Mobilizing the Working Group

Once the IEEE SASB approves the request to develop a new standard, the Standards Committee follows IEEE SA’s rules and processes to establish a Working Group to engage in the standards development activity. Working Groups are composed of individuals or entities (companies, organizations, non-profits, government agencies) who volunteer to participate in the development of the standard. These volunteer participants have an interest in a specific area of the development of the standard (e.g., producers, sellers, buyers, users and/or regulators of a particular material, product, process or service).

When a Working Group is formed, the Working Group officers may either be appointed or elected to oversee the standards development project in accordance with IEEE SA Working Group Policies and Procedures.

What is a Working Group?

With PAR approval, the Working Group can officially begin its work to develop and write the standard. Working Groups are open to anyone to participate. For individual standards projects, IEEE or IEEE SA membership is not required to participate. For entity standards projects, IEEE SA advanced corporate membership is required to be a member of the working group. Working Groups strive for broad representation of all interested parties and encourage global participation.

In the spirit of openness, Working Group meeting agendas are distributed beforehand and the meeting minutes are made available. Working Groups have a chair who facilitates the group discussions and offers leadership and guidance to the Working Group. The chair also serves as the contact person for the development of the standard.

Stage 1: Initiating the Project Stage 2: Mobilizing the Working Group Stage 3: Drafting the Standard Stage 4: Balloting the Standard Stage 5: Gaining the Final Approval Stage 6: Maintaining the Standard Standards Development Cycle

How to Form a Working Group

When forming the Working Group (WG), it’s important to strive to have a balance of interests represented and to have active participants. To garner more expertise and for representation from all impacted parties and/or the industries affected by the standard, a call for participation may be issued.

Prior to PAR submittal, PAR Study Groups, consisting of potential WG participants can be formed to study the need for the standard, develop the PAR, and gain the support of a potential Standards Committee.

Who Can Participate?

Working Groups are comprised of:

  • individuals for individual based standards projects
  • representatives from entities (such as corporations, government agencies or academic institutions) for entity-based standards projects.

All participants in Working Groups should have technical expertise, knowledge and/or an interest in the technology being standardized.
Working Groups meet to make technical decisions in the process of developing standards and understand and respect all points of view. Individuals and entities in working groups work collaboratively to reach consensus in order to move the draft standard to Standards Association (SA) Ballot and, ultimately, IEEE SA Standards Board approval.

How Are Working Groups Governed?

Working Groups (WG) shall operate in compliance with the IEEE SA policies and procedures (P&P).

All WGs shall have a Chair. The Working Group Chair may be appointed by the Standards Committee or elected by the Working Group for a period specified in their P&P.

The Working Group may have other officers, such as a Vice Chair, Secretary, or Treasurer in accordance with the WG P&P. All of these roles should aid the Chair and the WG in moving their project forward. A Vice Chair can assist the Chair in all areas, including running the meeting when the Chair is absent or if the Chair wishes to recuse themselves to express their opinion. Learn more about training for Working Group officers

The Secretary serves as the WG administrator whose duties include; drafting and maintaining meeting minutes, recording action items, and managing WG rosters. If the WG has any financial transactions, the WG may have a Treasurer. The Vice Chair or Secretary may also act as the Treasurer.

The WG may also decide to have a technical editor who works specifically on compiling contributions to the draft standard.

Managing a Working Group

The Working Group Chair is responsible for managing the Working Group and moving the project forward. Technical discussions take place at the WG meetings and it’s the chair’s role to drive the working group discussion towards reaching a consensus (See IEEE SASB Bylaws 2.1 Role of Standards). The chair must be objective and may not speak on one side or another of an issue unless they recuse themselves. The chair also cannot make motions although the chair can entertain them. WGs should be aware of the possibility of antitrust, copyright or dominance appearing in discussions.

All Working Group (WG) meetings run according to an announced agenda that is distributed in advance of the meeting. By distributing meeting materials, all interested parties have a chance to be informed and to participate in the development of the standard(s).

There are several different ways a WG can meet; in person, electronically or a combination of both. For information on electronic meeting best practices see the IEEE SA Electronic Meeting Guide.

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