Operating principles

Operating principles

1. Everyone’s an Engineer

We consider everyone an engineer and (nearly)every problem an engineering problem. All of our people in the organization should strive to adopt the same principles of high-quality engineering. It is a priority for people with diverse personalities to reach a common motivation for creative problem solving through a rigorous design and iteration approach, and we will provide education, support, and guidance to anyone unfamiliar with engineering practices.

Thinking from first principles

This problem solving mental model means we question all assumptions until we reach a common understanding of what we are 100% sure of so that we can run thought/real experiments based on hypothetical solutions. This can be applied in even the most subtle of ways, for example in miscommunications. Clarity is king here, make no assumptions.

Using first-principles thinking will help us discover competitive advantages lying dormant in our network ecology. It will help teams unlock innovation, and individuals to make sound judgment calls. Ultimately this will increase the value of each input(time/money/knowledge/etc) per unit over time.

Key Indicators

  • Competitive advantages discovered(Innovations)
  • ROI on projects(People+Money in vs. priorities(OKRs) out)

Being Results Driven

We care about the code you shipped, the frameworks you fixed, the users you made happy, the teammates you helped, and the savings you created, and the innovations you inspired. If you demonstrate success in these areas then it does not matter when you are working.

If you find yourself working too many hours, that is an engineering problem that you can work through with others to solve. You may uncover best-practices for yourself but also areas of improvement in our current workflows that can be re-engineered, documented, and paid forward.

We believe that autonomy is the result of a highly functioning organization so we have organization and ecosystem goals in place to allow for individuals to work on what they think is most beneficial.

In order to be results-driven, we must develop accountability by measuring our performance through each iteration. Therefore we must develop/use tools and processes to collect and use data to inform our decision-making.

We can trust our team members to do this, because we are all results-driven.

Key Indicators

For Organization:

  • Exponential growth

For People and Teams:

  • Increasing innovations & competitive advantages
  • Decreasing manager-based decision making
  • Increasing Quality of Service metrics per release
  • Increasing independent contributions while decreasing support demand
  • Time and Money saved.

Eating our dog food

Everyone in the organization is expected to have a baseline understanding of the pocket network, enough to inspire an potential user to learn more at the very least. The best way to do that is by using the tools.

We all should be running pocket nodes, participating in governance and understanding how applications interact with the network. We will do the things necessary to constantly evolve together as the protocol, and the ecosystem grows to stay up to date.

If everyone is using our products and services, then we are in a better position to find and fix bugs before going public and that is important for us so that we can constantly improve the quality of service with each release.

Key Indicators

  • Increasing the quality-of-service with each release while decreasing support demands
  • Increasing the quality of nodes run by internal people.
  • Increasing the number of internal contributors to the developer/node documentation
  • Increasing the conversion rate of leads while increasing the number of independent representatives.
  • Increasing the participation rate of internal people in the DAO while decreasing support demands
  • Increasing the number of competitive advantages or innovations discovered in the ecosystem

2. Asynchronous Communications Mastery

The mastery of asynchronous communications as a framework, skill, and behavior is what will unlock dormant potential in our global ecosystem. Async communications involve knowing when and how to use chat, forums, documentation, and meetings to achieve results that compound value over time.

Using words that work

Asynchronous communications are not just about knowing where to write stuff, it’s also about what you actually say.

This could have been considered a superhuman ability because using words that work is getting the message across in the most simple, effective, and usable manner.

Here is a summary and explanation of how effective/ineffective language directly impacts outcomes, taken directly from the source material. - “Words that Work: It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.” - Summary Doc

For easy reference, use these simple rules to prevent messaging mistakes such as “lost in translation” or “up for interpretation”

  • Don’t assume knowledge or awareness.
  • How you define is how you are received. Avoid extreme or polarizing framing.
  • Get the order right.
  • Meet them where they are at. Speak to the person, not to your expectations.
  • Simplify

Key Indicators

  • Decreasing the difference between expectations and results.
  • Decreasing onboarding/education time.
  • Increasing independent contributions while decreasing support demands.
  • Increasing conversion rates while increasing the number of reps.
  • Increasing team productivity while increasing team diversity over time.

Creating and Curating useful Documentation - “Paying it Forward”

the creation and upkeep of useful documentation is the backbone of successful open-source projects and will always be one of the highest priorities. This goes for internal and external documentation and every single person is responsible for this effort.

When you have gained new insight that is of use to the organization, then you ought to use our common framework to contribute that knowledge to single-sources of truth, so that we will minimize repeat efforts, and compound each other’s value over time.

This is not limited to internal wikis or external documentation. Write a promise down you made to someone. Share your to-do lists. Create meeting notes and curate the takeaways to their appropriate source materials.

A person who knows how to document is a person that knows how to collaborate.

Key Indicators

  • Decreasing confusion internally and externally (recorded mistakes based on faulty info)
  • Increasing independent contributions while decreasing support demands
  • Increasing community support networks(gamification skill indicators for this)
  • Decreasing difference between expected results and actual results(Plan vs. Outcomes)

Work Meetings are a tool that when used maximize the value for anyone who didn’t attend.

Relying on frequent meetings runs the risk of being a crutch to not learn how to master asynchronous communications, a “meeting first” mentality leads to unclear documentation, mixed-signals, and misalignment across the board, ostracizing folks that can’t make it, or forcing people in other timezones to work unruly hours.

Also the biggest risk of “meeting first” culture to our priority of “open collaboration” is the unintentional information asymmetry that leads to centralization of decision-making capabilities. This is because people generally love talking more than they love documenting and organizing, and others have to put in extra work to extrapolate what is useful to them, which is too much to expect in most cases.

It’s important for our organization to treat meetings as an augment and not a mandate. Use meetings to achieve the clarity you need if there is a confusion, and not a replacement for the creation and curation of useful documentation.

When we do meetings, we seek to maximize the value of the time that could be spent in a flow state.

  • Provide an agenda in advance with enough time for people to contribute to
  • Designate a host and a note-taker for the call. The note taker should be held accountable for ensuring that the insights from the meeting are curated and documented in the most useful way for others.
  • Give people ample time to join, most should be open-invites.

There are different styles of meetings that may require different frameworks, we have some frameworks you can use in this folder.

Key Indicators:

  • Single Sources of Truth have suggested edits with reasoning clear and useful.
  • Increasing individual contributions while decreasing support time
  • Decreasing onboarding/education time
  • Increasing individual “flow time” while increasing group productivity
  • Increasing individual performance while increasing project diversity
  • Increasing group performance while including time zone differences
  • Exponential Growth

3. Constantly Evolving Together

Sometimes we don’t always get the results we were after. So we learn, grow, and evolve together. If a person is demonstrating the tenacity to evolve themselves, the team, and the organization, results will surely follow.

Learning, Teaching, and Serving

evolution is a two-way feedback loop, honesty and proactivity are key behaviors that will accelerate growth cycles. It is the un-knowledgeable’s job to learn, it is the knowledgable’s job to teach, both in service to the mission that is bigger than any one of us.

Key Indicators

  • Exponential Growth
  • Increasing Independent Contributions vs. Decreasing Support Demands
  • “Paying it Forward” through documentation improvement
  • Decreasing time to learn(maybe based on assessments?)
  • Increasing Individual/Group skill breadth and depth.

No ostracizing, be kind

It’s not just enough to get the job done, in a silo, with the people you are most comfortable with. Although we have important jobs to do on a day-to-day basis, it is equally important that we are including others who have shown interest and eagerness to contribute and treating them with kindness and patience along the way.

It is up to each individual to cultivate in themselves the skills that allow for you to get the job done while including others. We must train ourselves to handle conflicts, different personalities in such a way that gets the job done, while everyone is respected.

Key Indicators

  • Increasing Team Diversity over time(decreasing the same teams working together always)
  • Decreasing conflicts & HR complaints over time
  • Increasing Motivation
  • Increasing Discovery of Competitive Advantages(Innovations)

4. Superhuman Abilities

Superhuman abilities are the skills, traits, and behaviors that will make us not only more effective than we can possibly imagine, but also the ones that others admire which will lead to unlocking collective economics of scale in terms of motivation, passion, tenacity, and other subtle forces that make projects successful.

Release ego and engage

It’s ok to have an ego and be proud of your work but don’t let your ego get in the way of making the organization as a whole better.

This means it’s not always about being right, and sometimes you’ll need to bite your tongue and let people learn their own lessons. This also means that the way you approach collaboration is in search of the best possible ideas and not how to get your point across.

This means that you speak your mind respectfully. And last but not least, this means if you didn’t get your way, you still move forward in execution with all of the commitment and passion you would have if it was yours.

DO NOT fall victim to subconscious bias’ or tendencies to undermine an effort just because you can’t claim the credit for it. This is a human tendency, and we are superhumans.

Key Indicators

  • Increasing Team Diversity over time(Decreasing repeat groups)
  • Increasing Idea Diversity over time(Decreasing repeat ideators chosen)
  • Decreasing Conflicts & HR complaints vs. Increasing Participation Rates
  • Increasing the discovery of competitive advantages(innovations)
  • Increasing Motivation while Increasing Participation Rates

Keep your commitments and hold others to theirs

Free agency within an organization and ecosystem is only as good as your word. Focusing on keeping commitments and holding others accountable will drive more clear expectations setting and more frequent communications to reset when needed.

If you did not document it, it did not happen.

If you did not document it correctly, it did not happen.

Key Indicators:

  • Decreasing the difference between expectations and results.
  • Decreasing blockers for dependencies
  • Increasing team/individual motivation and autonomy

Making good judgments calls with incomplete knowledge

Although we work with data, we are going to have to make decisions with incomplete knowledge. This is a skill that can be developed over time by cultivating the necessary knowledge, skills, experience, and presence to make good judgment calls in times of uncertainty.

This includes situations where you may have wanted others to contribute, or you are waiting for someone to give their feedback. Them breaking their commitments without proper expectation resetting is not an excuse for missing results.

By embodying this, we will embody the skills, behaviors, tools, and processes necessary to achieve our results in an environment of open collaboration.

Key Indicators:

  • Exponential growth
  • Increasing savings of time and money
  • Increasing team/individual motivation while increasing participation rates
  • Increasing data interpretation capacity and skills
  • Decreasing the difference between expectations and results

Inspiring Others

We all have joined in this mission to do something great in the world. We will develop an unstoppable community and competitive advantage that cannot simply be imitated if we focus on inspiring others to act.

We can do this by investing time in people, creating opportunities for them to grow, praising and rewarding them tactfully, supporting them through tougher times, and sharing dreams and ideas regularly.

The more inspired a person is, the less “trust” is required to know that they will follow through on a commitment. So inspiration is actually what will allow us to move productively with as lightweight “management” as possible.

Key Indicators:

  • Increasing independent contributions while decreasing support demands
  • Increasing the discovery of competitive advantages(innovations)
  • Decreasing the time between “let’s go!” and “we’re done!”
  • Increasing “paying it forward” behaviors like updating and improving documentation.
  • Increasing group productivity while increasing participation rates.

5. Iteration, not perfection

This value could have been nested under “Everyone’s an Engineer” but I found it important to iterate and expand upon as its own value because it is through a disciplined iterative approach that we will say day over day progress that creates an environment of highly motivated results driven free agents. Use the sub-values below to provide more context into the culture of rapid iteration.

Lead Dominos & Minimal Viable Changes

A key to unlocking rapid iteration in an organization where teams and individuals are acting with agency and yet a part of the bigger picture, it is important to focus on “Lead Dominos” and “Minimal Viable Changes.” These concepts relate so that is why they are batched together in the sub-value. Both of which are also results of “First Principles” culture.

A lead domino can be found by using this focus question.

“What is the one thing I can do, such that by doing it, will make anything that follows either easier or unnecessary”

Minimal Viable Changes are in this same vein and should take into consideration the second and third-order effects a change may have on the rest of the organization.

This is particularly interesting in the context of cross-team collaborations and organizational cohesion. It will be the duty of team members to consider lead dominos and minimal viable changes that will make everyone else’s job easier or unnecessary as well. This requires participants in a team to have a holistic view of the organization and its priorities and interdependencies in mind while making a decision.

A good example here that we are facing relates to the prioritization of our internal infrastructure team.

When does it make sense to spin up our own infrastructure compared to supporting the community to do the effort?

Key Indicators:

  • Exponential growth
  • Decreasing the difference between expectations and results
  • Increasing individual autonomy while achieving group results(prioritization)
  • Increasing the discovery of competitive advantages and innovations

Use/Improve on Frameworks

It’s important for group cohesion at scale to fully commit to the use and improvement of different frameworks including but not limited to the ones in this document. Everything from accountability to content, to meetings, can be made into a framework and documented.

There are certain “must use” frameworks that the organization will follow and improve upon, such as the higher level prioritization, accountability, and competency frameworks, but other more use case-specific frameworks can be forked and improved upon, just be sure to “pay it forward” when you have identified an improvement to a framework.

Key Indicators:

  • Research, Meetings and Plans are all easily referenceable and useful to others who check it.
  • Decreasing onboarding/education time.
  • Exponential Growth
  • Increasing useful individual contributions while decreasing time of consolidation
  • Decreasing the difference between expectations and results.

6. Sustainable & Progressive Decentralization

The final piece of our puzzle, and were a lot of the values that bridge both the lean startup methodology and the open-source DAOism we intend to balance tie into our value of sustainable and progressive decentralization over time.

We are and must continue to decentralize operations and involvement in the protocol and ecosystem in order to become a successful crypto-network.

Inclusivity and Diversity

It’s important for Pocket Network as a culture and a network to be diverse and inclusive of different people. We do this by creating opportunities for all types of people to contribute. It should not matter what region, ethnicity or starting point you come from. We will strive to make a way for all to participate.

Key Indicators

  • Increasing independent contributions while increasing global distribution
  • Increasing diversity of thought
  • Increasing diversity of node operations (cloud, baremetal, data centers, plug n play)

Decentralization in Phases

In order to balance the sustainability of our operations while progressively decentralizing, we will execute a phased approach to decentralization. We will “decentralize” for clear purposes tied to objectives and not for the sake of decentralization. We will work on the stability of the ecosystem before launching the next phase of decentralization.

Key Indicators

  • Increasing independent contributions while increasing speed of execution
  • Increasing independent contributions while decreasing support demands
  • Increasing independent contributions while increasing tool/process adoption

Priorities are the Hierarchy

We will use unified objectives and priorities to lay the framework for our accountability measures. A team should be able to see the big picture at all times and make the best judgment calls as to what the lead dominos are.

If the organization is running effectively, the objectives, territory, and performance indicators are clear in their relations then by a result the highest priority on a given day will always be to unblock a team or teammate if that is on your list.

Lagging blockers is an indicator that our models or behaviors are not aligned with our expectations at some level and that needs to be surfaced and addressed.

Key Indicators

  • Decreasing difference between expectations and results
  • Increasing team autonomy while achieving desired results
  • Increasing the discovery of competitive advantages(innovations)

Key Indicators

  • Decreasing difference between expectations and results
  • Increasing team autonomy while achieving desired results
  • Increasing the discovery of competitive advantages(innovations)

@o_rourke this whole thing will need to be reworked(not in the redo everything sense) to make it appropriate to our last workshopping in making the difference in values and operating principles