Eagle Operations Funding Proposal - 2023

Hi All,

Happy to present the Operations team Proposal for the DAO.

Description

The Operations Guild of the Aragon Association requests 1,487,000 USDC from March 1, 2023 to February 29, 2024 to continue managing and supporting the Aragon Guilds within the new Aragon DAO. We are responsible for maximizing effective coordination and collaboration between different Aragon teams and enabling them to perform at their best ability with the highest velocity they can achieve.

Our main focus is on managing the day-to-day tasks of the Aragon Guilds, such as enabling contractual relationships, legal operations, accounting, finance, and HR. We are also responsible for addressing any issues that may arise within the Aragon Guilds and deploying new tools, new guilds, and infrastructure to ensure smooth operations. This infrastructure management will not only help improve the delivery of products but also increases their quality and provides greater stability. It also helps to reduce the time and effort needed to maintain and troubleshoot our systems. In addition to these responsibilities, we also support collaboration and predictability within the Aragon Guilds through professional strategic operations services. These services have played a significant role in shaping our structure, culture, and workflows across Aragon Guilds.

The operations team’s experience coordinating within the AA, leading the transition into the new Aragon DAO, and its previous decentralized governance experiments gives us a deep understanding of the challenges involved in setting up teams for success.

Objectives

The Operations team is endorsing the Strategy to Become a Governance Hyperstructure.

To support the implementation of the strategy, we will continue to provide the same level of services to Aragon Guilds, enabling them to focus on delivering the initiatives outlined within it. We want to make the transition to the DAO as smooth as possible so that Aragon can continue its current momentum throughout 2023 and beyond. By reducing the need for teams to handle day-to-day administrative tasks, we hope to help Aragon realize the vision of enabling “everyone to experiment with governance at the speed of software”.

Q1 OKRs

O1: Egale Ops AG enables a seamless transition for Aragon Association contractors to the Aragon DAO.

  • KR1: The full suite of services is set up under Eagle Ops AG and the contract lives in the new DB
  • KR2: >80% of former AA contributors are happy working by the end of Q1
  • KR3: >80% of former AA contributors respond that Ops did not slow down their work during the transition
  • KR4: <0% drop in retention among AA contractors by end of Q1 compared to previous quarters
  • KR5: 1 or more DAO transition comms updates sent to team per week

O2: Align on a “Contributor Value Proposition” for working in the Aragon DAO.

  • KR1: Existing Shared Services are assigned a primary and secondary owner and have been published into a centralized DB and shared within the Aragon ecosystem
  • KR2: Define a CVP strategy that is approved by all members of the Ops team and at least 4 guild stewards
  • KR3: Define outcome metrics to measure a successful implementation of the CVP

O3: The Aragon Strategic Planning Framework is embraced by the Aragon DAO.

  • KR1: The Aragon Strategic Planning Framework has become a DAO guideline with an ANT signaling vote
  • KR2: An Aragon Annual Plan containing AA’s 2023 OKRs has been ratified with an ANT signaling vote
  • KR3: 4 or more Aragon guilds participate in Q2 Quarterly Planning and Review

O4: Evolve the Ops Guild to be proactive rather than reactive.

  • KR1: Policies and Procedures are assigned a primary and secondary owner and have been published into a centralized DB and shared within the Aragon ecosystem.
  • KR2: 1 process improvement task has been completed per cycle (weekly or bi-weekly TBD)
  • KR3: <25% of working time spent in meetings for Ops team members (excluding synchronous work)
  • KR4: 1 or less questions per week on the ops-support channel

Details

Value of Operations in the DAO

Without the support of a centralized operations team, it can be difficult for the teams that wish to support the DAO to function effectively and achieve their goals, especially when interacting with traditional entities. Operations (including legal) is consistently listed as one of the biggest challenges facing DAOs, as noted here, here, here, here, or essentially any other recent article describing the current state of working in a DAO.

In the case of Aragon, a centralized operations team is particularly important at the beginning of the DAO’s journey to provide predictability to existing teams. As time goes on, many of the tasks will be automated, but there will always be the necessity to have some operational function.

It has been seen throughout DAOs that the retention of top-performing contributors is a challenge for web3 organisations. These individuals are crucial for organisations, and the goal of Operations will be to retain the top talent.

Operations are responsible for managing the resources (such as people, software, and products) that are needed to produce and deliver products or services. This includes ensuring that resources are used efficiently and effectively. Operations also play a key role in supporting the growth of a DAO. By streamlining processes and increasing efficiency, operations can help the teams increase production and meet the needs of more customers.

Proven Track Record

The Operations team is made up of experienced contributors of the Aragon Association and Aragon Network DAO, and has a strong track record of success in managing the day-to-day operations of the organization and providing services to more than up to 60 contributors.

In the past 8 months, they have played a key role in coordinating the efforts of all Teams and fostering a healthy work environment through the planning and coordination of cultural activities. One initiative that has contributed to this success is an Agile Transformation that has focused on improving collaboration, empowerment, and predictability in the organization’s work. This has resulted in a more streamlined structure and culture, with product development teams now having a shared objective-setting framework, predictable ceremonies, shared project management tooling and established velocity benchmarks. During the first quarter of OKR implementation, the measured completion rate was 84%.

In addition to these achievements, the Operations team has also demonstrated strong stewardship of the treasury, which has been rated among the top three in DAOs. They have maintained a +10-year runway for the continued deployment of Aragon products and DAOs, and have kept accounting up to date on a month-to-month basis. There have also been no legal cases, phishing attacks, or loss of funds in any hacks or poor investments over the previous eight months of the teams’ management.

The Operations team has also been at the forefront of the DAO transition, managing many tasks to decentralize an organization of significant financial size. Despite changes in the organization, contributor turnover in the AA has been reduced by 12% despite uncertain conditions. This demonstrates their ability to effectively manage the organization’s operations and enable its success, even in the face of challenges and change.

They are well-equipped to continue driving the organization forward in the future.

Service Relationship

The Ops Team will be based in a Swiss legal entity, which will enable them to offer many services through traditional Web2 entities and provide contributors with access to traditional services. Some of these services will only be available to teams and contributors with whom we sign a service agreement, as they come with associated expenses. The Ops Team will facilitate traditional contractual relationships and enable multiple modes of payments for contributors through its partners. It is important to note that the Ops Team and/or its affiliates shall not function as a payment gateway, money transmitter or a traditional financial services institution and all associated risks shall not be attributable to the Operations team.

Any revenue generated (eg yield) or unspent funds by the Ops Team will always be used to fulfill the purpose within the Aragon Manifesto and support the Aragon Treasury.

In the coming year, the Ops Team plans to expand their services to other Aragon DAO Guilds and their members, along with share learnings with the ecosystem. We aim to set an example for organizations with respect to how they can build compliant decentralised businesses while still revolutionizing traditional corporations and nation-states. We plan to scale our services at their current size and therefore do not anticipate needing any additional full-time contributors beyond occasional external legal counsel or other bounties.

Team

The Ops Team is made up of 9 FTE members that work as a single cross-functional unit united under the common goal of supporting the rest of the Aragon Guilds and enabling the creation of value, but with 3 specialized squads that focus on projects and work streams related to their domain, yet. We are currently at our maximum desired size and do not intend to scale, as doing so could make it difficult for members to communicate with each other and for information to flow freely, leading to inefficiencies, slower decision-making, lack of adaptability to change, and negatively impact team morale. If we need to scale in the future, then each domains could potentially be split into their own guild.

The three functional domains are: DAO Operations, Strategic Operations, and DevOps.

DAO Operations

Responsibilities: Finance, Accounting, Legal Operations, HR

The DAO Operations Team is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Aragon Guilds, including tasks such as managing contractual relationships, legal operations, accounting, finance, and people operations. People operations support Aragon Guilds contributors across the full contributor life cycle in order to create a positive and fulfilling work experience. In addition to managing these core responsibilities, the team also serves as a response team for addressing any issues that may arise within the Aragon Guilds, deploying resources as needed to ensure success, high performance, and well-being. The team has established relationships with legal service providers, banking systems, and accounting to facilitate the smooth onboarding of new contributors into the DAO environment. The specific responsibilities and focus of the team may vary depending on the goals and direction of the DAO.

Operations Lead (Guild Steward)

  • Operations team management
  • Managing and entering into legal relationships on behalf of the Ops Teams and the Aragon Guilds it supports
  • Opening third-party services for Aragon Guild members and the DAO
  • Management of legacy ANT vesting packages and legacy
  • Working with the team to develop Financial management for the DAO
  • Strategic planning to expand the suite of services provided by Operations

Strategic Initiatives and Corporate Operations

  • Overseeing financial matters with respect to the transition to Aragon DAO and any eventual successor entities to Aragon Association.
    • Coordinate legal, internal and external legal counselling.
  • Lead the development of special projects in consultation with senior leadership and key stakeholders, including but not limited to those outlined in Strategy to Become a Governance Hyperstructure v1.0.0.
  • Work with ecosystem to identify, evaluate and implement new business models and revenue streams for Aragon DAO, and assess their risks and limitations from a legal and operative perspective.
  • Develop operational guidelines for treasury management activities in Aragon DAO, leading treasury diversification strategy and yield-generating activities to maximize returns while minimizing risk.

Finance Coordinator

  • Assisting the Operations Lead in managing the budget and accounting for the Ops Team, the Aragon Guilds they support and the client DAOs, including forecasting, tracking expenses, and ensuring that financial transactions are recorded accurately.
  • Assist the Strategic Initiatives and Corporate Operations Lead ****with setting up the yield management strategy for the Ops Team, the Aragon Guilds they support and their client DAOs, including identifying potential investments and monitoring performance
  • Assisting the Operations Lead in overseeing treasury management for the Ops Teams and the Aragon Guilds they support, including managing cash flow and ensuring that the teams have sufficient funds to meet their financial obligations.
  • Responsible for the process of making payments to team members and third parties, including processing payroll and vendor payments
  • Assisting the Strategic Initiatives and Corporate Operations Lead ****in managing existing investments in the ecosystem, looking for yield opportunities, price & performance monitoring and external delegation

Head of People Operations

  • HR is responsible for managing the life cycle of Aragon Guilds members, including their well-being, development, and career progression
  • Implementing a performance management system, including setting performance goals, providing feedback and support, and conducting performance evaluations, for leads and the DAO to effectively manage teams
  • Onboarding and offboarding process for new and departing contributors, including orientation and training, as well as exit interviews and offboarding procedures
  • Responsible for implementing new policies and procedures to ensure alignment with DAO practices, goals and values

Strategic Operations

Responsibilities: Strategic Planning, Agile Coaching

Strategic Operations supports Aragon in achieving its objectives by implementing an agile approach to strategic planning, discovery, and delivery at all levels of the organization. We use our product and project management expertise to help teams define objectives that align with Aragon’s vision and strategy, and provide support as they work towards achieving them. We lead the design of cross-functional teams, introduction of sustainable, iterative development techniques, and the facilitation of inspect-and-adapt cycles to keep teams continuously improving.

Head of Strategic Operations

  • Leading the implementation of an operational framework that supports the delivery of high-quality technology products, including team structures, resourcing, and workflow management.
  • Leading the implementation of a system for setting and tracking progress toward objectives
  • Leading the organization’s agile transformation, overseeing a team of agile coaches who work directly with Aragon’s Product Development teams
  • Providing objective counsel to Guild Leads on strategic and operational matters to ensure that they are following the endorsed long-term strategy and supporting objectives
  • Administer project management tools, establishing best practices and workflows to optimize their effectiveness and efficiency.

Agile Coach (x 2)

  • Promoting and enabling the adoption of an operating framework supported by Agile principles and practices across all levels of the organization
  • Acting as the organization’s experts on Agile methodologies and providing training and coaching to facilitate the necessary mindset shifts
  • Ensuring team effectiveness by shielding team members from distractions, identifying and removing obstacles, and resolving conflicts
  • Identifying and applying appropriate tools and procedures to ensure team effectiveness
  • Acting as and promoting servant leadership, guiding and enabling teams without dictating their work
  • Innovating the future of Agile for DAOs

DevOps

Responsibilities: Technical Infrastructure, Tools, Security, Risk reduction

DevOps combines development practices and tools. It involves the management of cloud services, productivity SaaS tools, and other aspects of the infrastructure that support the work of those in that DAO and ensures smooth operations. For our product development teams, DevOps is a framework that supports faster delivery of features, higher quality, greater stability, and reduced risk. In addition, DevOps improves security by engineering processes, products, and infrastructure and using continuous monitoring to stay informed about real-time activity in our services. It also helps to reduce the time and effort required to maintain and troubleshoot systems, allowing the rest of the organization to focus on innovation and do their best work.

Senior DevOps Engineer

  • Collaborating with development and operations teams to deploy and maintain applications.
  • Managing and reducing Security risks in the DAO
  • Automating infrastructure and configuration management.
  • Building and maintaining tools for deployment, monitoring, and operations.
  • Troubleshooting production issues and implementing fixes as needed.
  • Participating in code and design reviews to ensure that solutions are scalable, reliable, and maintainable.

Funding Breakdown

image

OPEX Clarity

Over and above other teams the operations team has taken on a significant % of the operational expenses for the entire project. Operating expenses can be significant for any DAO, as they represent a significant portion of the DAOs overhead costs. It will be necessary for the DAO to carefully manage and track the operating expenses to maintain efficient capital use. The Ops team already has a track record of this and has underspent on each budget by >10% in the AA and >30% in the AN DAO.

The breakdown of these is:

  1. 23% - Software, including all subscriptions and other related software expenses,
  2. 34% - Contributor Offsite Travel expenses
  3. 41% - Banking fees & External consultants such as the accounting and Legal

Risks and Dependencies

Risk for the operations team takes two forms, those are external risks for the team eg FX accounting. Then the internal risks of the Operations team not hitting our OKRs.

External Risks

  • FX risk-taking in USDC, and paying out contractors in FIAT, a sharp change in exchange rates could leave the Operations team with a gap in funds
  • Third-party hack or bankruptcy risk, when the operations team is trying to access an external service.(e.g. With Sygnum)
  • Poor Accounting could lead to contributor or DAO wide Tax Liability
  • Server risks where our servers are compromised running up $10K bills above what is planned ( this has occurred in the past) which would need to be absorbed in the ops budget

Internal OKR risk

  • Poorly functioning strategic operations could slow down the entire product velocity missing a number of key dates and objectives
  • Software Management could end up being expensive if operations are not informed of departing members resulting in poor team satisfaction
  • As operations are operating as a small highly functioning team the loss of members could slow down operations.
  • Team failing to get funding or being defunded would affect our ability to maintain our goals of retention
  • ANT holders reject the OKR framework limiting the ability of the Strategic Operations team to deliver on their OKRs
  • Slow setup of third-party services could result in delays for team members affecting team satisfaction

Look forward to hearing the feedback on the Proposal!

Thanks,

Aclay

Disclaimer: Operations Team or its affiliate entity shall not provide qualified investment, legal, tax or other advice to any of its participants in any jurisdiction. It does not provide financial services such as fund management, banking, money transmission to the Aragon DAO. Aragon DAO and Operations Team have a separate legal personality and Operations Team only provides support to the Aragon DAO with respect to specific aforementioned aspects only for the period mentioned herein. No reader should act on the basis of any statement contained herein without seeking professional advice.

7 Likes

Hi Alex,

Thanks for this! Very much agree we need much of these services to allow for others teams to focus on their work and bring value in what they are specialists at. A few comments and questions below:

Maybe the below could be more clear?

An example: “All revenue generated will be returned to the treasury?”

I am very nervous about the ops teams capacity to serve more guilds and people than what currently exist. Especially as this team is at its maximum desired size and doesn’t intend to scale further. How do you see this team being able to do this? My belief is that most other teams applying for funding should be external teams with these services already embedded within their systems.

I see that there are 2 positions that have strategic operations in it that are in different sub-teams within the proposal. Should we be more clear and simply define this as: Corporate Operations? Similarly "leading the development of “special projects”, this is very vague, especially in determining what is special and what isn’t? How can we be more clear here?

Should the below be reworded? Is this opening up this individual to potential legal problems of their own? Assessing legal risks to create an action?

Thanks for responding to these questions and thanks for the proposal!

2 Likes

Thanks, Anthony, the point on the revenue generated is only around yield and unspent funds, which can often happen with OPEX expenses, wanted to make it clear that this is not “profit for Ops” and will come back to the DAO. It does not mean that we will be selling the services to other DAOs or new DAO teams.

On the role I will do some rewording.

Thanks,

Alex

2 Likes