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Considerations for Having a Successful Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) Session
RFC 5434

Document type: RFC - Informational (February 2009)
Was draft-narten-successful-bof (individual in gen area)
Document stream: IETF
Last updated: 2013-03-02
Other versions: plain text, pdf, html

IETF State: (None)
Consensus: Unknown
Document shepherd: No shepherd assigned

IESG State: RFC 5434 (Informational)
Responsible AD: Russ Housley
Send notices to: narten@us.ibm.com

Network Working Group                                          T. Narten
Request for Comments: 5434                                           IBM
Category: Informational                                    February 2009

Considerations for Having a Successful Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) Session

Status of This Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2009 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (http://trustee.ietf.org/
   license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document.
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
   and restrictions with respect to this document.

Abstract

   This document discusses tactics and strategy for hosting a successful
   IETF Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) session, especially one oriented at the
   formation of an IETF Working Group.  It is based on the experiences
   of having participated in numerous BOFs, both successful and
   unsuccessful.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................2
   2. Recommended Steps ...............................................2
   3. The Importance of Understanding the Real Problem ................7
   4. The BOF Itself ..................................................8
   5. Post-BOF Follow-Up ..............................................9
   6. Pitfalls .......................................................10
   7. Miscellaneous ..................................................12
      7.1. Chairing ..................................................12
      7.2. On the Need for a BOF .....................................13
   8. Security Considerations ........................................13
   9. Acknowledgments ................................................13
   10. Informative Reference .........................................13

Narten                       Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 5434                Successful BOF Sessions            February 2009

1.  Introduction

   This document provides suggestions on how to host a successful BOF at
   an IETF meeting.  It is hoped that by documenting the methodologies
   that have proven successful, as well as listing some pitfalls, BOF
   organizers will improve their chances of hosting a BOF with a
   positive outcome.

   There are many reasons for hosting a BOF.  Some BOFs are not intended
   to result in the formation of a Working Group (WG).  For example, a
   BOF might be a one-shot presentation on a particular issue, in order
   to provide information to the IETF Community.  Another example might
   be to host an open meeting to discuss specific open issues with a
   document that is not associated with an active WG, but for which
   face-to-face interaction is needed to resolve issues.  In many cases,
   however, the intent is to form a WG.  In those cases, the goal of the
   BOF is to demonstrate that the community has agreement that:

      - there is a problem that needs solving, and the IETF is the right
        group to attempt solving it.

      - there is a critical mass of participants willing to work on the
        problem (e.g., write drafts, review drafts, etc.).

      - the scope of the problem is well defined and understood, that
        is, people generally understand what the WG will work on (and
        what it won't) and what its actual deliverables will be.

      - there is agreement that the specific deliverables (i.e.,
        proposed documents) are the right set.

      - it is believed that the WG has a reasonable probability of
        having success (i.e., in completing the deliverables in its
        charter in a timely fashion).

   Additional details on WGs and BOFs can be found in [RFC2418].

2.  Recommended Steps

   The following steps present a sort of "ideal" sequence for hosting a
   BOF where the goal is the formation of a working group.  The
   important observation to make here is that most of these steps
   involve planning for and engaging in significant public discussion,
   and allowing for sufficient time for iteration and broad
   participation, so that much of the work of the BOF can be done on a
   public mailing list in advance of -- rather than during -- the BOF
   itself.

Narten                       Informational                      [Page 2]
RFC 5434                Successful BOF Sessions            February 2009

   It is also important to recognize the timing constraints.  As

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