Setting TAG Priorities - Next steps

TAG members:

In an email just sent [1], I summarized the work we've done so far toward 
setting the TAG's long term agenda.  We have a F2F scheduled tentatively 
for end of June:  if we can make good progress refining our priorities 
between now and then, we'll have a much more effective F2F agenda, and 
there will be less need to spend time discussing priorities.  So, here are 
my thoughts on next steps, along with a request for you to help move this 
discussion forward in the coming weeks:

First, it's clear that there is a balance to be struck between top down 
planning driven by unifying themes as identified at the F2F [2] vs. 
stepping in quickly and effectively on other high priority matters that 
need attention.  I don't think we yet know what the right balance is. 
Also, we haven't >yet< shown that we can use the themes we gathered at the 
F2F to motivate specific work items with clear goals and measures of 
success.  Even if the themes do prove effective, we'll need to be nimble 
about taking up other high priority work from time to time.  So, we need 
to propose more specific activities under each theme, and to prioritize 
both the big themes and the specific activities.

Let's try in email in the coming weeks to make progress, building on what 
we did at the F2F.  There are multiple threads we'll need to pursue in 
parallel, iterating until we have a set of particular deliverables 
organized by high priority themes, or else perhaps until the point where 
we decide that themes aren't serving us after all.  Below my signature are 
a set of questions I think we should be discussing between now and the 

I propose that we let this discussion go on as a background activity for a 
few weeks to see whether it proves fruitful.  In the meantime, we have 
quite a few items left over from last week's agenda, as well as one or two 
new ones, and they look worthwhile to me.  I'll be scheduling those for 
telcons on the 26th and the 2nd, while keeping an eye on this discussion 
of long term priorities.  Thank you.

Thank you.




*       Of the 6 themes identified [2] at the F2F, and of the particular 
items listed under them, help us set priorities.  Should we focus on all 6 
equally?  Are the themes in fact useful in setting priorities?

*       Help us understand what >particular activities< you would pursue 
under those themes.  Your proposals can come from existing issues, finding 
drafts, etc., or can be new proposals.  We need to get to the point where 
each activity is aimed at identified audience(s), has clear measures of 
success, and has at least a rough agreed timeframe.  Of course, we can 
retune such plans at anytime.

*       Are there topics we're working on or considering that should be 
dropped or wrapped up?

*       If possible, take some time to review all the material linked from 
my email pointing to all the fact finding done at the F2F and in earlier 
emails [1] and see whether any of it motivates suggestions for what we 
should do.

*       Please take the time to look at and help us prioritize the open 
issues  that we did not get to at the F2F.  If you want to help tune up 
the descriptions or volunteer to shepherd that would be even better, and 
it will save us from eventually taking group time to do that.  Right now, 
the most important thing is to suggest priorities and dispositions (e.g. 
if you thank an issue should be closed).  I am aware that there is a 
circular dependence between prioritizing these issues in isolation and at 
the same time deciding who to use themes to set priorities.  I'm 
suggesting that setting preliminary priorities in isolation is useful 
anyway, and if the themes eventually cause us to reconsider, that's fine.

I'm encouraging you to discuss all this in parallel for awhile, and from 
whatever angles seem most useful to you.  What I'll be looking for is to 
see that whatever path we choose through all this leads to priorities that 
we can agree to, and that those agreed priorities allow us to efficiently 
identify concrete high value work items and deliverables, each of which 
has reasonably clear timetables and measures of success. 

Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142

Received on Sunday, 22 March 2009 15:11:26 UTC