Status Devs Meeting - open and async-useful

Hey everyone!

As we’ve grown in size, we have seen an increase in the amount of meetings. While this can be useful from a coordination point of view, it definitely comes with a few downsides. The biggest are probably that they (a) interrupt flow, which is vital for deep work (b) are often closed/sync by nature, thus leading to semi-siloed development.

What better way to address this than yet another meeting?!

One structure I really like is the one Ethereum Core Devs use. Have a look at their meetings/notes here: https://github.com/ethereum/pm

  • It’s open to everyone - agenda before, video/stream during/after and notes after (read-open for everyone, write for core/invited)
  • It’s usable async - announced ahead of time so people can add stuff to the agenda, and notes/video are available after the fact
  • It’s infrequent and fairly accurately represents important technical development in the Ethereum ecosystem

Contrast this with how we do most meetings:

  • closed - arbitrary Google Calendar invite; semi-closed/hard to discover meeting notes, especially outside of specific subset of people
  • mostly useful sync - with some exceptions, it’s difficult to add stuff to agenda before and to consume after
  • too many, too often - it’s not feasible to have a high level overview of anything, outside of Town Hall presentations

And Town Hall, while open, consumable after-the-fact async and not-too-frequent is:

  • presentation-style, no true interaction outside of some Q&A
  • for general audience, less about solving technical problems together

Here’s the purpose as outlined for the Ethereum Core dev meetings:

The all core devs meeting is a technical meeting intended to bring together various Ethererum teams who play major roles in determining the direction of the protocol. Ethereum client and research teams provide updates to their projects, discuss various EIPs to improve the protocol, and support each other as we buidl Web 3.0.

And the rules for agenda items:

The topic is technical in nature.
The topic involves the Ethereum protocol at a low-level. This means Dapps and ERCs are generally not allowed as topics.
The topic should not be philosophical. The core developer meetings are not meant to decide philosophical contentious issues that should be decided by the community. There are exceptions to this, but generally these topics distract from more productive technical discussion.

Replace Ethereum with Status, EIP with Ideas proposal and move the protocol discussion up the stack a notch or a half, and you have the gist of it.

This does not mean people shouldn’t have meetings if they find it useful. That said, there should be less pressure on people to attend all these meetings. Personally, I’d find it a lot more useful to have one longer meeting where multiple parties can exchange ideas and updates. For example, there’s a lot of great work going on from Embark, Research and Contracts teams, but there isn’t always a lot of cross-pollination with other groups of people. Specifically on core technical matters. Additionally, this would be a natural place to involve key experts in our community to join these calls. ULC, state channels, zero-knowledge proofs, Whisper/PSS, incentivized p2p, identity standards, etc are a few that come to mind just off the top of my head.

Specific proposal

  • Biweekly meeting, alternating Monday same time as Town Hall (1200-1330 UTC / 1400-1530 CEST)
  • Technical discussion (mostly for devs)
  • Copy Ethereum format from https://github.com/ethereum/pm pretty much verbatim

If this sounds interesting to you, let me know!

2 Likes

I like the idea very much. I feel like I don’t know much details about initiatives in different teams and this kind of meeting should help to fill in that gap.

Also +1 for less frequent but better quality (announced earlier with proper agenda) meetings.

1 Like

I definitely welcome these suggestions, and want to add that the problem can be attacked also by building healthy “culture” of meetings, so to speak.

First of all, we need to send a message that it’s ok to leave the meeting if it’s not relevant for you anymore. Like now most people just silently wait until the meeting end, even if it’s not productive just not to be seen as rude. Let’s breed the understanding that it’s totally ok to leave.

Second, would be awesome to have a single place with all meetings announcements/agendas/minutes. Notion.so which I’m suggesting to use internally have this functionality and we, at least, can draw the inspiration from it.

2 Likes

First meeting is Monday Aug 6. Please add things to the agenda here: https://github.com/status-im/pm/issues/1

Some trivia things we need to figure out before:

  • [ ] Agenda: What to talk about
  • [ ] Meeting: How to live stream / record
  • [ ] Meeting: Note taker

If you are a core contributor and want to participate, please RSVP in that GH thread.