Jonathan Rosenberg jdrosen at
Mon Feb 3 12:20:58 CET 2003

Spencer Dawkins wrote:
 > I agree with most of what Henning is saying, but am disturbed by one
 > point -
 >> [...] Almost any working group has to now go through a much longer
 >> chartering process, fairly extensive 'requirements' and 'framework'
 >> documents, before the working group is even allowed to talk about
 >> protocol development. This is a process change which was (I
 >> believe) never really discussed and isn't really documented.
 > How widespread is this perception? I have no idea WHY individuals in
 > the IETF would think they were "not even allowed to talk about
 > protocol development" before they go "extensive 'requirements' and
 > 'framework' documents".

I don't think thats the case. However, I do feel it is the case that 
there is now a greater emphasis on requirements and frameworks than in 
the past. This means that more groups seem to be chartered to work on 
such requirements and frameworks before their protocols. Indeed, in the 
sip case, we now have a separate working group JUST on frameworks and 
requirements, which is in fact forbidden from protocol work (sipping). 
See RFC 3427.

Like most everything we've been discussing, sometimes these requirements 
phases are a problem, and sometimes, they are not. I have been in cases 
where a requirements document was a quick and useful effort (the sipping 
content indirection requirements draft comes to mind). It forced you to 
think about the features you wanted, and make sure the mechanism was 
selected to meet the feature needs. The protocol work went on somewhat 
in parallel (lagging a bit) to the requirements work, which is also a 
good thing, I believe. Requirements are a key process of most 
engineering activities, and are useful when done properly.

I think the requirements process IS a problem when (1) it is forced to 
complete before protocol design, (2) partipants come with preferred 
mechanisms in mind, and move the protocol arguments into the 
requirements phase, masked as a requirements discussion.

-Jonathan R.

Jonathan D. Rosenberg, Ph.D.                72 Eagle Rock Ave.
Chief Scientist                             First Floor
dynamicsoft                                 East Hanover, NJ 07936
jdrosen at                     FAX:   (973) 952-5050                      PHONE: (973) 952-5000

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