Complex topics (RE: Formalizing Design Teams) (fwd)

John C Klensin klensin at
Mon Jan 6 07:30:02 CET 2003


I want to be sure I understand what you are suggesting here.
Let me restate it:

	* With simple, well-defined, problems, the issues and
	possible solutions are sufficiently clear that
	solutions emerge quickly.  Unless a group gets bogged
	down in trying to choose between two equally
	satisfactory alternatives (and time pressure to make
	_some_ decision is likely to be fairly helpful with
	that), they are likely to produce quick and
	satisfactory results.
	* Complex problems are harder than simple ones.  With
	harder problems comes a greater risk of things taking
	a long time, and even of failure.
	* Failures are bad, hence we should avoid ever trying
	to work a complex problem.  Or, of course, we can just
	ignore all of the issues and tradeoffs that make the
	complex problems complex, solve the easy problem that
	results, and declare ourselves wildly successful.

Does that about cover it?   Do you think we would have IP,
even IPv4, if we had adopted that model?


--On Sunday, 05 January, 2003 14:48 -0800 Dave Crocker
<dhc at> wrote:

> Harald,
> Harald> We the IETF might want to think about whether we
> want to have formal Harald> constructs that fit better into
> this space than "areas" or "WGs".
> What are good examples of the IETF's working well on complex
> topics?
> "Working well" means that we produced good quality
> specifications, in a timely fashion and with strong market
> use of the specifications.
> "Strong market use" means that a large fraction of the
> potential user base has adopted the specifications and use
> them.
> Unfortunately, I cannot think of any success stories, in
> spite of our having tackled a number of such complex topics.
> IPv6 is a long way from demonstrating success. IPsec is
> claimed by some to be a success, but my impression is that
> its market penetration is pretty small. And neither were
> delivered in a very timely fashion.
> My thought is that we would do better to focus on improving
> our efforts for tasks for which we have a demonstrated track
> record of effectiveness, namely near-term,
> immediate-utility,discrete functions..

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