Technical Support Guild Budget Proposal - December, 2021 and Q1, 2022

Proposal Summary:

A proposal to secure a budget for the bootstrapping of the Technical Support Guild for the first up to (4) months of operation

Proposal description:

The proposal requests from the Executive sub-DAO to reserve a budget to the extent of $66,000 for incentivizing members of the Technical Support Guild for the first four months of operation. This will cover funding for Q1 of 2022 and also December of 2021 as the guild has already been established and providing output. The First Month’s Guild Activity Report is included in this proposal and can be reviewed at the end of this proposal.

Moving forward into 2022 the Tech Support Guild’s priorities will be focused on the following:

  • Improving documentation avenues such as FAQ and combining/creating product guides into a single public source in order to limit tickets
  • Resolve tickets using the knowledge of members within the guild, consulting documentation, and thorough research in turn giving other guilds the ability to focus on their tasks
  • Setup an official process for documenting and reporting errors
  • Identify and research solutions that improve decentralization of the guild

The indicative split of the budget is:

  • $12,000 per month to be distributed to guild members through a Disperse contract with a Coordinape circle as attribution mechanism
  • $4,500 per month for bounties to incentivize larger deliverables

Proposal Rationale (How is this initiative adding value to the Aragon Network):
The Aragon stack offers a range of solutions with many technical possibilities but equally many technical intricacies. DAO creators and DAO operators often encounter questions and technical challenges they are unable to address themselves, as well as malfunctions. Being able to provide high-quality customer support is thus necessary to offer a great user experience and thus help increase the number of active Aragon DAOs.

Limitations and risks:
It is somewhat hard to predict how the attribution of this budget will operate in months 3 & 4. The guild has been quite successful so far and is likely to continue to onboard members and expand its scope.

There is also the risk the guild will not scale fast enough to complete its operational objectives and will not absorb the full scope of its budgeted funding. The current budget request is a linear approximation and it could be expected that as activity ramps up, the later months will be when most of the budget will be absorbed.

Duration, deliverables, and expected outcomes:

  • Project duration is 4 months (Epoch 0)
  • Each month the Steward of the Guild will publish a report detailing the achievements and learning from the Guild activities.
  • Success will be defined by the minimum criteria:
    1. All tickets assigned and replied to within 24 hours
    2. Average ticket resolution within 1.5 days
    3. A majority of tickets will be resolved using resources within the guild itself
    4. A platform will be created to streamline reporting of errors and bugs
    5. A process will be created to propose changes to FAQ and to create an Aragon guide over all tools at Aragon
    6. Improvements will be made to move the Technical support guild’s tools and processes into further decentralization
  • Upon successful completion of Epoch 0, the Technical Support Guild could be spun into an operational unit reporting into and receiving funds from directly the AN DAO. The specific format will depend on the Charter and/or other guiding operational documents of the AN DAO at that time.

Team Information

  • Brent Russell, BrĂ©nt#008 - Head of Tech Support at Aragon Association and Technical Support Guild Steward
  • Artem, ArtemG#8172 - Patron, Oversight
  • Ben, b3n#2074 - Patron, Oversight

The guild team is fluid as additional members will join from the community and others will leave.

  • anson parker#4296
  • barukimang#3560
  • Carla78#9313
  • jonesmac#6422
  • Jup#745
  • Spectra CV#6148
  • Naresh#2518 - Onboarding

Strategic Alignment

Is this initiative aligned with the strategic objectives set forth by the Aragon Association and/or the AN DAO itself (if yes how, if no why)
Yes, the establishment of a Technical Support Guild has been identified as a priority by Aragon Association for two reasons:

  • The first operational experiment in decentralizing the Aragon Network
  • Freeing up of core engineering team time to focus on product development

More details can be found in the blog post announcing the Guild

Is this initiative symbiotic to the efforts of Aragon Association’s and/or other teams and initiatives contributing to the network (if yes how, if no, why)
No, this initiative is not directly symbiotic to efforts of the Aragon Association or other teams, it is meant to substitute Aragon Association’s core team in providing a service to the network participants.

Funding Information

  • The ESD will make direct transfers to the Disperse contract based on inputs provided by the guild steward, namely:
    • Total monetary value to be distributed, not exceeding $12,000 + unspent carry from previous months
    • Coordinape scores of guild members
    • Distributions will be a combination of USDC and ANT token. Exact percentage of each will be provided to the Exec sub DAO by Dec 22, 2021
  • The ESD will pay out bounties directly upon confirmation of completion by the guild steward. Bounties will be given to develop systems and processes that aid in further decentralizing technical support, give an improved end-user experience when contacting support, consulting documentation, and interacting with the rest of the Aragon community. These bounties will allow the technical support guild to take on this workload freeing up other Aragon resources.

First Month’s Guild Activity Report

The technical support guild was launched on 30.11.2021 and has since completely taken over HelpScout ticket resolution freeing time for the core engineering team. Interest in joining the team has been positive with many responses. The team has grown to include six onboarded guild members, a head of technical support, and an eight guild member currently being onboarded. Eight other applicants are also currently on a waiting list to join the technical support guild. Monitoring the goals set and comparing with the output of the current members will determine the addition of other members to the guild.

Each member has taken it upon themselves to research and understand the Aragon platform and attempt to resolve each ticket using only technical support guild resources resulting in 105 tickets resolved with 173 messages (avg 1.67 replies per ticket), an average response time of 4hrs and 19min, and an average resolution time of 7hrs.

The team has agreed on weekly calls to discuss the current state of technical support tickets and projects that could further decentralize the guild and improve Aragon products. For the next upcoming call, discussion will take place over platforms and features used to improve documentation and FAQ which the technical support team will create as part of a bounty program. The team has also started discussions on how to route community questions in discord to the proper channel where they can be properly responded to by technical support and documented in a way others in the community can take advantage of.

Additional ideas surrounding how to further decentralize technical support has taken place with a few excellent ideas which may develop into a proposal over time.

First month’s (December) Distribution

  • The proposed distribution for the first month is $5,625 total amongst all guild members. 20% of this distribution will be distributed to the guild members at the Technical Support Guild Steward’s discretion leaving the remaining 80% decided on by a Coordinape Circle of the guild members.
  • The Technical Support Guild Steward will be providing the Executive sub DAO with each guild member’s wallet addresses and their weighted portion of the distribution by Dec 22, 2021. This will allow each guild member to receive payment by Dec 28, 2021
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@fartunov, @lee0007, @daniel-ospina Please review, respectfully keeping in mind the Dec 22nd date: Technical Support Guild Budget Proposal - December, 2021 and Q1, 2022

I like this proposal. It resolves the issue of forming a separate pool of capital that was raised as a concern for the previous iteration. Furthermore having the guild already operational removes the initial uncertainty around the ability to get this off the ground.

December payment seems a bit small but I am an outsider so it could be completely appropriate. @lee0007 has already reached out to the Guild Steward and the AA Patrons of the initiative to investigate. Once that is cleared I will be in support of the proposal.

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The proposal seems clearly outlined and beneficial to the AN DAO as a whole!
The first report demonstrates the ability of tackling and solving issues.

Uncertainties could be related to potential overlappings with the AA competences. But this seems to be solved.

The budgetary request appears fair (compared to the amount of people currently involved in the Guild).

Given the technical knowledge requested in order to give assistance, it is necessary to establish a very rigourous onboarding procedure: skills and capabilities of new members should be carefully assessed. Moreover, I think that the overall amount of guild members should be somehow related to the amount of work and the budgetary request.

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From @lee0007

Posted the following in #tech-infra. I am only moving her post here so I can follow up timely. Sorry if that is not protocol:

@brent, @b3n, @Artem in regards to the current @Executive Sub-DAO members proposal to fund the technical support guild, how many hours oer week on average in December 2021 did members of the tech support guild contribute to this mission critical work? I am concerned that the current budget undervalues the impact of this team and fails to account for current and future expansion and the time necessary to develop the documentation needed to support their work and the continuous improvement of efficient and effective process I.e documentations for DAO onboarding and FAQ. Posting here as I can not post to the appropriate tech support guild channel

@lee0007
A poor way of justifying compensation is finding the average cost per reply. Currently this sits at roughly $26.70 on average based on the proposed funding and data I have to work with in December. I think this is a decent number however, as I said this is an inadequate way of justifying compensation of support output. Each reply could take hours of research and require intense technical knowledge, or they could simply be replying to a 3 min non technical ticket. Guild members could pick only the easy tickets to get $26.70 per reply if that is how compensation was done. This is where the coordinate circle comes in and peers will award more points to those who spend more time, have intense technical knowledge, and resolve harder tickets. Some pitfalls obviously come into play when the rate of support tickets increase or the number of guild members increase limiting the total possible compensation per member. With lower amounts of funding ticket resolution time would increase and possibly start a backlog. This question was raised by @eaglelex in his reply.

This leave a few options.

  1. Attempt to gauge approximate funding needed for Q1 support volume modeled off of December’s results.
  2. Be Overfunded and carry over into Q2
  3. Be underfunded and submit an additional proposal

I think #1 is the answer as it attempts to get it right the first time and possibly slightly increasing ticket resolution time which be taken note for a Q2 proposal.

The average number of hours spent is very subjective and dependent on the guild member’s schedule, dedication, type of ticket worked on, guild members current technical knowledge, and availability of others to collaborate with. But if I was forced to put a number on it I would say that each member is on target to spend an average of 30 hours for December. With some being way lower and others being higher. Hours are not logged and if they were, research and learning would be the top usage of time.

Another metric would be an attempt to use, however frivolous, the handling time and resolution time of tickets weighted against the number of members and the tickets they were involved in. I did not entertain this as it does not take into account help on discord nor time waiting to collaborate with others before responding with a resolution.

Product documentation and other projects will be funded by bounties and should remain separate from ticket resolution compensation. Identifying the specifications of each project will clearly expose overfunding or lack thereof. Since the projects are not clear and the specifications of current ideas are not made, specifying a budget is in speculation territory.

@eaglelex
Onboarding is something that I will be discussing with the guild on our Tuesday call. My main concern is that it is centralized to me. I am the one who reviews the candidates and determine if they are technically fit, will work good with the team, and make a good addition etc. How do we do this in a decentralized way where I am not the only deciding factor but ensure value?

I would be interested in jumping on a call with you and anyone else so we can discuss either of these topics.

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First of all congrats tech guild on a fantastic start, well deserving of funding. @brent appreciate your thinking through alternatives. My question was specific to budget based on average hours in December per contributor. Given you indicate 30 hours, then my primary question are

Q1
Is the requested budget enough to reward contributors well for both for 1) ticketing support and 2) process improvements?" to break this down, show my own thinking - based on the following components - is 40k enough for contributor rewards for ticketing support?

  • 30 hours p/wk p/contributor x 5 weeks per month (surplus) = 150 hours per contributor, multiplied by
  • industry-standard hourly wage for this work based on US equivalent wages, multiplied by
  • the number of contributors per month (current and additional) to clarify the monthly budget

In addition, I would like to understand how you guys are accounting for the time contributed for ongoing process improvements including1) onboarding 2) training 3) documentation. Understand this falls under bounties, seeking clarification on the 10k figure, is that based on an estimated number of hours or number of projects?

You don’t need to specify the numbers - I’m just double-checking sufficient funding to reward contributors well. I’d prefer to provide a surplus (that can be carried over) rather than see additional proposals for the same work.

Q2

Given the total requested is 52k it seems this clause is unnecessary and restrictive. Allowing no more than 10k to be paid each month (unless there is carryover) effectively only allows 40K over four months. Unless I misunderstand something here about how bounties will be paid?

Q3
Will await final advice on the reward payment split. Noting the maximum split is 50:50 ANT:Stable as provided in the Executive Sub DAO Funding Proposal Epoch 1

Comments

Process improvement seems integral to developing a more decentralised pathway to onboard future contributors to the tech support guild and happy to see the budget increase if that would see a contributor-lead, focused effort around onboarding, and documentation.

For transparency, I am biased toward decentralization, especially where we have the opportunity to fund and support community contributors. As the front-line fielding questions, I believe the guild contributors are well-positioned to contribute to the creation of documentation and training resources.

I support this proposal and the following questions go beyond what I need to decide as an exec member but as a community member, wondering about the process of decentralization, could you provide further information to help me understand your role as head of technical support and the roles of the patrons? Are the oversight roles planned as temporary (while guild is established) or will they eventually transition to be roles funded by the AN DAO?

Thanks for the reply @lee0007 I’ll try to answer some of your questions.

Question 1

Is the requested budget enough to reward contributors well for both for 1) ticketing support and 2) process improvements?" to break this down, show my own thinking - based on the following components - is 40k enough for contributor rewards for ticketing support?

Numbers assumed:
30 hours week
Average salary per anumm: $43985 (Salary: Technical Support | Glassdoor)
30hrs * 5 members * $22.90/hr = 3436.32 for December

This lines up just under the estimated $26.70 per resolution… assuming each resolution took 1 hour. The proposal has the first months distribution at $4200 leaving the remaining $5800 to be carried over into the following 3 months.

Again these numbers are subjective and will be so month to month. In my opinion, a better way to gauge funding requirements is to look at current output and incentivize based on any deviation against desired output. Those showing more output will gain in a coordinape circle. In my opinion either way you run the numbers it is sufficient. But it is not my opinion that counts, it is yours along with the rest of the executive SubDao.

Question 2

Unless I misunderstand something here about how bounties will be paid? [also referring to $10k monthly distribution]

This clause ensures that $50k will not be giving out in month 1 draining any further funds that will be needed for future months. It ensures the survival of Q1 to the end. Yes there is carry as stated. Bounty projects will be talked about a lot in the beginning to get a good understanding of the specifications. Afterwards, I will be setting the bounty based on the architecture of the project and estimated time to complete. Bounties that exceed available funds would be out of scope for Q1 and would be included in Q2 budget or would require its own proposal.

Question 3

Will await final advice on the reward payment split. Noting the maximum split is 50:50 ANT:Stable as provided in the Executive Sub DAO Funding Proposal Epoch 1

This has recently been decided upon and will be a split of 85% Stable coin and %15 ANT

Comments

+1 for decentralization. My role is to lead the coordinape process, guide guild meetings propose and ensure bounties provide a better end user experience or freeing up core engineering time, liaise with departamental leads and external resources, propose ways to decentralize technical support while ensuring a good user experience and stability, establish a system in which no single person leaving jeopardizes technical support which includes phasing out my role. Patron roles would be collaborating with me and can been seen as oversight of myself.

Your last question in your comments “Are the oversight roles planned as temporary (while guild is established) or will they eventually transition to be roles funded by the AN DAO?” I do not have an answer for or know if it has been discussed

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I will discuss with Artem as I came on this project after the beginning of this month and cannot attest to what happened beforehand and spent some time getting up to speed. It would concern me if Artem also thought it was too little.

@brent Sorry, I can not agree to the 85:15 for Q1 as the funding available to the Executive SubDAO is based on a 50:50 split which can be reconsidered for Q2. However, this split was set intentionally to build community governance power. In order to increase contributor stable reward, you could increase the $22.90 rate.

It is my understanding that many on the guild will sell most of their ANT to pay for food, bills, etc creating sell pressure on the token and not build governance power. They may be more likely to hold it if they get 15%. ANT token is not intended to be a medium of exchange. That aside, if there is no option based on the holdings and plans of the Executive SubDAO there may be no choice but to use the funding resources available to it.

For Q2 I was brainstorming a matching program, with a max amount, based on the number of ANT tokens the guild member already has in their wallet. This forces them to hold some ANT. But tI have not worked this out yet and that is Q2, not this proposal.

@lee0007
Let’s do 50:50 ANT:Stable coin

Let’s bump up the December payment to 5625.

Also, I feel more of the work is going to be done in bounties. If 3k is set per month and larger projects require more money, the project will sit until the next month. So if we put the Bounty at 4500 per month it would alleviate this concern.

Also, the pay is subjective for technical support. When searching for pay you can find it as low as 24k USD and higher than $100k. I checked with my local ISP and they pay $24 an hour for tier 2 support to solve basic customer internet connection. I think we can all agree that supporting DAOs takes a more technical person and therefore should be paid more. Bumping pay to $37.50/hr should be sufficient. To account for this, the monthly distribution will be a max of 12,000 with carry over.

I do not want to set a standard that we look at the number of hours performed. This is impossible to get because the nature of how we are decentralizing. No one is required to punch in or out. Compensation will be distributed with a coordinape circle rewarding those that give good output, regardless of time spent. Good output is what we are after, not number of hours logged.

So the new numbers looks as such:
December payment: 5625
Per month distributed with coordinape circle: 12,000 per month for 48,000 total
Bounty per month: 4500 per month for 18000 total
Total of 66000

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Thank you for making the effort to recalibrate the budget @brent. This project has my 100% support cc @fartunov @daniel-ospina

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Numbers have been updated in the proposal above. @eaglelex, @lee0007, @fartunov

Let me know of there are any other concerns

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@eaglelex,

Given the technical knowledge requested in order to give assistance, it is necessary to establish a very rigourous onboarding procedure: skills and capabilities of new members should be carefully assessed. Moreover, I think that the overall amount of guild members should be somehow related to the amount of work and the budgetary request.

Since this task is not decentralized yet, I am making sure we have the required number of guild members to make sure tickets are replied to within 24 hours and resolved in under 36hrs on average. Currently we are way under these metrics with a response time of 4hrs and 19min, and an average resolution time of 7hrs.

Tomorrow we are having a technical support guild meeting if you want to join. We will be discussing many things, among them: onboarding and offboarding members to the guild. Currently I am the one who has the power to do this and can accurately vet potential candidates given my background. Our discussion will entail how we can decentralize this process so I am not the decision maker but at the same time ensure we have only new members joining who have the skillsets required while also not being over/under capacity given the current or forecasted state of support.

I see @fartunov and @lee0007 have given their approval. I have not received an approval from @daniel-ospina yet Did you have any concerns?:

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I am also on board with the proposal. Looking forward to the guild crushing it throughout Q1.
@brent please share the payload from the Coordinape circle with @AlexClay and @mheuer in Discord and we’ll try to schedule the payment to happen before EOY

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Correction for December.
The total members on board are 6, not 5. Distribution will be set to 6750 which is the same proportion as before, only adding the additional member. Posting here for transparency as the December report was also included here.

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December contributor reward payment scheduled for execution in 7 days

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