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Re: Thoughts on culture -esp. chairs and versions Re: " W3C Culture" CG? RE: Problems I'd like to see addressed in Process 2016

From: Kai Scheppe <k.scheppe@t-online.de>
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2015 14:55:49 +0200
Message-ID: <55422655.40900@t-online.de>
To: Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>, public-w3process@w3.org
> That's not as simple as that "chairs need to...". And there is nothing
> like one W3C culture here: each WG has its own work style and habits,
> each Chair has its own chairing style that highly depends on the local
> WG culture.

Of course each chair has his style, but I disagree that there is no such 
thing as a W3C culture.
The culture exists and it is important for what W3C is, but is also part 
of the problem.

W3C has an altruistic approach to Web technologies.
This is laudable, but W3C forgets that it is selling a product.
Its role, its voice, its influence only exist as long as others are 
willing to "buy" this product.

W3C is extremely consensus driven.
That is fine to make everyone happy, but it does not help to get things 

Also, W3C is attempting to create the best possible specs at the first 
attempt, which is commendable.
Yet it invites very long deliberations in order to achieve consensus.

W3C is a global organization.
Timezones, text based tools and cultural differences add their part to 
the delays that are incurred.

> Yes, we drive the agenda, try to orient work towards realistic goals
> and timeframes. But there is not much we can do if the Membership
> disagrees.
I think that is precisely when the chair needs to do something.
But it takes skilled, deliberate moderation do carve the salient points 
out of an issue and drive it to resolution.
Technically most chairs are quite able to do so.
On the point of moderation I think improvements could be made.
Keep in mind, I am proposing a moderator in parallel to the chair, to 
focus on group dynamics and allow the chair to focus on the technology

The point is, issues are resolved over several meetings or calls.
Normally the issue is delegated to somebody who, if all goes well, 
attempts to solve it in a timely fashion.
If however there is again disagreement as to the proposal, the 
discussion starts again.
This cycle can repeat itself for a long time.

I think there are more effective ways of achieving the same goals.

 1. Create user stories to define the desired goal and a definition of done
 2. Prioritize the tasks in an 1-n numbered fashion
 3. Start with the most important issues, save for irrevocably depend tasks
 4. Create and deliver product/specification increments in shorter time
 5. Learn from their practical application and introduce changes based
    on experience
 6. Expand the spec at each iteration and reduce changes to the absolute

I think following something like those steps above would take speed, 
consensus and quality into account without needing undue time.
It merely accepts the fact that a WG cannot foresee all necessary 
aspects at the first attempt.

> we started
> a negociatiation instead of relying on the Process that says it's one
> of our prerogatives and it was extremely long and painful. This is not
> going to happen again, Peter and I have decided this becomes our sole
> decision again, granted by the Process.
An example of what I am talking about.

> I strongly disagree, please let me explain why: chairing is not a 
> honour, it's a duty and a burden and we _all_ know it. It's not on 
> Chairs' shoulders to consider it an honour, it's W3C's task to show 
> other people it's an special role with responsibilities, that's a big 
> difference. I don't want Chairs who feel "superior" because of an 
> honour, and that's a far too big risk in your prose above. As I said 
> above, I feel I'm only the oil drop lubricating a complex engine. I 
> have some responsibilities, and even some representativity, but I 
> would feel really bad if I was taking this as an honour because it 
> would be the first sign of abuse. We chairs are not productive, 
> Standards-wise; we only help the productive people, the Membership. 
> That's why I say it's not an honour but a duty.

It's a sign of good character not to overestimate ones position as chair.
Yet, I believe the duty of a chair goes beyond mere lubrication of the 
Also, isn't it sad that you see it as a burden? It might be easier to 
find chairs, if it were not so.

Again, may be this is part of the answers to why W3C needs to be 
The chair has been tasked by W3C to bring a topic to conclusion, mostly 
a spec.
Yet, how many WG go much beyond the initially aimed for date?

I think there is something to be said for quickening the pace of 
delivering product increments and using more agile methods to achieve this.
Interestingly, looking at software development, quality and end user 
acceptance tends to improve, when proceeding in an agile fashion.

-- Kai
Received on Thursday, 30 April 2015 12:56:22 UTC

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