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Subject: Re: [chairs] When is a TCs work done?


I assume you're talking about the CAM TC, although you never mention it by name; please correct me if I'm wrong.

I have a hard time imagining Mary or anybody else in OASIS Staff in the role of the wicked witch of the TCAdmin, so I went digging around.

Section 2.5 of the TC Process says explicitly that "The TC Administrator must close a TC that has completed the deliverables listed in its charter."

The deliverables listed in the CAM TC charter are targeted for 2003. It is now seven years later. If the deliverables were indeed delivered, and you want/need to continue the TC, it's time to recharter, don't you think?. The TC process document explains how to do this. If the deliverables were not delivered, dude, what have you been doing these past seven years? What kind of TC are we talking about?

As regards the TC membership, it is below what the TC process defines as "Minimum Membership" in Section 1, definition m: at least two organizational members among five voting members. What you currently have is less than that. I don't see any twenty people in the roster, and no, observers don't count. Not even non-voting members. Observers are nothing more than mail-list subscribers. They really really really don't count. Truly. The Minimum Membership concept is there to ensure a TC has a reasonable minimum of community or industry support and it is not just the playing ground of one company or individual.

You should also remember that OASIS is one of the least expensive organizations of its type, and it operates on an extremely restricted budget  with an extremely small staff, none of whom is trained in CPR. Asking them to basically resuscitate a TC is quite unrealistic.

As to the role of the OASIS TC admin, it's very simple: it's to ensure that the TC process is being observed by all. If you believe that the TC admin is overstepping his/her role, you can appeal; see Section 4.2, Appeals. If you believe the TC process document should be changed, send email to the Board of Directors (oasis-board-comment@lists.oasis-open.org) with a concrete proposal.

On 07/16/2010 09:35 PM, David RR Webber (XML) wrote:
20100716213519.dc066b1d4d2e0a1a65719ae85a8071e6.6fba87ebc2.wbe@email00.secureserver.net" type="cite">

What I am seeing is the opposite.

The TC wants to continue, the chair wants to continue, there is progress ongoing on new specification work, and for some reason OASIS is rushing to attempt to close the TC - instead of working with the existing members to resolve any procedural issues and keep the work moving forward.

When you have over twenty people on the roster of a TC, with new  member organization people joining it hardly counts as an effort that needs to be closed.

This should be simple, instead of OASIS saying sorry - you fail - instead saying OK - we need you to fix these particular items - and we'll remind you if you are slipping behind - before you hit a wall.

I assume Kavi is pushing this stuff at OASIS admin staff - so why can't they just send say simple monthly reminders to chairs instead of waiting until the 50th minute of the 11th hour?

It comes down to the role of OASIS admin - is it to close TCs - or is it to assist TC chairs maintain their work with timely reminders?

Thanks, DW

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: [chairs] When is a TCs work done?
From: "Dennis E. Hamilton" <dennis.hamilton@acm.org>
Date: Fri, July 16, 2010 6:38 pm
To: <robert_weir@us.ibm.com>
Cc: <chairs@lists.oasis-open.org>, "'David RR Webber (XML)'"
<david@drrw.info>, "'Martin Chapman'" <MARTIN.CHAPMAN@ORACLE.COM>

Oddly, I can't find an example of any closed TC being closed because it missed a deliverable.

All of the cases I see are usually because of lack of activity and ability to maintain an active membership and hold meetings. It tends to be rather stark when a TC runs out of gas, even when there is a heart-beat post to the list every month despite there being no list activity representing work of the TC itself.

In these cases, it appears it is not that a deliverable is late but that a deliverable is not happening and there does not appear to be anything in place to have there be a different outcome.

I am sure that appeals are possible and that might happen (be happening) with any of those TCs which are currently identified as candidates to be closed.

Going back to the post that began this thread, I find it odd that there is any expectation that OASIS is responsible for providing life support. It seems to me that a viable TC will have ample means to demonstrate its sustainability. It is not a very harsh criterion to require an ability to hold regular meetings and maintain a minimal quorum with published minutes as evidence of continuing health. Determining that there is meaningful forward progress is harder. Evidently the defection of participants from an unproductive effort provides an easier and more-decisive indicator, making trickier and subjective inspection for forward progress less necessary. I have not seen a deadline reached on time in any TC I am involved in, and I am yet to see any raised eyebrows from OASIS so long as it has been obvious that we have been moving forward with a prospect of convergence on a result.

I am currently an official of a TC that is borderline in one aspect: we have exactly 5 Voting Members and there have been times when there were fewer. But there have been regular quorate teleconferences at least monthly as long as I have been a member. At the same time, we completed a 60-day Public Review of three inter-related and mostly-new documents in May, we are processing comments and making important improvements to those documents for a second 15-day public review later this summer, and I expect we will achieve Committee Specification status shortly after that. In the short time I have been a member, I don't recall seeing a TC Closure e-mail from the TC Administrator.

I'd say that the case I have in mind is the least sustainable size for an OASIS TC activity and having such a small community of active participants is less than ideal. We are probably a marginal and borderline effort, whatever one might consider to be the worthiness of the work. I say it is noteworthy that OASIS is so tolerant of something so specialized and of limited attention in the world that five of us are able to soldier on and provide material deliverables that pass public scrutiny.

The cut-off conditions that OASIS TCs operate under are, in my analysis and experience, quite generous.

- Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: robert_weir@us.ibm.com [mailto:robert_weir@us.ibm.com]
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 14:31
To: dennis.hamilton@acm.org
Cc: chairs@lists.oasis-open.org; 'David RR Webber (XML)'; 'Martin Chapman'
Subject: RE: [chairs] When is a TCs work done?

We are very fortunate that we have some very nice and reasonable TC Admins
today, and they are are not closing TCs just because they missed a
deliverable by a week. I'll grant you that point. But you must grant me
that the process, as written today, explicitly permits TCs to be closed
purely for that reason. That is my concern.

By all means we need a way to prune out abandoned TCs. I have nothing
against that. But personal I wonder whether the criteria, as written are
overly-broad and the checks and balances absent? I think this would be
fairly easy to address in some future revision of the TC Policy. If a TC
has truly been abandoned or is moving in circles or aimlessly, then it
probably doesn't hurt anyone if we had some safeguards that turned this
from a one-person kill clause to a lightweight procedure that guaranteed
the opportunity for stakeholder and member feedback over, say a 30-day

Nothing urgent, just something to consider.


"Dennis E. Hamilton" <dennis.hamilton@acm.org> wrote on 07/16/2010
04:32:24 PM:

> Well, before we get too carried away about the speculative hazards
> of tyrannical TC Administrators, I have some anecdotal data-points on
> There are a number of OASIS TCs that are definitely inactive in the
> sense that there is nothing happening with documents, there is no
> activity on the list, and there is no indication of meetings in a
> considerable time. This also includes situations where the chair
> keeps scheduling calls that don't happen for one reason or another
> (and cancelling others for one reason or another).
> I have also reviewed mailing lists (as part of wanting to know the
> status of work that I was checking on) and observed inquiries from
> the TC Administrator to determine whether the committee is really
> active or is it ready to be closed. My impression is that there is
> nothing precipitate about the closing of a TC and that it is not
> undertaken lightly. Also, these inquiries don't happen until there
> has been a prolonged period of inactivity - more like years, not
> months, and action is not immediate or precipitate even then. It
> appears that there not only has to be no life in the corpse, it has
> to be overgrown with weeds and returned to dust. Even for
> committees which, it seemed to me, were/are really nothing but one-
> man bands (zombie TCs?), the TC administrator is very cautious.
> I conclude that there is no trip wire or time bomb by which a TC,
> once constituted, flushes down the drain like a "dunk me" target at
> a summer amusement park. That's true of all of the cases I've
> researched. I have at one time or another reviewed every OASIS TC
> that has produced an OASIS Standard in this century, along with many
> that never will (because the need the standard was intended to serve
> has disappeared or been satisfied another way, because the standards
> are published in a different venue, or because the TC has a purpose
> in which achieving an OASIS Standard is not the primary goal).
> - Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: robert_weir@us.ibm.com [mailto:robert_weir@us.ibm.com]
> Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 12:23
> To: Martin Chapman
> Cc: chairs@lists.oasis-open.org; David RR Webber (XML)
> Subject: RE: [chairs] When is a TCs work done?
> Just looking at the relevant clause:
> http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/process.php#closingTC
> In full it says:
> "The TC Administrator may close a TC that fails to conduct at least one
> Quorate Meeting or conduct any Specification Ballots during any six
> period; whose membership falls below the Minimum Membership; which has
> completed its deliverables within the schedule listed in its Charter; or

> which has failed to show progress towards achieving its purpose as
> by its Charter."
> I'd wonder what % of OASIS TCs actually complete their deliverables
> the schedule they predicted at the time they chartered it? I bet it is
> quite small. Nothing special about OASIS. Schedule estimation is hard
> general and we all tend to be overly optimistic. But regardless, one
> man's "lack of progress" is another man's "deliberate pace with
> building". Some of the best breakthroughs come after "lack of
> including good stuff worth waiting for, Hopefully we're not triggering
> closures based on those criteria very often.
> I realize that this is always going to be a judgement call, and you want

> to look at the totality of the facts and circumstances. So I'm
> that this decision can be made by a single TC Admin. I would have
> that there would be at least some minimum notification time, comment
> period, access to a Board appeal, etc. Closing a TC -- absent approval
> the TC members -- does not feel like an administrative action to me on
> with sending out the announcement of a public review, or conducting a
> committee specification ballot. It sounds like a far graver action,
> should have some more checks and balances behind it.
> My personal opinion, of course.
> -Rob
> Martin Chapman <MARTIN.CHAPMAN@ORACLE.COM> wrote on 07/16/2010 12:22:59
> PM:
> >
> > So what is the exit strategy for your TC?
> > IMHO, the only way to avoid these automatic shutdowns is for every
> > charter to be explicit enough so that TC members themselves can
> > declare victory and shut themselves down. Also the criteria isn’t
> > that onerous: maintain minimum membership (I’m sure temporary lapses
> > are tolerable), and hold a quorate meeting every six months!
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Martin.
> >
> >
> > From: David RR Webber (XML) [mailto:david@drrw.info]
> > Sent: 16 July 2010 12:58
> > To: chairs@lists.oasis-open.org
> > Subject: [chairs] When is a TCs work done?
> >
> > I'm reminded of the maxim in any good initial business plan asking -
> > what is the exit strategy?
> >
> > Seems that OASIS has criteria based mainly around number of emails
> > posted, who's posting them (apart from the TC chair) and how many
> > meetings and minutes you have posted.
> >
> > As TC chairs however - I think we deserve more support than OASIS
> > hitting our TC with FUD messages to bolster continuation of the
> > technical work.
> >
> > Several members I recently canvassed told me they would like to do
> > more than observer but their company is restricting hours and
> > requiring formal manager approval and justification for any new TC
> > related work - even just reading emails or joining a group. Given
> > those types of challenges its little wonder that typical TC work is
> > being driven by just a handful of individuals.
> >
> > OASIS needs to therefore do more in terms of assisting garnering
> > support for our work. So for example - one simple thing I notice
> > that is misleading - is that Kavi only shows voting members - what
> > should be shown also is the total number of observers (just the
> > count), and non-voting members underneath that also on the whole
> >
> > Clearly TC chairs have a huge role in continuing work of a TC. In
> > the lifecycle of a standard it is way more than just calling
> > meetings, writing specifications and publishing schema.
> >
> > Rather than FUD messages from OASIS staff to our TC - we need more
> > informal coordination to help with members who may be contemplating
> > contributing - or just testing the pulse = looking to help get more
> > involvement and so on by working with the TC chairs and reaching out
> > to potential new resources.
> >
> > Also - chairs usually know way more about what is really going on.
> > The mailing list only tells one small part of the picture - in terms
> > of what is external parties are doing, or planning to do with a
> > specification, or additional potential resources to advance new work.
> >
> > The current administrative door slamming by OASIS seems to be based
> > solely on reducing the number of TCs to some acceptable lower number
> > - rather than any rationale based on the importance of work - and
> > need to actively foster and help TC chairs gain support either
> > within their TC or with external industry groups or academic
> > institutes who may benefit or contribute further.
> >
> > Everyone is burned out of course on standards work - and its now
> > layers of burn out over burn out. Now in tough economic days it
> > seems that bean counting and ROI have totally taken over the
> > equation of specification development - rather than anything else
> > relating to technical value and incubating potential groundbreaking
> > or interesting XML capabilities within OASIS.
> >
> > Ironically the small independent members would appear to be those
> > that have the most flexibility to continue OASIS work and yet OASIS
> > itself it set to penalize them for trying!
> >
> > Thanks, DW

Eduardo Gutentag | Director, Standards Strategy & Policy
Phone: +1 510 550 4616 | Fax: +1 510 550 4616 | SMS: +1 510 681 6540
Oracle Corporate Architecture Group
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