Part 2 of 2: Where's the Beef?
June 8, 2017
In the previous article I talked about how relying on centralized government identity documents is an ineffective and even misleading way of evaluating a contractor's credibility. What we should instead be looking at is the cold, hard evidence that our contractor knows what he's doing, knows how to pull it off, and can provide us with positive value. This can be achieved by following a simple set of guidelines in what we look for in a proposal in order to select for competence, diligence, and value.
- Expect samples of completed work prior to approval
- Require details rather than ambiguous promises
- Objectively assess the quality of the sample work
- Compare the quoted price to similar services available on the open market
- Use multi-month proposals to award contractors incrementally as output is delivered
- Cease enormous upfront payments based only on hopes, dreams, ideas, and intentions
- Halt payments on multi-month proposals where the contractor is not providing regular updates
For example, let's imagine we're evaluating a proposal that asks for $5000 worth of Dash to sponsor 10 local cryto-currency meet-up groups where each participant will receive $20 worth of free Dash for attending. The contractor pledges to host these 10 meetups in local restaurants over the course of the next three months.
Let's look at the problems here.
1. We need to see some examples of what this contractor can do. The question shouldn't be, How will you get attendees?
What we really need to see are how many people actually attended
his last meet-up. Let's see some pictures or video of what he has already done to prove what he is capable of accomplishing. Without a sample, this proposal should go no further.
2. 10 meetups over three months at local restaurants is ambiguous. If this contractor is really prepared to execute this project, he should have exact dates and times of every meet-up scheduled in advance. If it's too difficult to plan three months out, he shouldn't be pitching a three month deal.
3. Let's look at exactly what happened during his sample meet-up. Was it a well organized event with a presentation on Dash, or was it just a few guys watching football at a sports bar? When possible, we should rely on experts within our masternode voting pool who can provide professional insight into the quality of the work product based on the field it covers.
4. Is $500 per meetup a good price? How much would it cost to rent a commercial venue and hire a professional presenter to perform similar work? Research needs to be done to price out alternatives, even if that means doing some leg work before voting by making phone calls and compiling lists.
5. Receiving a $5000 one-time payment to provide services for three months makes no sense. If the job will be conducted over three months, then three payments of $1666 would be more reasonable. This provides better incentive for the contractor to perform, and it gives the MNO's a way to cut losses if things go bad.
6. Is this contractor just planning
to organize these events, or has he already done it before? Let's see the presentation he gives at the events. Let's see not just a list of the ways he plans
to recruit attendees, but rather we should be presented with actual numbers based on actual methods he's already tried. We need to be paying for what our contractors are doing
, not what they claim they will be doing
7. What kind of updates will we be receiving to monitor the progress of the proposal? Can we get videos and photos of each meetup, proof of attendance, and other measurable results? If we don't receive regular updates on a regular schedule, votes should be changed to No to cancel the contract.
Am I suggesting that proposal contractors be expected to perform some amount of work before getting paid, potentially for no pay at all if their projects are not approved? To some extent, yes. However, I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect our contractors to at least meet us part way in that regard. The treasury shouldn't be expected to front large sums of money, especially to contractors with no prior history working for Dash, without some demonstrable evidence of a return on our investment.
These suggestions are a deviation from how the treasury board has been approving contracts so far, but as long as we stick to these criteria, we'll soon see a treasury board with more beef and less pork.