On Design Teams

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001

Design teams are mentioned in The Working Group Guidelines RFC (RFC 2418)
as follows:

6.5. Design teams
It is often useful, and perhaps inevitable, for a sub-group of a working group to develop a proposal to solve a particular problem. Such a sub-group is called a design team. In order for a design team to remain small and agile, it is acceptable to have closed membership and private meetings. Design teams may range from an informal chat between people in a hallway to a formal set of expert volunteers that the WG chair or AD appoints to attack a controversial problem. The output of a design team is always subject to approval, rejection or modification by the WG as a whole.

The key point here is that the output of a design team is input to a working group, not a final document. Such a document must not be considered as more important than any other input to the working group.

Anyone can write an alternative proposal and ask the working group to consider it. The decision on which document to work further on must be made by the consensus of the working group. If design teams work as intended, their output will be of a quality that speaks for itself.

Working group chairs should note that there is a potential of anti-trust liability if a design team is formed with a restricted membership and then the output is given priority over other input to the process.

Any time the Working Group decides to form a design team:

  • it must have a clear terse mission statement that must be posted on the working group mailing list.
  • the membership of the design team must also be public and posted to the mailing list.
  • any design team that lasts for more than a few months should make regular public reports on what they are doing.

This note was edited for the IESG by Scott Bradner.