Proposal: SourceCred "Mission + Strategy Retreat"

It’s Time to Talk Intentionally about What We’re Doing (Again)


I’d like to propose that we spend the equivalent of a full day of intensive time working together to achieve alignment (not necessarily consensus) on key topics of high-level importance to our organization. While most of my shilling on the topic has focused on the “strategic roadmap” outcome, I agree with those who expressed a desire for pre-work on “Mission, Vision, & Values” at Friday’s Weekly Update; time spent together aligning on these topics is an important foundation for the “Strategy, Goals, & Priorities” conversation that our organization needs to have.

I also want to acknowledge that the proposal laid out below is ambitious in both scope and timing. As a PM, keeping time for our community at a high level is one of my most important commitments to the project. The proposal outlined below is a 6-part discussion that we should try to have in as close to a unified setting as possible. That is, it would be ideal if everyone who felt called to participate in this discussion could gather in person, in a cabin somewhere with lots of togetherness and few distractions, for an intensive full-day or even weekend-long retreat. While hopefully some day in the future (next spring?) that sort of activity will be possible, this type of alignment needs to happen on a recurring basis in order to keep pace with a growing organization — nowhere more so than in an open, porous community like SourceCred.

What is more important than having this “retreat” together IRL in the mountains somewhere, is creating a well-held space where we can come together with intention, be fully present, feel meaningfully heard, and achieve, if not consensus, at least alignment on key topics that we collectively face. That is, while we may not find unanimity on one or more of the topics outlined below, it is my hope that by the end of this series of workshops, we can achieve unified understanding of the clusters of opinions and priorities around each subject, in order to enable us collectively and individually to move forward with grace.


I’ve previously proposed the week of April 5-9 for this activity, which would give us two weeks to prepare; we could also do this the week of April 12-16. Scheduling it more than 3 weeks out is unnecessary and potentially detrimental to the focus we will bring to it; while we want time for all participants, and especially presenters, to prepare for our discussions, giving ourselves too much time both increases the pressure we put on ourselves and each other to prepare something super polished — which creates a lot of work and can inhibit meaningful discussion — and also paradoxically encourages us to postpone preparation for this far-in-the-future thing until, potentially, the last minute. Here’s a LettuceMeet for those first two weeks of April.


I propose that, in those first two full weeks of April, those of us committed to the project that is SourceCred, gather together for a total of 9 to 12 hours over the course of one to two days, to discuss the 6 following topics: SourceCred’s Mission, Vision, & Values (or our Why, What, and How) and our product Strategy, Goals, and Priorities (or our Funding, Target Users, and Features) for the next 18 months. For each topic, this proposal sketches out:

  • A brief description of the purpose of a workshop on that topic;
  • A proposal for what a desirable outcome of the workshop might be;
  • Nominations of two individuals who would be well-suited to lead content and/or activities for that session;
  • An idea of how general participants might prepare.

I welcome feedback on the high-level organization of this proposed series of workshops, and particularly seconds/counters/additions to specific points (e.g. nominations of speakers, refinement of goals, ideas for participant “homework”, etc).

Content & Facilitation

In proposing this retreat, I am volunteering to coordinate logistics and support the preparation of content. I am not nominating myself as facilitator. We have a few talented facilitators within our community who may be detached enough from strategy to serve us well; this would also be an excellent occasion to hire an external, professional facilitator. Nominations of facilitators would be appreciated.

For each workshop, the two co-presenters should be able to share brief, meaningful content and design a structured large or small group activity in order to set the tone for productive work together. Ideally in each 90-120 minute session, about half the time will be spent on presentations/activities, and half on group discussion, with ample opportunity for all participants to share their thoughts in both small-group and large-group settings.

A Proposed Outline for a Two-Part Retreat

Part I: Mission, Vision, & Values

Estimated timing: 4-6 hours

1. Mission (Why)

Why are we doing what we’re doing?

Purpose: To align as a community around the “Why” of SourceCred. What calls us to exist? Why do we show up time and again?

Desired Outcome: A clear and concise Mission Statement that we can add to our website and other documents. Ideally this is a one-to-five-sentence statement that achieves true consensus among the Core team and general agreement from all participants.

Presenter Nominations:

  • Seth
  • Bex

Suggested Preparation:

  • Each participant bring one sentence of what you think SourceCred’s mission is.

2. Vision (What)

Where are we trying to go?

Purpose: To re-center and clarify around our long-term vision for our product & community. What do we want SourceCred to look like in 5 years’ time?

Desired Outcome: A brief description of the shiny, polished, “full” version of SourceCred that we dream of existing in the future.

Presenter Nominations:

  • Kevin
  • LB

Suggested Preparation:

  • Write a paragraph describing what SourceCred will look like in 5 years.

3. Values (How)

How do we intend to go about getting there?

Purpose: We share so many values, but many of them are unstated. Reviewing together the values & agreements that have been documented in the past, discussing them openly and with vulnerability, and revising them as needed to reflect the true shared values & agreements of our growing organization, will help us to work together more peacefully and collaborate with fewer hiccups.

Desired Outcome: Ratification of a “one-page” community Values document; collaborative revision and ratification of a set of Community Agreements.

Presenter Nominations:

  • Joie
  • Jojo

Suggested Preparation:

  • Review the current SourceCred Values Miro Board. With which of the outlined values do you feel most strongly aligned? Are there any that surprise you? Is there anything you find confusing?

Part II: Strategy, Goals, & Priorities

Estimated timing: 4-6 hours

4. Strategy (Funding)

How do we plan to pay for the project after December 2021?

Purpose: Protocol Labs has generously committed $1M to our project, which at our current rate of expenditure is predicted to carry us through the end of 2021. Anticipating how we expect to fund the project going forward — by what means, at what levels, under what conditions — is an important prerequisite to setting goals and priorities vis-a-vis the communities and users we hope to serve, and the features we intend to build for them.

Desired Outcome: A clear plan for funding the project through 2022, including anticipated requirements that funding path may impose (e.g. developing features to meet investor demands, or prioritizing capabilities that will attract and retain certain types of communities in order to meet revenue goals). One plausible outcome is that we collectively commit to not worrying about funding, and allowing the project to move forward past 2021 with fewer resources, even at the risk of losing contributors or slowing development of new features.

Presenter Nominations:

  • Dandelion
  • Miguel

Suggested Preparation:

  • What is a metric that you would like to build into SourceCred’s strategic roadmap? How could we track, over time, some aspect of our product or community that reflects your sense of the organization’s true values?

5. Goals (Audience & Use Cases)

Who do we want to serve?

Purpose: There are many potential use cases for SourceCred, from the project’s original goal of serving Open Source communities to the possibility of appealing to activist groups, artist collectives, and other types of organizations. Given the possibilities and constraints of our funding path, how do we want to prioritize for whom we are building over the next 18 months?

Desired Outcome: Alignment on key “Org Personae” for SourceCred (not necessarily consensus agreement that we will build for one before another, but clarity around the options and the priorities of various contributors).

Presenter Nominations:

  • Thena
  • Hammad

Suggested Preparation:

  • Complete a User Persona worksheet for a use-case you hope SourceCred will be able to serve in the next 12-18 months.

6. Priorities (Features & Projects)

What do we want to build?

Purpose: We have so much we want to build, and hopefully we will build it all one day. Given all the work we’ve done to get to this point — discussing our mission and values, mapping out our strategy and goals — how should we prioritize the features that we realistically can build over the next 18 months? What does a version of SourceCred for wide release look like?

Desired Outcome: A consensus-ratified set of prioritized features (product) and projects (cultivation) for the next 12-18 months; multiple paths may be possible/not undesirable.

Presenter Nominations:

  • William
  • Faruk

Suggested Preparation:

  • Review project lists and timelines in Asana
  • What are 3 key features you think need to be included in “SourceCred 1.0” (a public beta release)?

Thank you to @topocount and @KuraFire for feedback on a draft of this proposal.


I don’t think I’m the right person for this right now. But I’m happy to counter-nominate @echojuliet to co-present.

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Super impressed by the organization of this! In-person also sounds great.

One questions is, will covid and/or geographic limitations limit us? I assume this would be somewhere in the Pacific Northwest? Social distancing with masks, etc.?

The current plan as outlined by EJ is that this is a virtual retreat for this initial version.

In the future, post-pandemic or at least when the prohibitive restrictions are lifted, we can do retreats and summits and CredCons in person.


Like Faruk said, this is going to be virtual (this year, at least). But I’m glad you raised the geo question because I would love to find a way to enable our EU timezone contributors to participate as well. No clear plan for that yet.


How can we make time for / set the container with connection? How can we relate beforehand such that taking care of business is easeful?

We’re just getting our bambi legs shakin’ on new calendar hours, meeting frequencies and content changing, timeline cred to credrank changes, and recovering from a shit ton of emotional labor dumped on many of us after the community call two weeks ago that has yet to be publicly acknowledged. It is more important to me to put time and effort into being accountable to our recent mistakes and pick up any dropped balls organizationally and interpersonally before this meta stuff that is also really important and being worked on at its own different paces.

That all being said, I’ve put my availability in the lettucemeet because if something dope is happening I want to be there and like Thena pointed out in the last core meeting, “there’s no bad trips”.

I’m game for this. I think whatever form it ends up taking, regardless of whether we get everything figured or not, let’s throw these topics against the wall and use our strengths as a conversation-oriented community to explore them.

With our growing size and attempts to shift some decision-making power outward, I think it’s a good time for us to come back together and reflect on these topics as a group. We can do more of them as time goes on and remove some of the pressure to get it all done at one workshop or have every single participant present for every conversation.

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We’re thinking about using to create a virtual setting that encourages the smaller, spontaneous conversations that happen when you get to be in-person.

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Thanks everyone for the questions and suggestions. I’m pleased to make a few announcements on the status of this proposal:


Based on responses to the LettuceMeet in the topic, the best times for our community are afternoons on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

In our “Office Hour” discussion this week, someone suggested breaking our topics across three days of workshop instead of two. I really like the way this will break up our collective cognitive and emotional work, so I’m proposing the following schedule for our retreat:

Mon April 12, 1p - 4p PDT 
Tue April 13, 1p - 5p PDT 
Wed April 14, 1p - 4p PDT

I’ll put a poll in Discord to give participants a chance to weigh in on variations to this proposed schedule, including pushing it to the following week.

Facilitation & Logistics

I’m very pleased to say that our own @ezraU has been nominated as Faciliator and has accepted the nomination. I have seen their skill holding space for our community in action and I believe they have both the context and the distance with regard to the project as a whole to hold this space well for us. Thank you Ezra for accepting the call.

I also want to thank @LB for offering to support facilitation & container creation. The three of us have formed a Retreat Planning Working Group to coordinate the work of creating this space and preparing to support participants. We’re looking into possibilities for designing a Gather space and other ways of creating closeness, providing opportunities for spontaneity within our structure, and generally supporting group work across these sessions. If anyone else feels a strong call to join us in this work, please get in touch with me on Discord.

Program Updates & Speaker Nominations

Here is the current state of our program with regard to workshop presenters, topics, & timing:


Mission: “Where are we coming from?”

  • @s_ben presenting a perspective on SourceCred’s mission over time
  • Bex accepted their nomination but their schedule won’t allow them to participate, so we are looking for someone to lead a workshop on co-creating a Mission Statement.
  • Est. duration: 85 minutes

Vision: “Where are we going?”

  • @LB and @topocount will co-facilitate a presentation/workshop with TBD content focused on our long-term vision for our product and community
  • Est. duration: 85 minutes


Values & Agreements: “What do we expect of each other?”

  • @joiecousins has agreed to lead a workshop on the Values and Community Agreements work they’ve already done & are doing.
  • Est. duration: 110 minutes

Strategy/Funding: “How will we keep going?”

  • @decentralion and @panchomiguel have accepted their nominations to speak on options for funding the project beyond 2021. While content is still TBD, it’s my hope that they will present distinct alternatives for us to consider together.
  • This discussion may be well served by adding another speaker! Please comment here or reach out to me on Discord to nominate yourself or someone else.
  • Est duration: 110 minutes


Goals/Audience: “Who are we trying to serve?”

  • @blueridger and @META_DREAMER have accepted their nominations to present/lead a workshop on types of users we should be targeting. Like a few other workshops, it is my hope that these two presenters will be able to take an opinionated stance on two distinctly different types of communities and their needs.
  • Est duration: 85 minutes

Priorities/Features: “What shall we build to achieve these ends?”

  • @KuraFire has accepted their nomination to present on SourceCred 1.0 design priorities.
  • William counter-nominated me to lead a roadmap prioritization workshop and I’m happy to accept.
  • Est duration: 85 minutes.
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I’m a little late to the game but have a strong feeling about the order of the proposed discussions - I feel that values discussion should come before the mission discussion. Without discussing values and unedrstanding where we converge and where we diverge in values I think a MIssion discussion will be scattered. I’ve done the values/mission process wirh 3 grassroots groups and one community and have had much more success with values conversation happening before mission.


Interesting perspective. My thinking was that our values have been documented already and that revisiting them would be more effective after some time spent thinking about SourceCred’s historical and evolving mission. For me the “mission” feels easier to reach than the values, but I can see how it could work either way. I’ll chat with the workshop leads about the schedule and see how they feel.

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