Not all RFC's are created equal

RFC’s are great for documenting proposals and getting buy-in from the team, but the process may hit a bottleneck when the team scales. It’s the reason why RFC’s are moderated by a small, tight-knit committee. If the committee doubles by two, then the feedback loop doesn’t just double but multiplies exponentially because the number of interactions increases. Moreover, RFC’s don’t differentiate between high value, high effort items and high value, low effort items. See table below:

  High Effort / Risk Low Effort / Risk
High Value / Impact Plan It Do It
Low Value / Impact Discard It Discard It

Generally, if an RFC is high value and low effort, you should do it immediately. There’s no reason to wait for consensus since the time it takes for people to review and approve it is the time it takes for someone to get it done. This is a scenario where it’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. RFC’s of high value and effort, on the other hand, should be reviewed by the committee since planning (allocation of time and resources) is required. Accordingly, cost/benefit and tradeoffs should be considered.

In conclusion, not all RFC’s are created equal. A strong committee will be able to identify which RFC’s are valuable and which aren’t. The scalability of RFC’s depends on how well the committee prioritizes things. If a committee prioritizes everything equally, then it lacks a strong sense of values.

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