Technical Committee Checklist

Best Practices : Article

You have just formed a new consortium and you’re anxious to begin work – real work – on meeting your goals and objectives. Your chances for success will be much higher if you first have a solid foundation in place. Here is a handy checklist you should have before starting your first technical committee or working group.

For the Organization as a Whole:

✓ RoP or Rules of Procedure. This document describes how groups are formed, how they conduct business, and how they are closed.

✓ Standards Development Process. This document describes the standards development lifecycle – from initial proposals to final standards and beyond, including requirements, drafting, review cycles, approval levels, comment resolutions, maintenance and errata.

✓ Tools and Technologies. Just like an internal team, a committee or working group must have the ability to share common assets, communicate with each other, and have the right tools in place in order to accomplish the task before them. Mailing lists, document repositories, wikis, forums, issue trackers, collaborative work spaces – identifying these up front will ensure that each group going forward has a consistent set of tools to work with.

For the Individual Committees/Working Groups:

✓ Charter. The Charter defines the scope of work to be conducted by the group and itemizes deliverables and due dates.

✓ Minimum Membership. You have to have sufficient resources – both human and monetary – in order to conduct business. Minimum membership should be defined in the Standards Development Process and may include both individual and/or organizational participation.

✓ Proposed Chair(s). Depending on your Rules of Procedure, Chairs may be appointed or elected. If elected by the group members, having at least one strong candidate in place will ensure that the group will have the necessary leadership to carry out its mission.

… and most importantly,

✓ Commitment. When a group is in its formation stages, everyone is excited about the prospects and anxious to jump in. But once the honeymoon period is over and the hard work is about to begin, will the members still be available? Let’s face it – for most organizations the people doing the work also have full-time jobs, and those jobs can be very demanding – taking away from the consortium. While membership dues provides financial stability, human resources are needed if the consortium is to be successful in carrying out its mission.

Are you prepared?

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