Release Rhythms Explainer


I noticed that we’ve been having a cross-community struggle lately around the self-harm behaviors we learned from capitalism combining with the undefined nature of our new economic/social paradigm created by SC. Basically, we’re traumatized birds who had the top of our cages removed and I see a collective reeling at the overwhelmingly undefined options in our new work environment. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but you get my point and you’ve probably heard me talk about this a lot lately in calls and 1:1s. It’s hard to figure out the most conducive and healthy ways to pursue working together in coordinated manner.

So I’ve come up with one potential way to create a “base rhythm” which participants can rely on as they explore their own relationship to healthier work environments and getting work done with others. I’m calling them “Release Rhythms” which are intended to create a sense of togetherness, clarity of direction/expectation, and explicitly values our personal need for rest.

These Release Rhythms will be tested on the Cultivation Trunk first and refined before they’re potentially brought to the rest of SourceCred’s Trunks.


Props to my other topic “How to Start a New Project in SourceCred” for the Problem, Mission, Success, Strategy, Tactics formula in the next section. If you want to know more about what those mean, check out that topic for in-depth descriptions.

Release Rhythms:

1. The Problem

  • Hold over behaviors/trauma from capitalism make us feel as though we still aren’t allowed to have needs, or let those needs to be more important than squeezing productivity/concrete results out of ourselves.
    • Example: We may not notice that we need time off because that was an unsafe need to have before coming to SC.
  • Lack of structure in a very unique/undefined environment can make it hard to be coordinated or balanced in our work together.
    • Example: We don’t have “vacation time” or “PTO” but there’s also no explicit invitation/protocol to take time off when you need it.
  • Finding a life/work balance takes time and energy to develop after working in (often traumatic) capitalistic environments.
    • Example: We may realize we need time off and that we’re allowed to take it, but not how to choose for ourselves when to take time off and how to balance our needs as individuals with our work goals in a way that feels healthy and satisfying.
  • It can be hard for our participants, teams, branches, etc to feel like they’re working in concert with each other or have a sense of over-arching direction for their work. We’re losing the chance to do better quality work that doesn’t waste time via lack of communication/expectation.

2. The Mission

  • Create a Trunk-wide structure/rhythm around doing work together. It should provide clear expectations which helps us get work done as a team, while also having explicit space to be a human and need rest. Ideally this structure is not mandatory and has space for participants to find different ways of approaching the Trunk-wide rhythm that work well for them as individuals.

3. The Success

  • Our Branch is able to work together in a coordinated and aligned way that regularly creates quality content (concrete or abstract). While also serving our needs as humans to have a balance of; freedom and clear expectation, personal focus and work focus, rest and accomplishment.

4. The Strategy

  • To create a Trunk-wide system of release cycles that take into account and balance both our goals around content creation and needs of participants as people. I’m calling these “Release Rhythms” or “RRs”.
  • RRs will act as a base rhythm with certain expectations which everyone can anchor on and work with during their own exploration of how they best get things done. Building on top of the base rhythm, each contributor can explore with themselves and their teams how they can best engage with the group’s goals.
    • Example: if you don’t want to take the same week off as everyone else because you really like the peace of getting things done alone, go for it.

5. The Tactics

  • The proposed parts that make up a single Release Rhythm:

    1. Creation Phase (1:1s as needed)
      • Trunk-wide meeting: discuss theme for this RR and the work each Branch is focused on.
      • Planning: Branches & Project Teams plan and prepare for creating their content.
      • Creation of Content: Branches/PTs work on a basic and functional version of their content.
      • Trunk-wide meeting: See what content evolved and whether it’s aligned/useful/well crafted enough to move forward with.
    2. Break 1
    3. Review Phase (1:1s as needed)
      • Implement/Beta Release: release new content to a small audience or the whole community and provide support as they learn your new content. Test and take note of what works and what doesn’t.
      • 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 what content has made the mark and is ready for use in our community.
      • Community-wide Release: release final version of polished content to the community at large.
    4. Retrospect Phase
      • Trunk-wide meeting: reflect on how the RR went as a whole, what we learned, what we’d change for next time, etc.
    5. Break 2
  • Timeline/duration of a RR and it’s phases have not yet been decided on.

  • It’s our intention for the first trial run of RRs to have soft deadlines with a focus on completing and understanding each phase before moving on to the next. This will also give us some context on how long the phases and RRs as a whole generally take.

  • It’s expected that this is just an untested theory/suggestion and the phases of RRs may end up changing to better meet our needs as time goes on and we better understand our needs. Or that we may find a better and completely different way of meeting our needs around life/work balance and explicit but not mandatory structure. Meeting the Success condition is our main priority, not making this proposed structure happen.


So this sounds like a SourceCred version of an Agile sprint.

Is it fair to say that Release Rhythms is an attempt to induce team cohesion by breaking projects up into portions punctuated by mini-vacations? Is that what “break 1” and “break 2” refer to?