Staying on Track (Re: Documenting pilots (RE: pausable explanation for the Document Series))

Scott W Brim swb at
Sat Jun 7 16:24:17 CEST 2003

On Sat, Jun 07, 2003 10:28:48AM -0400, Margaret Wasserman allegedly wrote:
> The process document currently suggests forming a WG to evaluate
> improvements to the WG process, develop metrics, run experiments,
> etc...  IMO, the group should focus on making iterative
> improvements to the quality, timeliness and predictability of
> WG output that are expected to have near-term results.  I think
> that there is a lot of low-hanging fruit regarding the process
> used by WGs, including milestone management, reviews, etc.  So,
> I think that we can make quite an improvement in the operation
> of the IETF through process improvements in this area.

All sounds good.

> There has been some support for the creation of this WG, and for
> holding a BOF in Vienna.  However, there have also been folks who have
> argued that a WG is "too heavyweight" to do this, and that we should
> be performing this function in a more adhoc manner.  In particular,
> John has suggested that the IESG run the process.
> Although I accept that it is within the area of responsibility of the
> IESG to run this function, we also have an acknowledged overload
> problem for individual IESG members.  So, I think that this is a
> perfect example of a responsibility that the IESG can, and should,
> delegate to members of the community with expertise in process
> improvement, metrics development, etc.
> Because I think that this activity should be open to the community, I
> favor a WG.
> What do others think?

Why do we have design teams?  For that same reason, we want a relatively
small group to do most of the work in fashioning ideas and trying to get
experiments done.  WGs aren't the most fast-moving of structures.
However, refreshing new ideas from refreshing new people are going to be
very valuable, and WG design teams can get static.  So what you want is
a small group of people, with membership which must be churned
periodically (but not too often, say once a year), who take input from a
large group and come up with short-term process experiments and then
push them to completion.  You can put this in the working group
structure if you like, and we can use NomCom's procedures for
determining membership in the small group, but the only reason to do so
is that WGs are all we know how to do.  I would just call it a task
force, an ad hoc group, a kind of directorate, some group type with a
good acronym, but not bother to make it a WG.


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