IETF (still) too slow (followup)

I am following up on my previous post on this topic, which was focusing on issues related to the timely development of YANG modules. There are other key factors that determine the speed in which work completes and that are often ignored in the IETF when people discuss work to be taken on and define milestones.

A big part is the management of the human resources. Yes, this may sound strange give that the IETF is a volunteer organization and hence does not directly “control” human resources. But still, if a WG starts a new project, the WG and the WG leadership should be clear about the resources that are needed to finish the project. In particular, the following matters a lot:

  • Who are the active contributors? Can we expect them to work together effectively?
  • How much agreement on the scope of the work exists amount the active contributors?
  • How much time are the active contributors able to put into the effort? (Active contributors sometimes overestimate what they can do during IETF meetings.)
  • How well do the WG chairs keep the work flowing and “side attacks” to slow down the work or to hijack crucial human resources out of the way?

The IETF has a track record of having milestones that do not mean much. And this is a symptom indicating that people create milestones that are nice to have but often unrealistic due to over-committed human resource that are needed to do the work.