Town Hall team updates 2.0

Background
As we expand to ~100 people, it has become more challenging to follow development of projects every two weeks. Personally, I don’t find Town Hall updates to be useful as:
(a) It’s hard to remember the week-on-week progress with what happened last time.
(b) The updates happen to fast to really absorb the content

Proposal
Teams/Swarms present at Town Halls on a more infrequent basis, but with more depth. Proposed structure over a 15-20m period:

  1. Progress on 1-3 most important metrics and/or OKR’s
  2. Demos of what has been built/what is coming soon!
  3. Roadmap for the next 3 months
  4. Q&A

Review (optional)
One idea to give teams actionable feedback is a feedback mechanism where peers/viewers are able to give a rating on how the project has been progressing. This can be done with a handful of questions with a 1 to 10 scale questionnaire or as <3’s in Discuss.

Bonuses/awards can be given out to teams that achieve far above the average review amount.

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+1 to this idea - the TH as it is feels like a rush to get through all the content, not sure if we’re managing to do everyone’s work justice with the limited run time.

Even if each team doesn’t present at the TH, imo it could be cool for each team to still report their metrics/progress biweekly so that we have a dashboard that goes alongside the TH presentation where all team’s updates are collated in one place and are available to read.

Review (optional)
One idea to give teams actionable feedback is a feedback mechanism where peers/viewers are able to give a rating on how the project has been progressing. This can be done with a handful of questions with a 1 to 10 scale questionnaire or as <3’s in Discuss.

Sounds fun, I like it!

Feeling the same - TH’s are becoming so long and packed!

Definitely agree on time for specific Q&A.

Also, would add a bullet point for what's going less great, or failures and lessons learned. As @Barbara once mentioned - we seem to only promote the exellent stuff, not so much our - equally valuable - insecurities or uncomfortable experiences.

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Fully agree with this, and want to highlight the fact that focussing on things that are not going well is actually THE BEST way to attract technically proficient and talented people beacuse it shows how much room for participation there is within Status and also gives them a good idea of what the priorities are so they can dive in more quickly (especially if it is paired with OKRs etc as Nabs suggests).

Happy to help set this up so that THs become Great Again.

2 Likes

Proposal for Town Hall structure starting on September 24th:

Business as Usual

  • Setup/Welcome [2m]
  • Founder/Important announcement [10m max]
  • People update (incl. new people + people-ops + recruiting updates) [5m max]
  • Community update (incl. marketing + community engagement + events) [5m max]
  • BAU Q&A [5m]

Progress and Demo’s

  • Team 1 [12m + 3m of Q&A]
  • Team 2 [12m + 3m of Q&A]

Team Proposals
As of this date, the following teams should be slotted in to present on a regular basis (i.e. max 3 months between presentations)

  1. Nimbus
  2. Core Chat
  3. Core Wallet
  4. Core DApps
  5. Core Infrastructure (incl. LES/ULC stuff?)
  6. Security
  7. Incubate
  8. Studio
  9. Embark
  10. DAO (incl. Voting DApp)
  11. Design (UX/UXR should be presented as part of the individual teams, but when there is design specific things - e.g. UX framework - it can have a slot independent of other teams)
  12. Swarms that are ready for launch (e.g. #151-ENS-usernames)

^ this is by no means an exhaustive list, and will probably change the day after publication. If there are teams/people who I’ve forgotten please add them below!

Having said that, the list above gives us 12 teams, with 2 teams presenting every 2 weeks. 3 months = 12 weeks… so… if my maths is correct… i think we have the correct number for every team to present once every 3 months :face_with_monocle:.

i think the 3 month time frame is too long, it’s not at the “speed of software” in our sector. how about we shorten the team presentation time and make it 4 teams every two weeks, and eliminate q&a? we rarely have any questions being asked, and the reality is that we rarely have more than 30 viewers on the live stream; i think the most of the views come after the live transmission. And, if we do keep q&a it should be for team members to ask other team members questions in that time frame.

That being said, nabil, tbh, i think that if the townhall gets broken up so that teams only present on a rotating schedule, that not even our team members will tune into the townhall when they’re not presenting (human nature) One of the things that i like about the townhall is that it is one of the few times when everybody is together on the same day, and presenting… in other words, we’re all together and involved with each other on a bi-weekly basis, and that brings cohesion. I’m afraid if we break up the schedule to rotating presentation that we’re going to see less cohesion.

So maybe we just cut it in two, and have half the teams present on a bi-weekly basis as a solution? that means everyone presents once a month, which i think is far better than once every three months…

+1 The current 2 week period doesn’t really go with the workflow of our team, but more infrequent (1 - 1.5 months) we could go more in depth and would coincide with most releases.

isn’t this an outcome of the current one-way format though? there’s typically a single person speaking with everyone strictly lined up and stressed for time - no conversation - so it’s quite awkward to jump in and ask questions or make comments! with more time per “presentation” perhaps there would be more room for interaction, and consequently higher “live” participation?

i don’t think that the format is the reason for the lack of interaction.

Some comments:

  • I agree with @arnetheduck on the questions part. It’s been challenging to ask in depth questions on any of the topics because the community can hardly parse all the info, let alone articulate a good question. I think having an opportunity for people to dig deeper and start to really put themselves in the shoes of the other team will hopefully increase interaction and participation.
  • I agree with @exiledsurfer that 3-months is a lifetime in this industry, so it probably isn’t frequent enough.
  • I think people will still tune in considering there’s enough regular from community, people-ops and carl/jarrad that people would probably find useful.

Some other options:

  1. Increase it to four per presentation (in order to keep update cadence to 6 weeks). Decrease the presentation length to (e.g. 7m preso + 3m Q&A), and drastically cut down the regular Town Hall segment to 20m
  2. Increase the frequency of Town Halls to weekly
  3. Increase the length of the Town Hall to 90m.

I personally think 4 presentations/demo’s is still too many, but it’s definitely worth an experiment for a few TH’s to see how things go. If we find it’s the right amount, then no need to cut down further.

if we stay with @naghdy’s original 3 teams per TH, suggestion, but increase the TH’s to weekly, we’d still meet a “speed of software” standard. We’d also then have a weekly update for the blog, which would be good to show the level of our activity.

Weekly would clash with Core dev call. With time zones and logistics I’d rather keep that call at the same time, so whatever format we choose I suggest we stick to biweekly.

should we integrate a slot for hardwallet(s) ? unless you want to integrate it to “3.core wallet” or “12.swarms that are ready for launch”

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Regarding Q&A and participation, some things I saw working really well in other places:

  • Using a paid Zoom account, and have everyone join in there with the ability to ask questions in typing or voice (presenters can still mute all other participants if too much background noise or any other need). I think the link could also be displayed as a join us on zoom message next to the YT livestream to encourage these that are following on YT to jump in.
  • I’m not sure if this was a natural instinct or something explicitly encouraged, but most people I’ve seen in remote companies keep the camera on during meetings, TH’s and presentations… It makes a world of difference to put a face to the voices and updates you’re hearing, and it doesn’t even need to be each time, or for the full duration. Just defaulting to only slides tends to make things impersonal and a bit dull, too.
  • People would be routed to ask written questions through a TH specific Slack channel (#townhall-questions)
  • An outline of the topics/teams presenting was shared in advance so that questions were often already there for the Q&A.

I’ve had the same past experience, and it was explicitly encouraged to do that. During all hands meetings, about half the people would keep the camera on, and for other meetings that would be standard.

We’ve tried that in the past, but no one seemed to pick up on it, although I agree that with the new format and sharing the demo topics in advance could prompt more engagement.

:man_facepalming: Sorry @guylouis, completely missed HW wallet. I knew there was a team missing in the list! So then that makes 13 groups so far.

With all the back and forth on idea, I propose we try and go with 4 teams to present at the next Town Hall and we can see how it goes. After 24-Sep Town Hall, we can jump back in this thread and decide pro’s and con’s of the new system. SGTY?

I’d also like to ask @anon16796968 to help experiment ideas to increase Q&A engagement, and @cryptowanderer to help keep track of who presents when, just so we can manage regular cadence for teams, and keep doing his magic when it comes to Town Halls.

2 Likes

OK, sgtm :+1:

For this week, let’s do:

  1. Core Chat (because PFS might be merged behind a flag and there’s lots there)
  2. Nimbus (passing tests, always lots of updates)
  3. Design (feedback from Berlin, Hester has some great stuff lined up)
  4. Embark (3.2 Release! w00t w00t!)

I want to keep both hardwallet and core dapps for 2 week for the 8th or 22nd of October, just before #cryptolife when they will have the most impact. Also, I think we can cut down that intro piece to 15 mins max, especially if there’s no "founder’s statement, unless its an exceptional event, and maybe then we only have 3 teams present on such occasions).

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Not sure if this is feasible but would it make sense to maybe introduce a tech town hall where all tech related topics presented and another town hall for anything non-tech?

Obviously, if the majority of teams is tech related then it wouldn’t buy us too much. Just thinking out loud here…

I think this is covered by the Core Devs Call, which happens every 2 weeks as well, so we have town hall one week and core devs the next.

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Week 1 of TH 2.0

A few notes I took (while very poorly managing the slides, sorry about that, I had a delay between clicking and seeing the next slide that made it ultra confusing):

1- make sure that presenters audio is working well/get good mics This one for example is inexpensive and reaaaally good.

2- help with sticking within the set time limits: have presenters review how long the slides take before going live, but also as hosts we could give a time hint/set timers by sections)

3- we didn’t get to Q&A (wondering if people would have asked anything?). Would it be worth creating a channel on Status for TH - sharing a summary beforehand and using it to collect questions?

4- a few said youtube is preferable when only watching (totally fair)

For engagement purposes, I’m still unsure - how many places are we broadcasting live, and in how many places and channels do we mention the TH is happening?
Also - were ere there other comments in parallel channels that would be useful as feedback for the next one in 2 weeks?