Seasons @ Aragon

In Aragon, we have started to adopt the idea of “Seasons”. As of now this primarily reflects the idea of the funding cycle of the ESD in AN DAO. While this is an important element I think it is somewhat limited in its thinking.

Seasons can be a much more complete vision for the overriding rhythm of Aragon. This article here captures a lot of the best thinking on this topic:

Resonant themes in the article include alignment, planning, execution and rest/reflection. Here’s why I think these are relevant to us today and why I think we should define and embrace seasons at Aragon.

While we are making good progress we still suffer from a perception that Aragon is somehow separated. I frankly think this is only true if you say the same of other product or protocol DAOs (look at the entity structure of uniswap, the graph etc) but there’s no point whinging about it when we can simply get on and address it. Being on the exact same seasonal rhythm between teams in the AN DAO and the core development teams is one meaningful way of taking action and signalling that there is in fact only one Aragon.

While the above idea is virtuous, it’s also practical. It is nonsense to think we will drive towards common goals when teams are working on different cycles. How can we plan to work together if my planning happens in a different month to your planning? The ESD has just been funded and the core teams have not yet set quarterly goals. Aligned seasons can help with this planning and…

Shared plans create the opportunity for shared execution and more robust coordination. The skills in both the DAO and core teams are to be complementary and our ultimate value will only be realised when we are truly integrated together in execution. While seasons themselves do not necessarily create this, it seems unlikely it can be realised without them.

Rest & reflection
The last and perhaps most meaningful idea that exists around seasons is the idea of “off seasons”. DAOs avoid leveraging coercive control structures for expedience but this choice means working in DAOs can be tiring. Centralisation brings efficiency and so by its nature a DAO takes longer. We cannot expect the humans within a DAO to simply absorb this extra stress on their own. DAO contributors should be seen similarly to those other humans who work in on and off seasons - professional athletes. If we want to be at peak performance we need to create time and space for rest, reflection, and integrating the learning/training needed to improve how we we align, plan and execute for the next season.

Outline of a potential proposal:

If you generally agree with the above (or even if you don’t) I would ask you to discuss and debate this simple outline for what seasons in Aragon could look like:

  • “On Season” of 3 months, followed by a 1 month “Off season”, together considered as one Season. All 4 months within the season are paid.
  • Off Season is 2 weeks of rest and reflection (vacation & effectual shutdown) and 2 weeks of planning and governance (but no delivery)
  • 3 seasons per year - Jan to April, May to August, Sept to December
  • Planning and governance completed together between DAO and core teams starting next season
  • All teams (core teams, guilds, working groups) operate to this cycle, with limited exceptions

I look forward to your feedback and how we might improve on this


Really like this proposal, especially the alignment part between the several teams!

While I have provided a lot of feedback in private, for transparency, I will express my support here as well - I am fully on board with the tactics of seasons.

Where it all started with the season for me:

From my perspective, a pre-condition for this to work effectively is the existence of a unified strategy.

  • Unified strategy for the DAO (the AA/AL teams are a subset of the DAO, not separate entities)
  • Ratified by token holders

As we established during the leadership call last week such a strategy is currently lacking even within the small subset of the DAO that is AA/AL.

It would be great to get practical about this across the following dimensions:

  • How do we go about pushing forward such a strategy
  • How can we short-cut this: make the seasons work without a unified strategy without it creating even more chaos, duplicate work and misalignement
  • Route 3 that I am not aware of?
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Love seasons! from a practical perspective, the ESD just requested funding for April 1 - 31 July with a budget based on that funding timeline which is one month out of sync with this rhythm. While we effectively have four months of funding I don’t see that we have the legitimacy (community vote) to fund beyond 31 July. S2 proposal (July) could be extended to 5 months to bring us into alignment but on the other hand, there is some advantage for ESD funding to be approved a month in advance of the next season of community proposals. @b3n what’s you’re thinking here, should ESD remain on a Apr-Jul | Aug-Nov | Dec - Mar cadence for funding or look to synchronise?

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I believe we should synthesize and that seasons should map to the start/end of the calendar year .
This would be a pragmatic choice which allows us to sync more broadly with people/orgs more aligned to the calendar year.

Ultimately there needs to a transition so “when” is probably a factor of what is possible and what is best. My personal opinion is that it would be a distraction to do it in the immediate term and probably not possible even if the will was there, so my vote would be to starting the next working “season” 1 month into a 5 month ESD funding cycle.

Regarding current proposals, I think many of them were written on the basis of 4 months with expectation they would be activated by now in alignment with ESD. Given the governance process generally is taking us one month and that we have really only started funding things in the last days, I’d say it’s a judgement call for the ESD whether it is ok to spend beyond July