Response to WG last call, Problem Statement: Thoughts on the IETF problem statement

mark seery mark at
Thu Nov 20 22:50:17 CET 2003

---- Alex Rousskov <rousskov at> wrote:

> P.S. My questions is an attempt to separate important/essential
>      "ideal" SDO properties from "common" SDO properties so that we
>      can ignore marketing/perception issues and do a focused
>      comparison with IETF.

Hi Alex, given Melinda's requests to focus on problems and not solutions, I'll limit my response to the above snip, and perhaps we can discuss the mechanisms of other bodies at another time.

So in brief, from some small participation at say 802, I do find the processes add to a sense of fairness and dilligence, and just generally make me feel more comfortable with the procedure. They do not guarantee quality or timeliness though - those are a separate issues. They do not guarantee either that a small set of indivduals will not dominate a group, but at least there is a sense there is a process to deal with that.

Typically I feel like standards bodies do really good quality work when they are building standards for a problem domain they know well, and a customer set they know well. In all bodies, when groups deviate from this, you get tension between the way the group would have traditionally solved a problem, and the way the new customer set thinks they want the problem solved; and sometimes it is just a new type of problem that the existing technology architectures do not adapt to. What you see then is the desire to meet the requirements of new customer set, ambiguity about how to solve the problem, luke warm support for the result, and questions of quality arise. That observation leads to the unpleasant discussion of mission, but it could similarly lead to simply a discussion of the problems of scaling an organization to address a growing number of areas.

To me there is a strong link between timeliness and scope, and timeliness and reliance on an external body, as in all engineering projects, but that's off into the solution universe.

Hope this helps to differentiate between some of purported benefits and realities.

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