Layer Violation (on the reorganization process)

"Olaf M. Kolkman" <> Thu, 23 September 2004 15:07 UTC

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Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 15:50:05 +0100
From: "Olaf M. Kolkman" <>
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Subject: Layer Violation (on the reorganization process)
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Dear colleagues,

This is going to be difficult to explain but I have a feeling that the
current process of getting to a new structure is somewhat of a layer
violation. I think that applying the "standards" process to a management
issue is not that efficient.

What I am trying to expand below is: I care about the new structure,
but I cannot contribute to the discussion because I just do not have
sufficient background and clue to go beyond giving an uninformed
opinion. I therefore trust the IETF management to listen to what is
said by folk on this list, try to compile the appropriate legal and
organizational advice outside the IETF and make a wise decision that
they will be able to stand by and that allows me to do my work.

Now for the long version.

In order to produce good standards we have an open procedure, that
procedure is there to guarantee that we get good standards that have a
wide support and that make the net better.

To be able to do that work we need an organizational
infrastructure. Some parts of that infrastructure immediately influence
the effectiveness with which we can do our day-to-day work. Examples
of these are our interactions with the IESG. Other aspects are a
little more distant, the exact organizational structure is one of
these things. The more distant these items get from our day to day
work the less expertise we have.

Most of us know how to do engineering (that is why we are here), some
of us have some project management experience, a smaller subset has
management experience, and a very small subset has experience in
organizational structures.

The "reorganization" is distant to most off us. And that we can see
from the discussion on the IETF mailing list. A small set individuals
is involved but the IETF at large does not contribute to the

The layering violation I see is that we try to apply our standards
process to our management process. And I think it does not work, most
of us just do not care (given the ratio of lurkers/posters). The
contrast between the standard process and this management process is
that our standards process relies on the expertise of the collective
while the collective does not have experience in organizational

I feel comfortable with the "management" taking a decision. I entrust
them to do the good thing, and I entrust them to talk to the right
people to make the informed decision. The folk that have experience
with organizational structures should voice their opinions and I am
happy this happens and that alternatives are suggested. However, I can
not, without spending hours and hours, make any informed choice on the
alternatives. And I think this applies to others. I try not voice an
opinion when I have not been able to get an informed opinion.

Openness is a good thing. But do not expect many more people to join
and lets hope that this will not turn into by micromanagment by


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