Collective Intelligence RFC - Decentralized Project Management Tools

Overview

Currently dxDao has a growing number of different projects underway. As the community itself grows & more proposals are submitted, and various dxDAO members themselves contribute to this projects according to their various skills, the complexity of managing all of these projects, in addition to management of the DAO itself will continue to grow in complexity. At present, many of the requirements, progress reports, and estimates on milestone completion for these projects are scattered around a number of places, mainly the Keybase chat app & the Daotalk forums, as well as a few other locations around the Internet such as Telegram. This has led to some confusion by new members as to how to determine the current project state & a lack of clarity by new members on how to best contribute.

It’s my contention that as the community grows, this information needs to be managed & disseminated in a more formalised manner that ensures all information is accurately tracked, so progress on specific projects is clearly visible to all & we can help ensure that all dxDAO stakeholders are in alignment with the current set of collectively decided goals across the community. Given how much uncharted territory there is in the reality of operating a DAO at scale, there’s a clear need (in my opinion) for as much complexity management to aid in risk mitigation as possible. There’s been some recent discussion on using an excellent decentralized Wiki project (an enhancement for Daostack called The _Prtcl) to managing the collective knowledge of dxDAO, but there’s still a need, in my opinion, for a set of other tools to complement this.

This draft proposal is NOT intended to act as a specific proposal for any development work as yet, but rather begin discussions around what kind of tools to manage the collective intelligence of dxDAO are going to be needed moving forward, and whether an opportunity exists to make these tools available to other Daostack-based organisations, increasing both the dxDAO profile & publicity and it’s ability to act as a premier model of decentralised governance, as well as increase the value proposition of Daostack as a whole (if these were released as general use plugins for Genesis Alpha). It would be expected that each of these would be handled through it’s own, separate proposal, with much more development of the ideas to be discussed, expanded & agreed upon by the community, and gain input from a range of subject matter experts in SDLC methodology & UI/UX design.

There would also be a need for the development of appropriate methodologies & business practices to accompany each of these tools & to make a real, professional distributed software development lifecycle possible. Something like a modification to standard Agile practice, adapted for a decentralised workflow & use of community voting rather than conventional management hierarchies. Code reviews, design approvals, milestones, regular community updates & standups, timeline reviews & tracking metrics across the DAO should be put into place as they become viable. This could hopefully become a model for other DAOs & decentralised projects in how to leverage the use of Collective Intelligence in the development & management of complex decentralised projects, and potentially lead to consulting opportunities for dxDAO.

The 4 major sets of tools proposed

Project Issue tracker, with support for common Agile software development features.
This should allow for each proposal to, once approved, be rigorously decomposed into specific, measurable sets of milestones & requirements, or conversely for change requests, bug reports & known issues with existing services to be accurately tracked. While publicly visible, access to create/edit issues should be granted only via a dxDAO vote & preferably assigned exclusively to those community members that would be working on a given project (or even just a particular deliverable on the project). This should also link to code commits in a version control system, to allow for a simple method of code/content or change impact review to be conducted, along with an accompanying vote to approve such merges or changes by the rest of the team. This would also include a standard Kanban board, to easily represent the current state of the issues & how they’re progressing. A Gantt chart representation would also be useful, to allow for easy determination of critical path items & making timeline and resourcing estimates easier, as well as personnel assignment. To assist in project planning, a Work Breakdown Structure tool or similar mapping could also be provided, connecting to both of the above. Further, a simple Help Desk ticketing system would be good for general support of all users of dxDAO products & applications.

An expansion of the existing Alchemy “Members” page.
This would be to act as a simple HR management system, with perhaps some very lightweight social media features for creating interest groups. Any proposals that the member has passed or contributed to could be reflected on the Members profile, as well as tags acting to categorise the members contributions. This could be used to track the various “subject matter experts” that emerge overtime from their dxDAO contributions.

It’s also possible to conceive of an eventual development of the DAO voting structure that leverage this, where experts would be able to take primary ownership over those proposals in their own specific areas of expertise & could potentially have weighting applied to their votes based on their Rep score, earned both within that subject & DAO-wide. For example, the opinion of a designer might outweigh the opinion of a non-designer when voting on a branding or UI proposal, while a developer would outweigh the designer in a proposal intended to approve a code review & merge.

A Git-based Decentralised Version Control System & Collaborative document creation tool.
Currently, users are mostly making use of centralised services such as Google Docs & Github. This presents not just a philosophical issue of using a centralised service in the creation of a decentralised service, but a in immediate security & privacy threat to all users that choose not to make use of such services, or who may accidentally dox themselves via bad actors tracking a login. As leaders in secure & decentralised collaboration, I’d like to see this issue addressed as a priority.

The solution proposed would be for an Alchemy-integrated frontend Webcomponent to IPFS (with some management & IAM functions provided by Ethereum smart contracts), and could possibly include collaborative editing in-browser tools & a version control system, with signed edits & security features to ensure that only authorised parties can contribute (to prevent vandalism). All projects deriving from some proposal should preferably have extensive documentation created, outlining user stories, functional & non-functional requirements, key milestones & the like. This information should always be available to all dxDAO community members in an open fashion. Similarly, all code should be in an accessible, easy to search format, browsable by all & with editing open to DAO members. There’s been previous projects such as MangoGit that could be forked & used as a starting point in this, as well as numerous client-side document & code editing libraries to assist in the creation of editors.

Collective Business Intelligence Reporting
Most conventional businesses use some form of Business Intelligence Reporting to report & represent key metrics such as revenue, expenses & profitability across all division. In essence, a querying tool that’s able to integrate with the dxDAO smart contracts, as well as other projects, could be used to provide quick, reliable intelligence on the performance of the organisations & represent it in a range of output formats for consumption by stakeholders, as well as driving further innovation. It could be potentially used as a general, visual query & analysis tool to allow non-technical stakeholders the ability to create advanced queries & conduct analysis on Ethereum smart contracts.

Further Development
These ideas are in an early state, emerging out of a number of conversations that I’ve had with other new dxDAO members, and require a lot more development specific to each. All comments, criticism & feedback on this topic is welcome. Development of detailed requirements, user stories, wireframing & project scoping for each individual proposal would be the next steps anticipated, if the community has a positive reception to this set of ideas.

8 Likes

Very well thought out. Will need to read through a couple of times to unpack. But wanted to say this is a good step in adding depth & security to our infrastructure.

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On BI, the only tool I know of is Balanc3 from Consensys but I cant find any recent info on it. If there aren’t any active tools, it might make sense to start out with some basic scripting. It’d be super helpful to build some financial analysis tools for dxDao’s history to help identify strong and weak points.

Based on a cursory look, devs have been underpaid and too many resources have gone to financial products such as liquidity provision. Quantifying these feelings would empower dxDao to make data driven decisions in relation to where resources are allocated.

If dxDao agrees that this work is a priority, I am willing to take it on.

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Hi @fidned-sogrev, I agree that having a powerful set of tools for coordinating and communicating is essential to have the dxDAO achieve its goals.

I am one of the founders of _Prtcl, and I have just created a new post to introduce our technology to dxDAO.

While our first product is a “Wiki”, the stack is designed to be extended with new modules, and handle other types of objects, like tasks, issues, tags, calendars, etc.

There is a lot of work to be done, but we have already worked for more than 1 year building the current infrastructure and are in a good position to start developing more advanced modules beyond the Wiki similar to the ones you mention in your post.

Let me know if you would like to learn more!

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Yeah agreed. I couldn’t find any appropriate projects around when I looked around, although I’m happy to hear suggestions. Traditional tools aren’t going to be optimal, while OTOH a solution that’s fully integrated with the blockchain, able to apply nice analytics to every address & contract as required would be a powerful tool, especially when that data can then be directly voted on by the whole DAO. I don’t think it’d be a necessarily huge task, it’d mainly be about getting the UI right & deciding on a nice set of initial reporting features - it’s not like there’s any shortage of nice libraries for building various kinds of blockchain explorers now.

Great stuff! I’m a big fan of your project (obviously, since it was partly the inspiration here), but wasn’t sure how much of what I said was intended to be in scope for your current plans. One thing a few devs I’ve talked to (and myself) would really love right now is at least a basic issue tracker & Kanban board. Keeping notes on all the discussions happening around the place & tracking project state is already unwieldy IMO.

It’s my understanding you’re are nearly ready for launch already. Is there any timeline or estimates you’ve got on each phase? Is it possible for other devs to start creating third party plugins for it right away, or is that something your team would need to do internally? Looking forward to seeing the end product regardless, it’s going to go a long way to helping everything come together for dxDAO.

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@fidned-sogrev I love the ideas. I have been thinking of a similar application to the issue tracker you have proposed. With the correct architecture it can be easily distributed to all decentralized projects, and potentially more. I dont know if this is something you are personally interested in developing, but I would like to connect with you about your ideas. Thanks! lucas