QA Working Group Charter (QAWG)

This charter is written in accordance with section 6.2.6 of the W3C Process Document.


Table of Contents

  1. Mission Statement
  2. Scope and Deliverables
  3. Duration
  4. Success Criteria
  5. Milestones
  6. Confidentiality
  7. Patent Disclosures
  8. Dependencies/Relationship With Other W3C Activities
  9. Coordination With External Groups
  10. Communication Mechanisms
  11. Voting Mechanisms
  12. Participation
  13. How to Join the Working Group

1. Mission Statement

The mission of the QA Working Group (QAWG) is to solidify and extend current W3C quality practices regarding operational functions; specification editing; production of validation tools and test suites; and coordination efforts within W3C. The emphasis of this second phase of the QA Activity (2003-2005) is on implementability of the QA OpsGL and SpecGL (CR phase for both of them) and production of quality test materials by W3C Working Groups (TestGL).

2. Scope and Deliverables

The main objective of the QA Working Group is to foster the development of usable and useful test suites endorsed by the W3C, and ensure that the validating tools of the W3C are fully operational, useful and educational.

As a step in performing this task, the QA Working Group will need to work on conformance testing methodology, on the quality of W3C specifications with respect to conformance and clarity, and the tracking of issues related to specification ambiguity and evolution.

The scope of the QAWG includes:

Deliverables of the QAWG include:

Quality Commitments

In its operations, specifications, and test materials the QAWG will comply with its own guidelines.

The QAWG is the decision making body for the QA Activity.

3. Duration

This Working Group is scheduled to last 24 months, from August 2003 through August 2005.

4. Success Criteria

The main criterion of success for the QAWG is that W3C Recommendations released during the operation of the Working Group are of better quality than those released before, and that validators and test suites are available for each technology. (We note that this criterion for success is dependent on the success of communications with other W3C Working Groups.)

Timely delivery of the materials mentioned above (including our own quality commitments) is a criterion for judging the quality of the work of the group.

5. Milestones

For the first year only:

6. Confidentiality

The Working Group and the Activity resources in general are publicly accessible.

All documentation, test suites, and validating tools produced inside this Activity will have to be defined under a license. There are still questions about the kind of license to use (for instance, we have two licenses at W3C: one for document and one for software, the document license being more restrictive for the change control, which may be of interest to ensure the integrity of QA tools). This will be discussed in the QA Activity.

In any case, we expect the tools to be freely usable, runnable, and downloadable and that the group will operate under a royalty-free licensing mode (RF).

7. Patent Disclosures

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis.

8. Dependencies/Relationship With Other W3C Activities

The QAWG is heavily dependent on the participation of Other W3C groups for its success.

This is particularly important for the production of good quality specifications and the resolution of issues between external test developers and specification editors pertaining to ambiguity in specifications.

See the note in the Participation section below for details.

QA will also need to coordinate with other W3C Activities doing reviews, like WAI, I18N, Device Independence and the TAG.

Finally, since the quality of W3C specs is today in the hands of the Communications Team (pubrules - Member-only document), good coordination with this W3C team is very important.

9. Coordination With External Groups

We expect coordination with external groups to happen in both the QAWG and the QA Interest Group (QAIG). QAIG is where issues about outside activities are raised and discussed and QAWG is where partnership will actually happen.

10. Communication Mechanisms

10.1 Email

The archived mailing list www-qa-wg@w3.org is the primary means of discussion within the group.

10.2 Web

The group maintains a public Working Group page.

10.3 Phone Meeting

At the time of this renewal, the QAWG meets every week by phone on Monday at 10am Boston time, for one hour to one hour and a half.

10.4 Face-to-face Meetings

Face to face meetings will be arranged 3 to 4 times a year, rotating location between USA west coast, east coast, Europe, and occasionally Asia/Pacific/Australia. Meeting details are made available on the W3C Member Calendar and on the QAWG home page.

10.5 Communication with the Public

The QAWG home page is the primary way of communicating the group's progress to the public.

11. Voting Mechanisms

The Group works by consensus. In the event of failure to achieve consensus, the Group may resort to a vote as described in the Process Document. All group participants in good standing are allowed to vote.

Escalation: Appeals from Working Group decisions are made first to the W3C Team following the procedures established by the W3C Process Document (first the Domain Leader and then the Director).

12. Participation

W3C Staff Resource Commitment

W3C also funds Lofton Henderson part-time to lead the QAWG as Chair.

Note: In addition to this core team, it is important to point out that most of the W3C technical staff acting as staff contact for a technology will end up working "part time" for QA, when their technology is up on the QA agenda. E.g. X is not in the QA team, but when the QA team starts looking closely at a test suite for the specification he or she is dealing with, we expect X to free up some time and resources to coordinate with us, interface with people in the group, help us promote whatever W3C test guidelines we have come up with during Working Group meetings, if needed, etc.

All W3C group participants should realize that QA is to be considered a natural overhead of any Working Group, even if it is not written down in W3C process yet. QA will succeed only if every person inside W3C participates in it.

External Participant Commitment (W3C Members or invited experts)

For participation in the QA Working Group, the requirements for meeting attendance and timely response are described in the W3C Process Document. This participation (attending meetings, reviewing documents, preparing drafts or tools) is expected to consume between one half to one day per week.

We expect and will be welcoming different communities to contribute to the Activity:

As this Activity has a clear multi-stakeholder approach, we expect to use multiple approaches to reach our goals, and not a fixed set of rules that would not be applicable to all participants.

13. How to Join the Working Group

Information about how to join the Working Group is available on a separate How-to-Join page.


Dominique Hazaël-Massieux <dom@w3.org>, W3C     $Date: 2003/07/17

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