Project Proposal Process and Framework

Purpose: The first section of this post outlines the process for the DAO to discuss new ideas and implement new projects. The second section begins to outline questions that will be compiled to create a standard project framework for future submissions.

There are two key objectives with this discourse:

  • Come to a consensus on the process of proposing a new project
  • Start a discussion on what should be addressed in future project proposals


The following section provides an overview of the three primary steps involved in submitting a new project for the DAO. It starts with an overview of the steps and then explores each step in more detail along with its associated risks.

The core steps are as follows:

  1. Discuss in Discord
  2. Draft a project proposal
  3. Submit to Discourse for a vote

Discuss in Discord


Members can initially use the “projects” channel in Discord to informally propose a project and get instant feedback from others. This is meant to be a more casual channel to explore ideas in a collaborative way where members can get feedback and iterate on their proposals.


The core risk with this first step is the lack of engagement on Discord with many inactive members. As the membership base continues to grow it becomes difficult to keep everyone engaged. The primary goal of this step is to get feedback and collaborate around a specific project. So the big question, related to overall community engagement, is to iterate on how we can get as much feedback and insight from members as possible during this step.

Draft a project proposal


Once a member proposes a project and gets sufficient feedback from the members they should then move on to drafting up a formal project proposal. This is the step in which the member proposing the project takes ownership and pitches it to the members after incorporating feedback from the initial Discord discussion.


The first risk with this step is the current lack of a clear outline/ structure in the proposal format. This makes it more difficult for voting members to effectively assess the project proposal and allows for persuasive writing/ bias to creep into each proposal. The example below outlines a proposal from Luis to incubate the RAW DAO. While it is written in nice detail, it still raises several unanswered questions. Having a clear structure for project proposals will allow the member owning the project to put more thought into things like timeline, resources needed, how it benefits the DAO, etc,. In addition to this, it will also make it easier for voting members to understand and analyze the project proposal allowing for a more informed vote.

The second risk is related to the member proposing the project. There is a clear free-rider problem where one or two people in charge of the project will end up doing the majority of the work while many passive members benefit. It’s a misalignment of incentives for those that have to do most of the heavy lifting. One possible way to mitigate this is to enable increase ownership for the project leader either by giving them a title or potential token stake (while allowing the DAO to maintain a healthy amount) in the new project they are owning.

Submit to Discourse for a vote


This final step is to submit the project proposal for a vote on Discourse. This is where we expect final comments/ feedback to take place and is often where active members voice their final thoughts before voting on the project.


The first risk here is oftentimes there isn’t a clear next step outlined or it’s not even clear what the members are voting on. Having a project proposal structure will mitigate this.

The second risk is related to the lack of overall engagement from members where many don’t vote. If a member who doesn’t vote either has strong opinions against the project or conversely has a core competency they can add to the project this results in a clear opportunity loss. This can be mitigated in two ways 1) allow a 72 hour voting time frame 2) continue with other initiatives like the admissions process to membership or a weekly call to build stronger relationships and interactions among members.

Questions to Consider in Proposal

  • How does the project align with the DAO’s mission?
    • If it doesn’t align with the mission, how does it further the brand value of the core DAO and benefit members?
  • Is there a high opportunity cost for the DAO?
  • What are the main OKRs for this project?
  • Are there any conflicts of interest from the proposer?
  • Outline resources (capital, time, people) from the DAO needed to drive the project to completion
  • Outline next steps and timeline to complete next steps

Hey darkwingduck
Thanks for the proposal! It seems great. I support this process. I would add a few things on it:

  • where the process will be available (maybe #interrnal-relations teams can help here)
  • define better the requirements to change the stage (if any). For instance, “gets sufficient feedback from the members” should be more like “gets at least other 5 members public support”.
  • define better the format: I think this proposal should include a model of discourse proposal (with fields to be filled) and a naming convention, like “FIP #5” (“fingerprints improvement proposal number 5”)

I don’t want my comments to become a friction for us to improve, but I believe that if we have those points addressed, we have a lot more changes that the process is really adopted. Also will help other to create better proposals under a defined process and models.


Agree with @renatoshira 's comments here – in general a good propsoal @darkwingduck and with a few additions / clarifications will be great.

One additional thing I’d suggest adding is to specify a minimum time period for each phase.

Finally, I think your free-rider comment in the drafting stage is perfectly valid, and I like your suggested mitigation, but I don’t think we need to come up with a final answer to this as part of your project proposal process.


Thanks for starting this convesation.

I think we should move on and draft a v0 template so we can get on with this and allow more projects to be proposed asap.

I took the liberty of writing one:

The process then could be based on what you’ve mentioned:

  1. Discuss informally on Discord to gauge interest;
  2. Draft a project proposal following this template;
  3. Add it to discourse for initial discussions, no voting yet;
  4. Edit a final version of the proposal incorporating comments from the initial discussion (if any) and do a final vote on Discourse if the costs to the DAO are <25ETH and on Snapshot if >= 25ETH.

thanks for putting that together. Looks like a great initial version of the proposal template. Would be great for people to start using this and we can build on it over time.

One concern as mentioned by a few people above is to emphasize the timeline to completion and next steps. This currently is a question within the proposal but perhaps more emphasis can be placed here. One way to do this is to add a “Next Steps” question to the closing remarks.

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One thought to add to the process side: I think we should request that the proposer of the project and any members who would financially benefit from the proposal (e.g. payment in ETH) should be prevented from voting.

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How do I access the notion site? Can I please be added?