Full Time vs Part Time Contributors

Comparing the usage of full time vs part time contributors to support and build ecosystems

There are a number of considerations to make when considering the use of either full time contributors, part time contributors or a mixture of both.

Part time contributors


  • Can help increase diversity of participation - Using part time contributors means more resources can be split between a larger amount of people. This helps to increase the diversity of participation in the work that needs to be executed and any governance decisions. More people involved in governance decisions helps to increase how democratic the outcome was.

  • Flexible to changing working requirements - Having a larger amount of contributors that are part time makes the group of people more flexible to working in different ways based on requirements. This could include the cohort working at a similar time in the day or month to have more support for high workload situations. The number of part time contributors could also increase and decrease with more precision based on what is required by the ecosystem.


  • Increase complexity and time used for onboarding, communication & collaboration - By only using part time contributors there is increased complexity around onboarding due to an increased number of people to teach things about the ecosystem they will need to know. More people increases the complexity of keeping everyone informed in different communication channels. More effort is also required for them to collaborate and align themselves on who is working on what and how to execute something.

  • Increased governance complexity - Increasing the number of part time contributors also increases governance complexity as part time contributors would have increased difficulty to have as much context of the entire system or processes to make well informed decisions. More time would be needed to learn about these different system or process factors themselves or through another community member before making important governance decisions.

  • Decreased team synergy - Having an increased number of part time contributors means each contributor will likely work with a wider range of people but have less time to get to know them. This increases the risk of reducing team synergy due to a lack of time for building rapport with one another. Weaker team synergy could have negative implications on how complex problems and topics are handled.

Full time contributors


  • More suited for complex governance decisions - Having full time contributors makes it easier for the contributors to have as much time as needed to fully understand the systems and processes that they are contributing towards. This more comprehensive understanding makes them more suited to be well informed on the implications of each governance decision and how it may impact the rest of the system or processes.

  • More suited for complex working requirements - In complex system and processes there is a benefit for having full time contributors who will have more capacity to spend time deeply understanding the problems that they are working on. This extra time allows them to consider a wide range of options when trying to collaborate and solve complex problems.

  • Increased team synergy - Full time contributors would have more time to spend with other contributors they are working with and build rapport. This extra time will help with contributors more fully understanding each others strengths and communication styles that can help increase the synergy in the team when dealing with complex problems and topics.


  • Decreases diversity of participation - Using full time contributors means using more capital to hire a smaller number of contributors. This risks decreasing the diversity of participation for situations where only a smaller number of full time contributors can be hired. This could negatively impact the different considerations that are needed in effective decision making.

  • More centralised decision making - Paying for less contributors by making them full time will mean less people are involved in the internal decision making decisions. This increases the importance of the contributors who are selected for this decision due to those contributors having an increased amount of stewardship and delegated authority.

Catalyst & Cardano analysis

Complex systems

The Catalyst ecosystem helps the community distribute Cardano treasury funding. The Cardano development and stake pool node ecosystem handle how the Cardano chain is operated and what tools and libraries are available for developers to easily build and scale on Cardano. Both of these ecosystems are highly complex.

Complex systems result in a need for contributors to be well informed and competent to support their respective area of the ecosystem. This complexity increases the need for full time contributors to be used to support the ecosystem due to the need for contributors to have enough capacity to more fully understand the systems and processes that they are working on. High quality work is required to maintain and improve these systems and processes. There is also an increased level of accountability for these cohorts and as a result contributors are more suited to being full time contributors so they can effectively deliver the quality and accountability required by the ecosystem.

Budget available for contributors

Cardano is a blockchain with global ambitions. Even in the early stages of governance there are millions of dollars of capital that are moving through the treasury into the community to facilitate the growth of the ecosystem. Increasing the scale and treasury size means the Cardano blockchain is capable of accommodating both full time and part time contributors that are effective at pushing the ecosystem forward.

Important governance decisions

IOG currently manages much of the systems and processes involved in the operation of Catalyst and Cardano. Handing this stewardship and increasing delegated authority over to the community requires a stable base of competent contributors who can effectively engage in those decisions. Whether this is a parameter change or a new feature added into the Catalyst process - these decisions have large implications on millions of dollars worth of capital. Due to the importance of these decisions this environment leans more heavily on the need for full time contributors who would be able to have more ability to have the full context required to support these governance decisions. This involves being part of the decision making process but also being able to competently produce the information required to help better inform the wider community on the governance decisions they make in the ecosystem.

Using both full time contributors & part time contributors

Due to the scale that Cardano can achieve a mixture of full time and part time contributors is important to consider. Full time contributors show obvious advantages by being more effectively at handling and supporting the complexity of the systems and processes that they are working on. However there are also instances where part time contributors are also used to help support how the ecosystem operates. An example of a part time contributor could be a proposal assessor who does assessments in each funding round. Part time contributors will also develop context around certain parts of the ecosystem which makes them great candidates to participate in governance decisions and contributions towards the improvement of those systems and processes. They also get the benefit of being able to interact with full time contributors who should have a wider understanding of the process and system implications for those decisions which helps to ensure all participants are well informed on the implications of important decisions.


  • Full time contributors better suited for complexity - Catalyst and Cardano have complex systems that are better suited to utilising full time contributors due to the need for those working on the systems and processes to have a comprehensive understanding of the implications around the decisions being made.

  • Full time contributors can be well compensated - Cardano is a global and growing ecosystem that will support a wide range of use cases and manage an increasing amount of value. The ecosystem will be able to increasingly compensate a cohort of competent full time contributors.

  • Benefits of also using part time contributors - Although full time contributors are well suited for helping to push the Catalyst and Cardano ecosystems forward there is also many instances where part time contributors will help to increase the diversity of the contributions in the ecosystem as well as the participation in important system and process governance decisions.

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