass DG1 or DG2, we want to make explicit that this is a “not now” decision vs a “not ever.” We’ve outlined steps a methodologist can take to resubmit a product proposal in the future. (Thank you @thomas_hepner for your thoughtful feedback on this!)
- After discussions between PWG and BDWG, we’ve changed the fee split negotiation process so that the Product Working Group will be the formal Index Coop decision maker. PWG has the highest amount of context on the effort required to launch new products and thus can make an educated decision on fee split needed to support them.
We welcome feedback on this over the next week! If you’d like to chat directly, find me on Discord for a voice/video call (@catjam). After the feedback period, we would like to conduct a forum poll or Snapshot vote to formally institute this process on in-progress and future product launches. (Edited 9/10 for formatting)
@catjam @overanalyser @puniaviision Fantastic work on this!
As a methodologist, I really like what has been laid out in the #2 New Product Onboarding Process and #3 Revised Product IIP template. I have left detailed comments and questions in both of these documents.
Thank you for listening to my feedback and concerns - it is great to see PWG take that feedback to improve the Product Onboarding Process for methodologists.
cc: @snasps @Jo_K Would be great to get DFP’s input on #2 New Product Onboarding Process. I think there is a lot that DFP will appreciate, especially eliminating much of the subjectivity around onboarding and fee split negotiations which have been sources of frustration for both Titans of Data and DFP. These are well-thought out documents we can build upon in the Index 2.0 Methodologists Workshops.
Great to see this new process taking shape one step after the other, I believe these improvements make a lot of sense and I’m happy that some of them have been implemented already for the Robot Index onboarding !
I added some comments in document #2 (New Product Onboarding Process), which I thought I would share here as well to get the discussion rolling.
From my experience of recent weeks / month, I found the pre-DG1 product prioritization review conducted in 1:1 with a member of the PWG very useful, but something that both the methodologists and PWG should build upon more for the rest of the process (making it more than recommended ?).
In particular, this can be used as a guideline for the post DG1 checklist and help prioritizing / setting clear deadlines for the work to be completed when several products are going concurrently through the same process. With the view of re-instating a 5% quorum for the DG1 vote, this would also be a further help for the community to base its decision on.
On a separate note, I believe the “idea to DG2 tracker” is also a very good idea which should become a reference dashboard where the community is able to check the status and outcome of each step in the process at any time - notably during our weekly call. More regular updates could be done in collaboration between methodologists & PWG and should include deadlines as mentioned above, link to PRD, clear mention of prioritization score etc.
To finish, it would be very good to confirm in detail how these changes might affect the onboarding of each product still in the pipeline : taking iRobot as an example, nearly all steps have already been completed including the fee discussion with the BD team so is it only the case of preparing the final IIP as per the new template ?
Thanks again !
Hi, can you please confirm for me that “irobot” and “Robot Index” are two separate products?
The names seem very similar.
No. they’re the same product iRobot is the ticker / symbol we intend to use (similar to DPI, MVI or DATA) & the Robot Index is the name of the official product proposal (similar to DeFi Pulse Index, Metaverse Index or Data Economy Index)
just added a few comments – thanks for the nudge on the earlier call
This is an excellent, comprehensive proposal. I love how clearly defined your deliverables are. While I don’t have anywhere near enough context to add value here. I am 100% confident that this is necessary, adds and facilitates high-value workflow and I will vote for on the basis of the worldclass level of applied intelligence and collaboration going on here.
Amazing work @catjam and others involved. Love how the nuances are so well captured and the process looks much clearer and streamlined now with the new process flow, trackers and other documents in place. Looking forward to the product roadmap and PRD documents, would love to help in anyway possible, especially for incorporating a responsibility matrix in the PRD on division of marketing efforts between GWG and methodologists such as marketing KPIs, channel strategy and other activities for GTM and launch. cc: @MrMadila @LemonadeAlpha
Fantastic work on this @catjam.
From my perspective, a crucial goal for IC should be to empower PWG to exercise discretion over how resources are allocated, and what prospective products to prioritize. Empowering PWG to become a proactive unit that defines it’s own roadmap is essential for the sustainability of the Coop long-term, and will enable us to grow faster and succeed sooner in the short-term.
The new product onboarding process you have designed goes a long way towards achieving that.
With regards to your suggested change to make the PWG the decision-maker on fee split negotiations, I made some comments supporting that position. I want to share that here as well:
A challenge for PWG is prioritizing products among multiple methodologists competing for scarce resources. Being able to make decisions based on both feasibility and profitability will enable swifter decisions, a faster moving pipeline and possibly more favorable fee splits for IC.
Methodologists should compete for our resources.
Having that decision made externally to the product approval process, removes that opportunity for the PWG to exercise discretion on a crucial aspect of prioritization, and weakens the position of IC vis-a-vis methodologists.
Similarly PWG (with ENG) will be better positioned to actually evaluate the technical lift required for each product, which should be a central factor when considering fee splits.
At a minimum, this decision should be shared by PWG and BD.
Hi all, posting this to summarize some feedback in the Google doc and next steps. I will post separate comments on the items that we are still looking for feedback on, so that the community can create threaded responses! Tagging my co-owner @overanalyser to provide any additional details or clarity needed.
@Thomas_Hepner asked if this would be passed by IIP: Yes! As @overanalyser pointed out, we believe that’s the right step to formalize this as an IIP was used to add “Research” to the template and this is a more significant change.
Additional changes made:
- Incorporated a note that the community call is now a mandatory step, not optional (thanks @Matthew_Graham)
- Incorporated a note that the IIP needs to be live on the forum for 7 days before a vote is held (thanks @gregdocter )
- Work Team Analysis: Moved this to the last step in the pre-DG2 process. There has been tension between the WTA and Methodologists because of mis-set expectations around this process. It is positioned as a concurrent step, but actually is dependent on completion of all other steps in the process. Also clarified a standard 3-day turnaround time for this analysis with a 24-hour review period by methodologists.
- Deleted a reference to the Methodologist Fee Menu in the section about fee negotiation. This was not ratified and should not serve as a guide. Multiple comments from @Matthew_Graham @Thomas_Hepner and @gregdocter were helpful here!
@Monportefeuille pointed out that a preliminary Work Team Analysis was used for iROBOT before DG1 and he found it very helpful. The DATA methodologists (Thomas and @Kiba ) also noted that they found this useful. I made that change to add it to the pre-DG1 process.
- Receive more feedback on the items below
- Update flow charts based on changes above (document #1)
- Separately, proceed with efforts to formalize Liquidity Analysis, and make Work Team Analysis more scalable as product pipeline grows
- Proceed to IIP in the next week. Goal to have IIP live before the end of September!
@afromac noted that it might be helpful to have a structured process/template for the community call, while @overanalyser thought there was merit to letting the methodologists drive. Thoughts from the community??
Feedback needed: Liquidity Analysis
We’ve added a liquidity analysis step in the process, but are not sure if it’s applicable or useful to leveraged products. Tagging @afromac for his thoughts!
We’ve added the liquidity analysis step mentioned above, though have yet to define a template for liquidity analysis and expectations from the Coop and methodologists wrt providing seed liquidity. (Good comments from @DarkForestCapital, @Matthew_Graham, @Thomas_Hepner). I personally feel like this is necessary but out of scope for this product onboarding revamp. Would the community be ok with us moving forward, and agreeing to create a liquidity template in the next 30 days?
Feedback needed: Negotiating Power on Fee Splits
There’s a lively discussion in the Google comments led by @Matthew_Graham and @Thomas_Hepner about whether the PWG should have negotiating power over the fee split, and what should happen if members of the community disagree with the proposed split. There’s a call for more transparency and a clear structure or guide to the negotiation process. Would love some more community feedback here! We feel that PWG is most informed of the costs and benefits of the product and thus should have the power to negotiate on behalf of the Coop. @gregdocter noted the potential to form a small committee (like MetaGov) to review/approve the proposed fee split.
My main thought here would be that there is a minimum amount of time that is allocated as open questions for the community.
@catjam I do not think my point of view on negotiating fee splits was accurately captured so I’ll clarify here.
I don’t believe that the existing process for negotiating fee splits works. @setoshi captures a lot of the problems I see in the incentive dynamics between other Index Coop stakeholders and methodologists in An Analysis of Methodologist Incentive Dynamics.
I am not in support of a shift in responsibility for fee split negotiations from BDWG to PWG. I do not believe that shifting this responsibility will solve any of the current problems in the process or incentive dynamics.
I am in support of:
- increased transparency
- developing objective guidelines for product fee splits (Methodologist Fee Menu as an example of what could be designed or implemented)
- overhauling methodologist incentives
Determining fee splits is frustrating because:
Process is slow and inadequate: No directly responsible individual or working group with community buy-in.
Process is arbitrary and unfair: Methodologist fee split is 30% for every simple index product despite widely ranging degrees of effort and resources provided by Index Coop and methodologists.
No negotiations are actually taking place: Fee split offers are being made without anyone being empowered for a give-and-take conversation - hence no actual negotiation is really taking place. The fee split offers for simple indices are always 30%/70% regardless of what the methodologist and Index Coop offer during the process, and as far as I know, there is no process for changing future fee split based on what different parties have brought to the table over time.
New products are at substantial disadvantage in the Methodologist Bounty Program: This has been discussed ad-nauseum to the point of exhaustion and so I will not go into details here.
cc: @snasps @Jo_K @Mringz @fallow8 @oneski22 @TheYoungCrews
Thanks so much for clarifying/expanding @Thomas_Hepner – I did not do a good job of summarizing your google doc comments!
Fee splits have been a very hot topic lately. I’m of two minds relating to this exercise:
1 - the current situation is not working, and we should make an incremental step towards improving it (proposal to move negotiation to PWG from BDWG)
2 - the current situation is not working, has many stakeholders involved, and is such a complex topic that it should be out of scope for this process revamp
Leaning slightly towards the 2nd.
Hi @mel.eth / @sixtykeys – can we schedule this for a vote starting Monday Oct 11?
This vote should be to ratify the new IIP template & institution of DG1 quorum at 5% (IIP template linked here) – rest of the changes should be out of scope for the vote, but good to go!
Thanks to everyone who participated in review & feedback on this process. This is just the beginning – we’ve onboarded some absolutely fantastic talent onto PWG who are going to keep building & iterating on this!
A vote will be called (above) to ratify the new IIP template and institute a 5% quorum for DG1 – an appropriate step as the pipeline for new products continues to balloon!
The remainder of the changes are already being rolled out, and we’re excited to keep launching awesome products together
Thanks for leading this @catjam - it’s a great step forward.
Hi @catjam - just want to give some context on the process to move this forward. Ideally the portions of the discussion that you’re looking to formalize will be drafted up via the IIP template, found here. Given that there are two questions being asked of the community, you may want to consider two IIPs. Once the IIP(s) are in a format that is suitable for snapshot, they can be posted to the forum with ‘Draft’ in the title and after 48+ hours of discussion you can call for a vote, at which point the title will change from ‘Draft’ to ‘Proposed’, an IIP number will be assigned and no further changes can be made. More on the process here and any of the gov reps can help walk you through the process as well.
Sorry to be a bit of a stickler, but the post itself is what gets ported to snapshot, so any clarifications within the comments need to get edited into the post ahead of the call for a vote. Snapshot will link back to the forum, but the goal at the ‘Proposed’ stage is to have a snapshot-ready post. I recognize that the available documents providing guidance on the process are a bit scattered - now that we have a WG dedicated to Gov Ops we’ll be getting some 1-pagers together making the idea-to-IIP process more clear (much like you’re doing here for the product-specific IIPs).
cc: @sixtykeys @Mringz