Internet                                                     M. Blanchet
Internet-Draft                                             Viagenie inc.
Expires: May 27, 2003                                  November 26, 2002

               Suggestions to Streamline the IETF Process

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002).  All Rights Reserved.


   The intent is to document problems in the IETF process and to suggest
   simple solutions that can be easily implemented and do not require
   major changes in the IETF organisation, following the value of
   "running code".

1. Use of keyword

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.

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Internet-Draft    Suggestions to Streamline the IETF Process  November 2002

2. Document Structure

   This first version of this document was written during the
   presentations of the Atlanta ietf plenary on the subject of
   evolutionizing the IETF.  It started with the author personal views
   of problems and solutions and then was revised based on feedback.

   The document is structered in the following way: for each problem, a
   problem statement is written and one or many solutions is listed.
   Problem statements are labeled and numbered with P## and suggested
   solutions with S## in order to identify them when discussing.  P##
   and S## numbering are independant each other and are not ordered in
   any specific way.

3. Problem Statements and Suggested Solutions

   o  P1: WG chairs that do not understand the process cannot use the
      tools available to them most effectively, and may bias or delay
      the outcome of the process.

         S1: WG chairs MUST be formed and know the details of the
         process.  New wg chairs MUST attend to wg chair "course"  on
         their first IETF meeting as chairs

   o  P2: Groups work very slowly if the chair is not paying attention,
      fore example when WG chairs are busy with their own life/work.

         S2: a wg SHOULD have 2 wg chairs

   o  P3: WG charters and requirements are not clear at the beginning

         S3: before wg is started, the charter AND the requirement
         document SHOULD HAVE reached concensus.

   o  P4:  Waiting for IETF meetings to identify/reach concensus
      sometimes delays too much the advancement of the working group.
      Judging concensus based on mailing list comments does not usually
      show the silent majority opinion.

         S4: A fair concensus tool between IETF meetings is required.
         An online voting tool to help sense concensus in the wg between
         ietf should be available for all wg.  (This topic seems
         contentious in problem-statement mailing list.  it could be
         withdrawn in next version.)

   o  P5: The problems in a design that need expertise from other areas
      to catch are caught late in the process, if at all.

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         S5: have area experts (i.e.  for each area) pre-assigned to
         each wg.  They report to the chairs and AD of the wg, not

   o  P6: Lack of transparency: design teams are perceived as a way to
      bypass the wg, to push forward the opinions of the members of
      these design teams.  Design team member selection is often done
      behind the scenes.

         S6: Instead of using design teams, chairs ask many individuals
         to write a document on the subject matter, and use the wg
         procedures for that document.

   o  P7: Interim meeting are often called with not enough notice in
      advance with the important information needed to schedule: agenda,
      location, dates.  This results in important scheduling problems
      for people who want to attend the meeting.  The final result is
      the absence of people that could give good input.

      *  S7: interim meetings should be called with sufficient advance
         notice (6 weeks min.) which MUST include the proposed agenda,
         the location (nearest airport at least) and the dates.

   o  P8: Some comments are lost without being addressed by document
      authors.  It is hard for others to see what outstanding comments
      there are.

      *  S8: have a formal tracking system to track document comments.

   o  P9: Room concensus request are often unclear and do not give good

      *  S9: any room concensus MUST use hands NOT humms.  Questions and
         choices to vote MUST be written on the screen and the meaning
         being verified and agreed before proceeding to the concensus

   o  P10: Non-English speakers find it easier to read questions from a
      screen than to be sure they understand a spoken question.

         S10: Chairs and proposers MUST write questions/proposals/...
         on the screen before any discussion

   o  P11: The chairs and ADs might be seen to use their status for
      pushing their own documents or proposals.

      *  S11: If a wg chair or AD is an author of a wg doc, he should
         find a co-author and have his co-author make presentations.

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4. Security Considerations

   If we don't streamline the IETF process, we might end up either:
   doing too late standards to secure the Internet or pushing bad
   unsecure protocols.

5. Acknowledgements

   All the people involved in the idn working group  helped me to learn
   to try to be a wg co-chair are acknowledged here, in particular
   Thomas Narten, Erik Nordmark, Harald Alvestrand, John Klensin, James
   Seng and Paul Hoffman.

   The new revision of the document was based on suggestions from:
   Harald Alvestrand.


   [1]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
        Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [2]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP
        9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

   [3]  Bradner, S., "IETF Working Group Guidelines and Procedures", BCP
        25, RFC 2418, September 1998.

Author's Address

   Marc Blanchet
   Viagenie inc.
   2875 boul. Laurier, bureau 300
   Sainte-Foy, QC  G1V 2M2

   Phone: +1 418 656 9254

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Internet-Draft    Suggestions to Streamline the IETF Process  November 2002

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