I agree with Harry that there was significant effort put into preparing the current process. The effort should first be to understand and, if necessary clarify the presently defined process rather than to change it. Also, questions of document format, although important, must be separated from the standards development process discussion.
There were several points brought out in the plenary, and since I have not yet released the minutes, it may be germane to state them separately. They are not necessarily law, but they seem reasonable.
1. one must distinguish between versions of a standard and versions of a document. It is quite possible to have, for example two versions of a protocol, each fully documented and each implementable. However, for document versions that deal with corrections, additional information, new insights, each version will obsolete the previous version. There have been some good suggestions on keeping track of document versions, particularly those that including the date in the title. I suggest that work on different versions of a standard be treated as distinct activities. That is, if we have Printing Protocol, that has advanced to Draft Standard, and we have a need for and have either created a new charter or revised charter for Printing Protocol 2, then Printing Protocol 2 becomes the title, it advances though the document stages as a separate project, and it is distinct from any version of Printing Protocol.
2. The levels of standards are defined. (Proposed Standard, Draft Standard and Standard). The steps to reach each stage are defined. There is an approval process for each stage. Once a document is reaches a certain stage, it cannot be revised or updated as a document at that stage; that would violate the sense of the approval process. A new series of working drafts can be done for the next stage. Or the document can be invalidated in which case a new project may be started at the lowest level to address the fatal flaw.
3. The interim documents to reach a standard of a given level are working drafts of a document to eventually become a standard at that level. That is, an interim document of a Printing Protocol Draft Standard should include in the title Working Draft - Printing Protocol Draft Standard. It can be assumed that there will be multiple working drafts and therefore, conceptually, versions of the working draft. I suggest that the date distinguishing scheme be used for these working drafts.
From: Harry Lewis [mailto:harryl at us.ibm.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 4:12 PM
To: pwg at pwg.org
Subject: PWG> PWG Process
The SM f2f discussion of PWG Process was quite painful. It is obvious there are a multitude of varying perspectives on how to conduct the progression of a standards specification. We opened the process topic because we realized some conflicting information and need for clarification in our document. I don't have a problem citing other organizations in search of "best practice" but I would like us to consider applying newfound reason to clarify our process, not redefine it!
Our existing process distinguishes the key stages of Chartering, Proposing, Specifying, Implementing and Maintaining an industry standard. It recognizes supporting documents for this activity such as White Papers, Working Drafts and Standards. It also acknowledges activities such as Brainstorming, Requirements gathering, prototyping, implementing and testing.
The process, as written, is an attempt to organize these activities and supporting documents in such a way that streamlines the progression from concept to final standard... something we hadn't seen in other venues. One of the key elements of the existing process is that there are ONLY 3 LAST CALLS. Each last call (if passed) makes a distinct transition to a more stable level of the standard. This is signified by the STATUS (reflected in the name) of the standard... not the version. Versioning was not discussed in the current PWG process (which is a flaw) but was assumed to be a linear progression on the working drafts that supported the standard progression.
Several ideas for updating our process were floated in the phone conference today. I am not opposed to updating the process... if one thing was proven by today's call it is that there is very little agreement on how the standard should be interpreted. I do feel compelled to remind that a great deal of similar discussion went into creation of the current process. I do wonder how much effort we are likely to expend only to come up with a process with new naming and versioning that diagrams out to nearly what we have, today.
I recommend anyone who has a proposal which they were trying to hash out in the call but who feels like, perhaps, their point did not get assimilated or would like to expose their concepts to a wider audience, go ahead and describe your idea here, for discussion on the PWG.org reflector
IBM Printing Systems
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