W3C | Guidebook

Tips for Getting to Recommendation Faster

Status of this Document

This document is part of the W3C Guidebook. However, this document is public.


Background

In discussing this issue, the W3C Advisory Board has maintained that, while Working Groups should be able to move documents as quickly as possible through the Recommendation track, speed was less important than technical quality, interoperability, and consensus and buy-in from the W3C Membership and Web community. Rather than create a special "expedited Recommendation track" which might undermine some of the quality assurance ensured by the current process, this document suggests steps for smoothing a document's way through the existing Recommendation track.

1. Build consensus early within W3C

Build consensus early around the scope of work. Some mechanisms available to Members include:

A newly formed Working Group that starts with an already-deployed specification may advance to Last Call as quickly as they wish, provided there is agreement in the Working Group to do so. Plan for an early face-to-face meeting for this type of decision.

2. Build consensus early in the Web Community

Even when a specification is well-deployed, expect feedback and requests for changes based on broader review than the initial authors. It may take some time to build awareness in other W3C groups, related standards organizations, and in the Web community generally. Some mechanisms that will help secure wide review include:

  1. Charter the Working Groups with public deliverables;
  2. Organize a W3C Workshop;
  3. Organize joint meetings with other W3C groups or groups outside of W3C. Or just invite people to attend a few meetings to start dialog;
  4. Secure early attention from horizontal review groups within W3C (WAI, QA, I18N, TAG, Device Independence);
  5. Publish primers and other outreach materials;
  6. Develop test suites and other supporting materials in parallel with the Recommendation track document. Talk to people in the QA Activity about existing tools and test suite frameworks;
  7. Organize press releases with the Communications Team;
  8. Plan for conference presence.

3. Dedicate resources to the work

Members should expect that if they want to get work done faster within the W3C Process, they may need to expend extra resources to do so (e.g., on communications). Some suggested mechanisms:

  1. Sponsor a technical writer with expertise to capture Working Group consensus and write terse, usable documents.
  2. Dedicate resources internally to developing software or test materials in parallel with the specification's development. Early implementation experience will shorten Candidate Recommendation time substantially.

Note: W3C Fellows always contribute a lot, but may raise concerns among other Members that one Member's interests are overrepresented in a particular area.


Ian Jacobs, Last modified: $Date: 2012/06/01 17:01:11 $