Ten questions on standards practice and leadership

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Two weeks ago Stephe Walli published a blog entry called “Developing a Standards Office for Google.” I’m not sure what prompted this advice nor how it was received at Google, but it contains a lot of interesting insights and is worth a read. I especially encourage you to substitute in your organization’s name for “Google” and see how much of it should apply to what you are doing.

There are a few other questions I’ve been thinking about that I would like to throw out there. In practice, those of us who do have a lot of organization around standards deal with these all the time. That said, they may not get the focused attention they need when other more urgent matters are being dealt with.

  • Do you have a purposeful program to bring younger technologists into your standards participation program?
  • Within your standards program, how do you do leadership development?
  • When you do year-end evaluations of your employees, how do you measure and weight standards participation?
  • What roles do standards participation and leadership play in career development?
  • Do standards participation and leadership count when considering job promotions?
  • How do you balance the technical, business, and legal needs within your standards program?
  • Does one of technical, business, and legal tend to dominate your program and is it the right one?
  • How do you coordinate standards that affect multiple business areas?
  • How do you supply the resources for standards efforts that affect multiple business areas?
  • Do standards people spend more time “tin cupping” for necessary money and resources than they do actually creating, evaluating, managing, or implementing standards?

There are a lot of questions that could be asked about standards programs and how best to manage them. What do you think are the most important questions your organization needs to answer today to be better equipped to benefit from open standards in the next five or ten years?


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