March 16, 2019

Paris Blockchain Week PM Observations

I attended the Ethereum Magicians Council of Paris and EthCC last week. I approached both with a PM perspective, to understand how the crypto community views PM’s these days.

Tension

My take from these events is that the need for PM’s is still resisted. Yet at the same time, there seems to be a growing recognition that crypto needs more coordination. It feels like an interesting tension.

The tension exists between recognizing projects need more coordination, yet still rejecting the need for PM’s. My sense is we need to work on demonstrating how PM’s can provide this coordination in beneficial ways.

Other Observations

Much of the talk was governance focused. Many speakers discussed the need to relieve developers from making governance decisions. PM’s could do this. This could be one area we can provide immediate, tangible and recognizable value.

Documenting meetings came up a lot too. I feel this can be useful when done purposefully. I’m not sold on the value of comprehensive meeting minutes. I do believe in the value of documenting decisions made, open questions and next steps.

Most ETH 2.0 panelists rejected the notion of needing PM help when I asked the question. Some said Danny was already doing a good job. Others said it was too early. One person said a PM could be helpful with coordinating testing.

The ETH Cat Herder session at the Counsel of Paris felt like a hopeful step. My sense is we need to lead by example here. The Cat Herders should practice what we preach.

This means holding our own sessions and following up on them in the same manner we’d recommend to teams we help coordinate. This to me feels like the most important next step we can take.

Building and Shipping?

Finally, the two words I heard most were governance and research. I wish I heard more about building and shipping.

Then again, the focus on governance and research also explains why the need for PM’s isn’t widely recognized yet.

Hopefully this recognition increases as the focus on building and shipping does.

explore in a future issue.


P.S. - This post was first published in my free Blockchain PM newsletter.