ODF 1.1 ALIGNMENT STAGING: Critical Path and Friction Concerns

Dennis E. Hamilton dennis.hamilton at acm.org
Fri Mar 26 18:55:53 CET 2010

I have some afterthoughts on the second SC34 WG6 session held earlier today,
26 March.  These are based on what little I was able to overhear of the
conversation in the room.  My understanding of the direction of the
conversation is vague, but I wanted to air these particular concerns:

1. MINIMIZING CRITICAL PATH. In staging the alignment between OASIS and JTC1
such that we are working from that point on with technically-equivalent (and
textually-equivalent substantial portions of) specifications, it is
important to manage the critical path.  That is, it is valuable to keep the
critical path to FPDAM production and submission as short as possible and
use the lengthy ballot periods as time where work can be done in parallel to
intercept with the completed alignment.  The value of interception of
cleanups, corrigenda, and anything else *after* alignment means that we are
once and for all always working on the same technical texts and there is
minimal duplication of effort.

2. AVOIDING FRICTION ON THE CRITICAL PATH. In staging the alignment, an
important factor in ability to shed critical path is  avoiding resource
friction from the preoccupation of the OASIS contributors to WG6 with their
ODF 1.2 review and staging responsibilities.  This friction creates
difficulties in processing any errata against the OASIS ODF 1.1 Standard in
advance of the alignment effort.  This friction and its prolongation of task
duration because of competition for ODF TC participant attention is apparent
to me in the effort needed to reconcile the SC34 N1078 and SC34 N1309 defect
reports (with a little of N0942 even now) with a mutually-agreed ODF 1.0
Errata update.  We can shed friction to non-critical path, parallel
activities, so long as it does not consume so much slack that it grows into
critical path.  Even with that prospect, it is clearly a way to mitigate the
risk of extending the main critical path to the point where collision with
the arrival of ODF 1.2 becomes a serious distraction.


Here is a technically-minimal case.  It does not take into considerations
requirements that make it not possible.  It just establishes a
least-critical-path case against which all efforts that add critical path
should be assessed.

 - Do not attempt to update IS 26300 - hold back any corrigenda, with the
understanding that we do have technical alignment on what resolutions of the
defect reports are at OASIS.

 - Perform the amendment to align IS 26300 and the OASIS ODF 1.1 Standard
with the two specifications as they are.  This is the least-risk adjustment
and can be undertaken immediately.  Note that while this work requires
impeccability and careful review, it is not technically demanding because we
are dealing with stable (for this purpose) artifacts.  We do not require the
concentrated attention of various technical experts nor do we rely on prior
application of corrigenda being accomplished without difficulties.  In
particular, the demands on the Project Editor, a critical resource to all
ODF work, should be minimized in this way.  It is also the least demanding
for attention from OASIS ODF TC participants.

 - Once the FPDAM ballot process is underway, the OASIS ODF TC, with
collaboration of WG6, can develop Errata for ODF 1.1 based on the defect
reports and resolutions that have been received on IS 26300 and mostly
resolved with ODF 1.0 Errata already.  This work must be done anyhow to
preserve alignment of ODF 1.1 after amendment.  After transposition of ODF
1.0 Errata against ODF 1.1, the resulting Errata can be brought to WG6 as
proposed corrigenda against the amended IS 26300.  This process is
completely off of the alignment critical path and can be managed against
FPDAM comment dispositions and ultimately aligned after the amendment
process is concluded at JTC1.

The advantage of carrying the higher-friction work alongside the FPDAM
ballot process is that this is later in the ODF 1.2 progression and there
can be more attention from WG6 as well as contributors on the ODF TC who
have an indispensible role in advancing ODF Errata on the OASIS side.  It
might even allow for leisurely enjoyment of the Northern Hemisphere Summer
months and Southern Hemisphere ski seasons [;<).

 - Dennis

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