The purpose of this post is to start a conversation about boundaries and expectations for work done by the Foundation Smart Contracts Team on behalf of the community. This is motivated both by recent discussions on the governance call around prioritization of work done by domain teams in general, and by the working experience of the Smart Contracts Team over the last few weeks.
The Smart Contracts Team must balance a number of different responsibilities:
- protocol improvements (e.g. Liquidations 1.2 and 2.0, Chief redesign for next-gen governance)
- operational work like collateral onboarding and weekly/monthly executives
- providing Smart Contracts expertise to both the community (e.g. reviewing proposals) and other teams within the Foundation
- creating as much automation and documented processes as possible to both allow us to do more now, and to make the ultimate dissolution of the Foundation feasible.
Our time is finite, and thus we must prioritize work with the ultimate success of the Maker protocol in mind. When working with the Smart Contracts Team, the community is encouraged to keep the following in mind:
- Explicitly prioritizing new requests relative to ongoing or already requested work is greatly appreciated.
- Clear and timely communication is critical; this has been highlighted by the confusion caused by adoption of the “base rate” in polling when crafting weekly executives. Whenever possible, defining explicit processes so that we know when, how, and from whom we should expect authoritative information is highly recommended.
- Distracted engineers are suboptimal engineers—consider whether input from the Smart Contracts Team is strictly required for your request.
- Some work items or requests will not be able to be prioritized quickly; in these cases, consider finding a way to implement them without relying completely on us (we may still be able to provide feedback even if we do not have the resources to implement a request). Grants may be available to fund such efforts (contact Amy Jung @amyjung).
For our part, we’re working on improving our internal organization and processes to maximize our own output per unit time. We’ll also be more proactive going forward about establishing communication procedures and boundaries (e.g. putting limits on last-minute requests for additions to the spell, which can greatly increase technical risk due to limited time for review and testing). We also hope to do more time-saving innovation like building automation and tools to accelerate recurring tasks (e.g. collateral evaluations, spellcrafting), although in the short term we’re essentially at our limit with project and operational work.