>I’ve interacted with a wide variety of standards organizations over the years. Many of whom are trying to survive within the current economic recovery. It’s hard to survive when your sole source of funding is on membership dues. It’s also hard to recruit members when the perception is that it will take years for any changes to be made available to them.
Standard organizations in general are rightfully criticized for being slow moving organizations that by the time they react to change, the world has changed again, and business needs have changed. Implementers of standards can’t wait for them to get changes out to them, so they go and extend the standard. Causing a splinter in implementations and possibly more harm than good.
The W3C is still a slow moving organization. It can take five to eight years before a specification finally makes it as a Recommendation. However, I will give kudos to the organization for one thing they are doing right. Change/Modification request tracking. More importantly it’s Public! The W3C has made available to their workgroups, Bugzilla for tracking their work.
Unfortunately not all the workgroups take advantage of it. There are a handful of organizations, STAR being one, that make use of issue tracking systems to track the work and when it was completed. Visibility either to the public or at least to their membership can be key for helping adopters know what is coming and when it might be coming. Having the visibility into their process is a good thing, and should be encouraged.
Standard organizations to keep relevant need to do a better job of communicating with their community as a whole, not just their paying membership. Membership should have it’s privileges but the community that adopts and uses the standard should have some clue as to what is coming down the pipeline. Communication is key. Knowing where something is and when it will be available can help in keeping a standard uniformed and might help lesson the one off implementations that adopters currently have to deal with.