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Standardization: Overcoming Design by Committee


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Outlines preliminary findings from research on standardization processes of web service standards

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Standardization: Overcoming Design by Committee

  1. 1. Standardizing Web Services: Overcoming ‘Design by Committee’ Sandeep Purao (With J. Bagby and K. Umapathy) Associate Professor of IST Enterprise Informatics and Integration Center Standards Interest Group, Socio-technical Systems Lab
  2. 2. Why study IT standards <ul><li>The noisiest of … battles will be about standards. The eyes of most sane people tend to glaze over at the very mention of technical standards. But in the computer industry, new standards can be the source of enormous wealth, or the death of corporate empires. With so much at stake, standards arouse violent passions.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(The Economist, 27 February 1993) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. What is a standard? <ul><ul><li>An agreed upon response to a recurring problem, perceived, anticipated or real, that is codified for the purpose of communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Moen 1998) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What is standardization? <ul><ul><li>Standardization is a belief that the market has the ability to understand and chart a valid future direction through the use of collective wisdom, to understand the impact of change on itself, and to adjust to that change. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Cargill 2001) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Where do standards come from? (Public) R & D Patents Standards Adapted from: Kahin 2007 Expected Trajectory Observed Trajectory (Public) R & D Patents Standards Anticipatory Standards
  6. 6. Anticipatory Standards <ul><li>Anticipatory Standards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shapers and drivers of markets (Cargill 1989), pre-emptive (Lynch 1993), and future-oriented (Bonino and Spring 1991) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The group developing the standard may come to resemble an R&D effort; Standardization does not mean choosing among artifacts, instead, it includes product development (Cowan 1992) </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing role of non-governmental organizations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>standards development organizations (Brenner and Spivak 2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>consortia (Updegrove 1995, Weiss and Cargill 1992) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Developing Anticipatory Standards Simon Search Satisficing Software Engineering Modeling Refining Testing OMB Cir. 119 Standards Development Act 2004 Opportunity to participate Avoiding domination by one party Access to information Right to be considered Willingness to accept outcome Design Legislation Are these two at odds?
  8. 8. Design by Committee ? <ul><li>Committee != Team </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A camel is a horse designed by a committee. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… a design-by-committee procedure … usually results in complex and unwieldy monstrosities (Ramsin and Page 2008) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The designs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>reflect a compromise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>with no clear goals satisfied </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not producing an elegant solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>nor addressing the original intentions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Gasson 1998, Yoo and Ackerman 2005) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Design by Committee ? Archaeological Analysis The W3C Process <ul><li>The W3C Position </li></ul><ul><li>(this is how we avoid </li></ul><ul><li>Design by committee) </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller group of experts </li></ul><ul><li>Wider circle of participants </li></ul><ul><li>Listening to the wider circle </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing draft outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Willingness to accept results </li></ul><ul><li>(W3C 2008) </li></ul>
  10. 10. A Theoretical Framework Design Negotiation Creating and choosing amon alternatives Agreeing on designs, fixing the actor network The D-S-N Framework Recursion Fomin et al. 2004 Sense-Making Attaching meaning to design alternatives
  11. 11. Study scope <ul><li>Standardization process investigated for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SOAP Version 1.2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WS-Addressing </li></ul></ul>Submission to W3C Becomes W3C Note WG formed, Meetings begin Becomes W3C Recommendation 2000 2001 2002 2003 Phase 1 Analysis Phase 2 Analysis 18 April 2000 08 May 2000 24 June 2003 13 Sept 2000 11 Oct 2000 24 June 2003 SOAP 1.2
  12. 12. Research method <ul><li>Archaeological analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Use of public documents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phone/ meeting records </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coding (following DSN) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>92 (94) code categories </li></ul></ul></ul>Hermeneutic units created using Atlas.ti 3 3 3 Docs 81.75% 77.37% 3 53.95% 46.05% 2 45.23% 13.28% 1 Agreed + Negotiated Agreed Round
  13. 13. Design by Committee? Not! During the meeting Prior to the meeting Interpretation : The process is significantly influenced by design contributions from participants, who can expend significant resources for designing parts of the standard under development.
  14. 14. Design by Committee? Not! Interpretation : A significant amount of design may be occurring outside the W3C meetings.
  15. 15. Roles people play … <ul><li>Advocate </li></ul><ul><li>Architect </li></ul><ul><li>Critic </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitator </li></ul><ul><li>Guru </li></ul><ul><li>Procrastinator </li></ul><ul><li>Bystander </li></ul><ul><li>My primary goal for … When we have a spec, we need a way to sell to the community. The … will be the tool I use for that. We should not put it on the back burner </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal: delete the box and replace it with …X: The envelope is the frame in which the headers hang, but the envelope is…Y: It's a mistake to try to distinguish … from … </li></ul><ul><li>an xml file server which may not want to take responsibility for normalizing data received because xml was used for the envelope – suggestion not use the word header … </li></ul><ul><li>So there is a separate decision to be made about whether we need correlation ids and how and if we use our extensibility mechanism.… X: Let's take this to e-mail. </li></ul><ul><li>X: The envelope is the frame in which the headers hang, but the envelope is…‘Guru’ avatar: It's a mistake to try to distinguish … from </li></ul><ul><li>Chair: Postpone this agenda item due to X's (Procrastinator avatar) absence </li></ul><ul><li>(no visible manifestation) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Design by Committee? Not! <ul><li>Core, smaller group of experts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advocate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Architect (bring greater creativity) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Guru (bring experience from past) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critic (check for errors) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wider circle of interested participants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bystander </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Listening to the wider circle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advocate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sharing draft outcomes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Availability of minutes and drafts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Willingness to accept results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reference implementations available </li></ul></ul>A desirable form of support for the mechanisms intended by W3C
  17. 17. Comparison (Henning 2006) (Our Work) Design contributions Problem Lack of reference implementation Facilitator, Negotiation Problem Multiple draft specifications Advocate, Architect Problem Vendors’ response to proposals in spite of known technical flaws Guru Problem Calling for proposals when technology still unproven Two-level process Problem Lack of entry qualifications to participate in the process Services CORBA Criteria
  18. 18. Q + A <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>S. Purao, J. Bagby, K. Umapathy. Patterns and Variations in Standardization Processes. Working paper . </li></ul><ul><li>K. Umapathy, S. Paul, S. Purao , J. Bagby, and P. Mitra, Forthcoming. Avatars of Participants in Anticipatory Standardization Processes. Book Chapter in Standards Edge Series . </li></ul><ul><li>K. Umapathy, S. Purao. 2007. A theoretical investigation of emerging standards for web services. Information Systems Frontiers . Vol. 9, Pp. 119-134. </li></ul><ul><li>J. Bagby, S. Purao, P. Mitra. 2006. Standards Development, Disruptive Innovation and the Nature of Participation: Lock-In, Lock-Out, Holdup. Telecom Policy Research Conference . </li></ul><ul><li>P. Mitra, S. Purao , J. W. Bagby, K. Umapathy, and S. Paul. 2005. An Empirical Analysis of Development Processes for Anticipatory Standards, NET Institute Paper #05-18. </li></ul>