Friday, November 5, 2010

the reason the screws turn

Today, I have the somewhat tedious and miguided task of participating
in some way at a meeting of our nations standards committee. These are
the people who define how long a foot is. They ensure that screws from
home depot fit in nuts from lowes. They are critical to the
interoperabity of our world.

But standards are a remarkably hairy and consensus driven thing. They
only get involved, it seems, in things that impact the government
(which is why there is no standard tube of toothpaste) - but some of
those things, like technology architectures, involve a million moving
parts and 100 opinionated stakeholders.

The process - let along the content - is esoteric. There are stages
and reviews and frameworks that are reviewed and then populated and
then reviewed and then put out for broad discussion... Yadda yadda
yadda. It is the polar opposite of "does this make sense? Great!

I wonder - while I am sure these standards nerds love their process -
is this the only way to get something this detailed and far reaching
done? Maybe this is what it takes... For ill or for good. Is there a
standard way to write a standard?

Sent from my mobile device

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