STOP - Read this more refined post instead: Revised Cultivation Trunk Strategy Proposal
Lately there has been some discussion of whether we as a project should put energy and focus into expanding. This would have repercussions for most Branches in the project, both outward facing and inward facing. It’s been voiced (and from the Cultivation Trunks especially) that we would be damaged by anything that resulted in a very large influx of contributors or users because our foundation isn’t good enough to handle the stress yet.
That raised the question; when would we be ready? What would need to happen so that we would enthusiastically welcome a surge of growth?
This topic attempts to identify the work that could be achieved specifically within the Cultivation Trunk and from Cultivation’s perspective to help our internal community be prepared for growth.
Frankly, I invite every Trunk/Branch to evaluate the problem as described in “The Problem” section below and reflect on what their answers to the other section’s questions would be. Perhaps even write your own discourse topic.
Some resources that may be useful to have a basic understanding of while reading this topic:
- Release Rhythms Topic <— Describes the concept of Release Rhythms
- How to Start a New Project in SourceCred Topic <— Outlines the formula this topic uses to explore these ideas
- Cultivation Meeting 10/21 Notes <— Notes for the meeting that immediately proceeded the creation of this topic.
Note that this topic is specifically outlining the goals only for Cultivation Trunk, and only in regard to this next meta-phase of prepping for expansion.
We would be overwhelmed by a large influx of new participants to the internal community, and our Trunk would not feel comfortable with the idea of actively seeking new participants without big improvements in the onboarding and general functions of our community.
What is the issue or problem we want to fix with our idea?
- Our community is not able to skillfully manage a large influx of SC participants.
Why is it important to resolve this issue or problem?
- Newcomers who try to join our community could be unsupported and lose the chance to make needed contributions to SC, or get hurt via lack of support.
- Our community culture could be lost in the flood of newcomers who do not understand how we do things here and why.
- The ways we organize our labor are very difficult to understand, which could cause unaligned/uninformed contributions.
- Without clarity in both culture and procedure, we could be vulnerable to gaming that doesn’t get seen or addressed until it blows up.
How urgent is this issue, and approximately how long do we have to work on it?
- This issue is only as urgent as our likelyhood of “blowing up” or having a sudden large influx of newcomers to the community/project.
- There has been some consensus on not pursuing expansion (especially in the ecosystem, but also in our internal community) opting instead to just flow with the natural slower rate of expansion. Therefore, it’s suspected that we will not need to deal with a large flood of people until we decide to encourage growth.
- We’re unsure how long this kind of work would take to finish as we’re still learning how to organize ourselves. I would assume at least a few months for such a large undertaking.
Is our idea feasible within this timeframe?
- Seeing as the timeframe is flexible, we will take this time to also practice Release Rhythms and learning more about how much time our goals take to accomplish.
- Create a very fluid, accessible, and wholehearted experience for the newcomers naturally joining our community.
- Create a cultural environment within Cultivation that supports current contributors as individuals with needs, and makes working together effectively easy to do.
What are we trying to achieve, and what are our overall goals while working on our idea?
- We’d like to bring Cultivation as a Trunk to the point where we function well enough and are prepared enough to gladly encourage intentional expansion of our community’s size.
- We’d like to help the community as a whole be in a cultural/emotional state that could easily support an influx of newcomers without losing our culture.
- Help foster an experience of effective collaboration throughout the project that makes our teams run smoothly so that they can respond to the unexpected changes that come with expansion.
What is the simplest way we can say that goal?
- We want to create a state of strong culture, effective collaboration, and clarity of purpose for contributors new and established before any rapid expansion.
Does our stated mission conflict with the larger missions of the initiative or project branch we’re working within? How about with SourceCred’s overall stated mission?
- No. I think the stated mission of collaboration, healthy culture, and slow/intentional growth is aligned with SourceCred’s vibe and unspoken intentions.
The Success Condition
We as the Cultivation Trunk are able to enthusiastically welcome the idea of rapid community expansion without reservation, based on the health of our community.
What will it look like when we’ve achieved our mission?
- The Cultivation participants will no longer get those stricken faces in meetings where PR and far-reaching recruitment of any kind get brought up. Aka, the mention of expansion will be met with a resounding “sounds great!” from the Cultivation crew.
What definitely needs to happen before our identified problem is solved?
- Onboarding needs to be fleshed out and functioning
- Platforms need to be easy to use.
- Work needs to be eas(ier) to pick up or suggest.
- Our culture and values need to be explicitly and implicitly communicated/understood.
- Work procedures are clear and easy to partake in and improve our effectiveness.
How will we know when to pop the (figurative) champagne?
- When everyone is working together smoothly, and we feel solid in our community culture.
When will we be able to say we’ve finished this project/this idea has come to fruition?
- When the culture and internal operation can withstand a large influx of participants.
Are our identified success conditions realistic and achievable?
- I think this is a very large goal, but I do think it is realistic, achievable, and necessary. Taking the time to have solid roots now could keep our tree (and our ecosystem) from falling over once we’re large.
Bandwidth is an issue, so we’ll first need to spend a bit of time focused on bringing a few more people into the Cultivation Trunk. Then we’ll focus on a deeper evaluation/repair of Operations, Values/Conduct, and Onboarding for the project overall.
What are the different ways we could tackle this problem?
- Focus shallowly on onboarding within the Cultivation Trunk specifically. Then recruit more contributors and onboard them in for the following rhythms?
- Focus deeply on tuning operations and the ways we work together as an internal community.
- Focus deeply on the culture, expectations of behavior, and value alignment within the community and how to maintain it/teach it to newcomers.
- Focus deeply on building an onboarding flow that takes the whole project into consideration.
What are the big-picture steps (Release Rhythms) to get from having the problem, to our success conditions?
- Cultivation Onboarding Prep - Create a good flow and onboarding strategy for just the Cultivation Trunk.
- Cultivation Outreach - Recruit and onboard some additional Cultivation contributors to support us in the coming work.
- Community Operations Get our ops in order across the project so we all know how to work effectively together and our platforms are being used well.
- Community Values & Culture - Identify the foundation of our culture and create both the explicit and implicit understanding of our values/action accessible and widely understood.
- Community Onboarding Prep - Use the up to date systems/procedures from Operations, and the deep/wide understanding of our culture from Care to then put the effort into creating a powerful onboarding experience across the project.
How will we determine who takes responsibility for each part of this big-picture strategy?
- Each Cultivation Branch Lead will be responsible for seeing how their Branch interacts/intersects with the stated goal of each of the “big picture steps” listed above and making a plan to execute on their goals for each Release Rhythm. They will of course have direct 1:1 support from the Cultivation Trunk Lead, and group support.
How will our team communicate about this project and keep track of the big-picture strategy as time goes on?
- Each of the numbered “big picture steps” will have at least one Cultivation Trunk Release Rhythm dedicated to it. Release Rhythms have built in times for group and 1:1 communication/brainstorming/support/feedback regarding goals.
The Tactics: RR #1 Only, “Cultivation Onboarding Prep” as an Example
Below is a Release Rhythm template that has been filled out to outline only the first goal of creating an onboarding flow for Cultivation specifically. Each of the larger steps in the Strategy section will have their own specific RR template filled out.
What are the step by step actions we need to take to execute the strategy?
- Trunk Lead writes a proposal topic for the first Release Rhythm (Cultivation Onboarding).
Creation Phase (1:1s as needed)
- Trunk-wide meeting: Discuss the theme of Onboarding for Cultivation specifically, and identify Branch-specific goals to spend the RR on.
- Planning: Branch Leads plan and prepare for their goals related to bringing more people into the Trunk.
- Creation of Content: Branch Leads work on a basic and functional version of their goals.
- Trunk-wide meeting: See what content evolved and whether it’s aligned/useful/well crafted enough to move forward with.
- Break 1
Review Phase (1:1s as needed)
- Implement/Beta Release: Expend the energy to try and outreach/onboard one or two newcomers to the Cultivation Trunk (maybe someone who is already in the community or looking to start contributing already). Take note of difficulties and successes.
- Review and Polish: make any necessary changes and polish up content based on feedback from implementing. (may or may not be switched or simultaneous with Implement).
- Trunk-wide meeting: Discuss the test with creators and the onboarded newcomers and determine if we’re ready to bring in a few more Cultivation newcomers.
- Community-wide Release:** Combine some of our findings into a documented process that other Trunks/Branches can use as reference for their own onboarding improvements.
- Trunk-wide meeting: reflect on how the RR went as a whole, what we learned, what we’d change for next time, etc.
- Break 2
Repeat this process for each of the 5 “big picture steps” outlined in the Strategy Section above.
What materials or resources will we need?
- Bandwidth of the 3 Cultivation Leads.
- Emotionally intelligent people who want to join the Cultivation Trunk as contributors.
Are there any roadblocks or dependencies I need to wait on before taking action?
- Feedback on this proposal from those inside Cultivation and our TBD.
Are there any parts of my section of the strategy that we don’t know how to accomplish?
- I believe this is all something that I/we can figure out. Curious to hear from my Branch Leads with the assumption that I will be available to support you.
How long do I predict it will take us to prepare and execute the tactics for RR #1 Cultivation Onboarding?
- It’s difficult to predict as this is our first attempt at using Release Rhythms. My intention is for us to take the time we need to accomplish each phase before moving on to the next using loose deadlines/predictions to keep us motivated.
Comment Feedback Requests
Please comment on this topic with your answers to these questions and/or additional feedback. Request to make responses constructive, offer alternatives if you disagree with something outlined here.
- Does this proposal for Cultivation Trunk make sense? (regardless of whether you agree with it)
- If not, please ask specific questions, and I’ll do my best to respond.
- Do you agree with the Strategy of shallow onboarding first, then deeper dives into each of the 3 Branches? If not, what is your alternative suggestion?
- Do you think this strategy is feasible, or does it ask too much?
- How long do you assume it’ll take Cultivation to achieve these overarching goals of being ready for community-wide expansion?
- Any other specific feedback or questions or praise.
WOW THAT WAS A LONG DOC! CONGRATS! YOU MADE IT! Thanks for reading y’all. ~