[SCP-TBD] Updated Definition of a Workstream Leader
Jul 13, 2022

This post comes in response to [SCP-92] - Definition of a Workstream Leader. It is the belief of some from the community that the scope of authority granted to Workstream Leaders under this definition is overly broad, and inadequate checks and balances to the authority and autonomy granted to Workstream Leaders by this definition are given. An updated Workstream Leader definition with a more appropriate set of checks and balances to Workstream Leader authority is proposed below.


This proposal clearly defines a Workstream Leader.


This proposal explicitly defines the roles, responsibilities, and authority of a Workstream Leader, as it relates to

  • The authority to hire and fire within a workstream
  • Discretion over the allocation of a budget approved by governance
  • Policy for removing a Workstream Leader

In addition to this proposal, workstreams are encouraged to expediently adopt a Workstream Charter which outlines the team structure, working agreements, team policies, and may supersede the resourcing and budget sections of this document. In the absence of a Workstream Charter at the time the workstream becomes eligible for renewal, only the terms outlined in this document will apply. Should this proposal pass, the Workstream Leader definition provided herein shall override any previous Workstream Leader definition. Future proposals that create, renew, or amend workstreams will adopt this definition of a Workstream Leader by default unless explicitly defined otherwise.


There does not currently exist an explicit definition of a Workstream Leader as approved by governance. This proposal seeks to formalize an agreed-upon definition of a Workstream Leader, including roles, responsibilities, and authority. Workstream leaders are granted some degree of both authority and autonomy by the DAO. As such, it is essential to ensure that the aims of Workstream Leaders are at all times aligned with the best interests of the DAO through an equitable system of checks and balances against this authority and autonomy.
The ShapeShift DAO is a community-led organization. Workstream Leaders are elected to serve the interests of the community by implementing community-generated strategic decisions within the bounds of the scope of their responsibility as stated in the proposal instantiating the workstream(s) they represent.



The Workstream Leader shall be delegated the authority by governance to make decisions pertaining to resourcing, that is, how the funds allocated to the workstream are used to provide the services and meet proposed goals, including hiring and firing of workstream contributors. The Workstream Leader may undertake a hiring or firing action without independent consultation of the Workstream Contributors during the process; however, the Workstream Leader must notify all Workstream Contributors of the action immediately after such a decision has been made. Subsequent to this notification, a >50% majority of Workstream Contributors may raise an objection to this action by forum post and make an appeal for the action to be decided by governance. In this case, the action taken by the Workstream Leader shall take no effect until the governance process has concluded.


A workstream budget shall be submitted along with each workstream proposal to inform the DAO as to how treasury funds allocated to the workstream will be spent. The Workstream Leader shall be delegated the authority by governance to have full discretion over how an approved budget is spent within the bounds of that which is explicitly outlined in the proposal establishing the workstream. The Workstream Leader is expected to adhere to the spending plan approved by the DAO, however, budgets need not be overly specific, and Workstream Leaders are encouraged to add line items for discretionary and contingency funds to allow for the workstream to cover unanticipated expenses during the lifetime of the proposal without requiring a budget amendment to pass governance. The Workstream Leader shall not be able to spend more than the approved budget without a proposal to amend said budget. Budgetary decisions affecting funds allocated to Workstream Contributors are considered resourcing decisions and so are subject to the same provisions in the Resourcing section above or as dictated by superseding Workstream Charter, where applicable. The Workstream Leader shall be responsible for coordinating with DAO treasury multi-sig signers to ensure sufficient funds are made available in Colony to ensure expenses can be paid monthly or on-demand. On the 1st of each month, the Workstream Leader shall be responsible for submitting an accounting report to the DAO showing the actual funds spent during the previous month.

Consideration of Organizational Impact

The DAO is an integrated structure containing several workstreams that operate in parallel but are not orthogonal in scope or interaction. it is possible that situations may arise where a decision made by a Workstream Leader has side effects that negatively impact other workstreams, carry an outsized risk to the success of, or have a disproportionately large effect on the strategic direction of the organization as a whole. To avoid these situations, Workstream Leaders may request a consideration of organizational impact by a forum post, where the appropriateness of the decision in question will be evaluated by governance. In this case, the decision called to question shall take no effect until the governance process has concluded. A consideration of organizational impact may also be raised by a contingent of community members by staking a total of one million (1,000,000) FOX in support of a motion created on Snapshot within a five (5) day window. This governance mechanism has the potential to cause significant difficulty to the operation should it be abused, and so this should only be used rarely, in cases where there is a significant risk to the continued successful operation of one or more workstreams or to the organization in its entirety.

Removal of a Workstream Leader

Standard Governance

At any time, a Workstream Leader may be nominated for removal by a proposal. Should the proposal calling for the removal of the Workstream Leader pass governance, an amendment to the original workstream proposal naming a new Workstream Leader and making any necessary budgetary reallocations shall be submitted by the remaining Workstream Contributors from the affected workstream. In the event that a replacement Workstream Leader nomination cannot be decided upon by the Workstream Contributors, the new Workstream Leader shall be elected from a list of candidates supplied to the community by the remaining Workstream Contributors on the affected workstream through governance.

Declaration of “No Confidence”

If, at any time, a >50% majority of Workstream Contributors on a workstream announces a declaration of ‘no confidence in their Workstream Leader by way of a forum post, a decision to remove the Workstream Leader will be made by the community through governance (this is to be replaced with the expedited governance process which has not yet been officially defined.) During the time that removal of the Workstream Leader is being considered by the community, autonomy over resourcing and budget decisions is suspended, pending the outcome of the vote. Should the proposal calling for the removal of the Workstream Leader pass governance, an amendment to the original workstream proposal naming a new Workstream Leader and making any necessary budgetary reallocations shall be submitted by the remaining Workstream Contributors. In the event that a replacement Workstream Leader nomination cannot be decided upon by the remaining Workstream Contributors on the affected workstream, the new Workstream Leader shall be elected from a list of candidates supplied to the community by the remaining Workstream Contributors on the affected workstream through governance (this is to be replaced with the expedited governance process which has not yet been officially defined.)

Leave of Absence

In the event that a Workstream Leader must take a planned or unplanned leave of absence, the Workstream Leader has the authority to appoint an Interim Workstream Leader to assume all responsibilities of the original Workstream Leader during the leave. The Interim Workstream Leader shall assume the role entirely, and is subject to all provisions outlined in this document.


An explicitly defined and shared understanding of how workstreams and their leaders operate will remove the ambiguity that currently exists within the DAO. An adequate system of checks and balances on the authority and autonomy granted to Workstream Leaders minimizes the centralization risk associated with the creation of the role and ensures that the DAO continues to be led ultimately by the community.


There is an inherent centralization risk associated with the delegation of any power or responsibility to a small group of individuals and an additional risk in the possibility of collusion between these individuals to make organization-wide strategic decisions outside governance. Hopefully, the provisions outlined in this document stand to minimize these risks by giving some recourse to the community should concerns arise.

Total Votes: 28
Voting Closed
FOR - Adopt this updated definition of a Workstream Leader
46.43% (13)
AGAINST - Use the original definition of a Workstream Leader from [SCP-92]
53.57% (15)
Write a reply...
Josh_shapeshiftdemoJul 24, 2022

I understood from the governance call that you will be splitting these into separate proposals, and then each can be debated separately. I think that’s a great idea. Thanks.

PTTJul 18, 2022

a lot of this isn’t what I see as part of a workstream leader and will be voting no at this time.

elmuttJul 18, 2022

I support this definition and the additional flexibility it brings. I’m also having some trouble understanding why many community members are SOOOOOO against it. Its quite similar to the original and I believe the additional checks / balances could be helpful. It’s most likely the types of situations where the checks / balances are needed will never occur, and if they do I think it’s a good thing to have some of these scenarios spelled out.
I will be a strong YES on this proposal if it goes to vote

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GiantkinJul 17, 2022

Thinking about this still… Im still against it. Only thing i can think of is an Anology.
The DAO owns the company. They designate a Captain to build (or take over) one of their ships. That Captain brings on a crew. One of that crew isnt doing their job, (for whatever reason) captain decides to drop that crew member off somewhere. That crewmate goes to the other crewmates that like him enough to stage a mutiny. Either the captain is killed off, or removed and dropped off instead.
Yes, that is how i see it. Now the next Renewal comes up, maybe the Captain didnt do a good enough job, and is relieved of duty. Myabe that ex crew mate goes to the DAO and states a case to work on something, and does his own Ship (either right away, or later)

If the Captain isnt trusted by the DAO, then a Proposal could be put up to remove/replace without any issues as well . Without having the Mutiny first. no 50% needed. just put up a Proposal stating such. From my point of view ofc, if the other Captains thought i was failing, i would work on things, or look for a replacement myself. (but that might just be me)

I am anti corp set up. Unions (which is roughly what this feels like) isnt a great setup.
Thanks! 🙂 Mostly been a fun conversation.
*edit. i have NO idea why that part BOLDED. (and intially, it quoted first…) trying to clear those.

0xeanJul 16, 2022

Sounds good, thank you for the conversation and discussion. I wont be around to vote on this one either way but think all of the discourse does ultimately help the DAO. Good luck with the revisions.

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pastaghostJul 16, 2022


Its increasingly hard to follow your arguments across these threads.

While that may be true for all I know, having spoken with you on several occasions about other matters, you are going to have a very difficult time convincing me that you of all people are actually experiencing any intellectual difficulty with this. Corporations do many things, have many policies, and put in place many practices. Disagreeing with one policy or practice put into action by a corporation does not mean that I cannot simultaneously find utility in another, entire separate policy or practice. In the same way that I do not have to subscribe to the entire ideology espoused by a political party to find one or more of its positions to be useful, I don’t have to purchase the entire catalog of ideas to find value in one or more of the listed items, so long as those ideas are not in direct contradiction with one another. I know that you know this, but I’m clarifying my position for the thread.
I argue in the thread that you linked (which I would appreciate your feedback on in another conversation, btw) that the application of a strict hierarchical corporate structure at the DAO would be a mistake. I do not think anything I wrote there implies that I think the DAO should, without proper evaluation, write off any policies that may have previously proven to be valuable at other companies, specifically because they are put to use in corporate-land.

I think that we’re at risk of getting a little off-track here, so let’s try and bring the conversation back toward the direction of cleaning up the proposal before governance. Thanks, .

pastaghostJul 16, 2022

, thanks for spending as much time as you have on this. Even though we disagree (which is completely fine and furthermore expected from the community in part - I’d be skeptical about whether a proposal on this topic had been well-considered if it received unanimous support or the opposite), I can see that you put a lot of time and effort into your responses and your engagement here has demonstrated that this is an extremely valuable part of the governance process as are you. Gm ser.

hunt_shapeshiftdemoJul 16, 2022

I am not having a hard time following @mcchadwicks arguments here, I think that’s a jab that should be pulled right back.

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0xeanJul 16, 2022

Its increasingly hard to follow your arguments across these threads.
Here you are modeling policy after mega corps, and in others arguing against corporate structure (Cuts, Cuts, Cuts & The ShapeShift DAO - #16 by mcchadwick)

The analogies to traditional corporate structure cannot apply here, because the essential preconditions for successful operation of an organization of that form do not exist here.

Additionally, if you want to adopt Amazon like policy’s you have to understand Amazon’s culture and the amount of time from both managers and engineers spent tracking and documenting performance. A policy that requires a workstream leader to prove to the entire community that a person is underperforming will require them to invest time and effort into tracking and making publicly visible each engineers performance. I have very hard time believing that this will not change the culture, processes and therefore tooling within a workstream.

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willyJul 16, 2022
If you consider this proposal carefully and in the context of your experience at the DAO and at centralized ShapeShift prior, you’ll see that it should not in practice be any slower than or even distinguishable from SCP-92, except in serious cases where corrective recourse is needed. This does not restrict the authority or autonomy granted to Workstream Leaders relative to SCP-92, and that is intentional. Instead, it seeks to establish policies to adeptly handle highly unusual situations in ways that minimize damage to the DAO.

I did consider this proposal carefully, and do not agree with this. Simply having longer definitions makes our entire organizational structure and gov process harder to fully grok. We’re seeing ample evidence in this thread that this definition is hard for active contributors to follow. We should strive to keep our organizational structure and governance processes as simple as we can, only adding additional definitions when necessary. I think SCP-92 does this well, but don’t think this definition does for the reasons posted previously.

This is not an additional requirement, only a statement of the existing requirement and a definition of what is to take place should the Workstream Leader be removed by the currently existing mechanism.

My point is that we don’t need additional definitions or processes. Our existing governance process already gives the community ultimate control over a workstream. That said, it would be very strange for the community to ever vote to prevent a workstream leader’s decision to let a contributor go. I think it would make much more sense for the community to either replace the workstream leader if they no longer had faith in them, or for the contributor who was let go to propose their own workstream or even permanent tenured salary from the community if that’s what they want. All of this is already possible in our existing governance process without unnecessary legislation that complicates our entire org.

if any Workstream Leader is regularly at odds with >50% of the Workstream Contributors on their team over issues that the Workstream Contributors believe they can argue to be a threat to the DAO, then there is a serious problem. I have not seen any indication since the DAO began that this is a regular occurrence on any of the workstreams.
Yes, any community member can currently make a proposal to request the removal of a Workstream Leader. In practice, this is extremely difficult to make a case for, and takes more time than is justifiable in the event that a Workstream Leader needs to be removed quickly. With the specification that this mechanism indicates the Workstream Contributors (who necessarily have the greatest context on the competence of the Workstream Leader) from one team have declared their Workstream Leader to be incompetent, this motion carries a greater degree of gravitas than does an ordinary proposal. Furthermore, the path through an expedited governance process allows for the decision to be made quickly, saving time and minimizing further damage in the event that this is necessary.

While I would disagree that we haven’t seen this yet (growth splitting from marketing for instance), even if you argue that we haven’t seen it doesn’t mean the process is broken. In practice, the route you are taking to alter our entire org rather than a more focused approach is more difficult and less likely to be effective.

Note that none of these mechanisms are ever used in this model so long as Workstream Leaders are continually viewed by their team and by the leaders of other workstreams to be acting according to the directives set by the DAO and halfway reasonably toward their own team. That there seems to be such strong pushback to the idea of adopting policies for keeping Workstream Leaders in line directly obviates the need for these mechanisms to exist, in my opinion.

We don’t need special mechanisms. The more special mechanisms we have the harder our org is to understand. Also I disagree with these special mechanisms. They seem like a worse approach to potential issues than our existing, simpler process.
I’ve spent a lot of time expressing my disagreement with this proposal and you do not seem to want to budge. Feel free to propose as is if you have sufficient upvotes at the end of ideation. I plan to vote against this as I think it would be a major step backward for the DAO.

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