RE: [gnso-wpm-dt] WPM Summary & Action Items-Step 6 (In Progress)
- To: "Ken Bour" <ken.bour@xxxxxxxxxxx>, <gnso-wpm-dt@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: RE: [gnso-wpm-dt] WPM Summary & Action Items-Step 6 (In Progress)
- From: "Gomes, Chuck" <cgomes@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 10:06:09 -0500
Great job Ken. Thanks.
I want to respond to just one issue: "In thinking about this political
implication, Ken wondered if there might be a potential drawback to
publishing a project ranking. Taking the worst possible scenario,
hypothetically, might certain teams working on the lowest ranked
projects perceive that their time/effort is not worth continuing? The
WPM team should think carefully through possible morale implications to
be certain that a new problem isn't created, unintentionally, that
wasn't there before this exercise began. In response to this question,
Olga thought that it would be possible to underscore that projects
ranked at the bottom do not necessarily imply a fundamental lack of
worth. On the other hand, following Jaime's concept of political
prioritization, a project ranking does communicate overall importance.
The Council may not want to suggest, subtly or overtly, that volunteers
should know or even think about any project's relative value in deciding
which team(s) to join - only their interest and expertise concerning the
It seems to me that we could avoid possible negative implications as
discussed in the paragraph copied above by eliminating projects in
advance from the prioritization exercise that have special
circumstances. For example, we could eliminate the IRTP-B project for
the following reasons: 1) it is a requirement that the Council approved
when it first approved the Registrar Transfer Policy as a consensus
policy years ago, i.e., to regularly review the policy and make
improvements if possible; 2) there seem to be adequate resourses to
support the project and it is proceeding in a reasonable manner. We
could also eliminate the Geo Regions project for these reasons: 1) It is
a community-wide project for which GNSO participation has been requested
by the Board; 2) It requires just two GNSO reps and is not taking a lot
of their time.
I believe I recommended an approach like this way back at the beginning
of our work, but the group decided that they wanted to prioritize all
projects. Have we come full circle back to that point again?
BTW, doing this would simplify the prioitization exercise by reducing
the number of projects to be rated.
[mailto:owner-gnso-wpm-dt@xxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ken Bour
Sent: Friday, February 12, 2010 5:54 PM
Subject: [gnso-wpm-dt] WPM Summary & Action Items-Step 6 (In
WPM Team Members:
Following is a summary of the WPM teleconference held on 9
February 2010 (1700 UTC):
1) Urgency: Jamie and Ken reported on their email
exchanges between sessions and, after additional consideration during
this teleconference, the team agreed that, although "urgency"
represented an intriguing potential modeling concept, to make use of it
properly would require an objective measurement which does not appear
feasible. The team agreed that urgency/criticality should become a
natural part of the Value/Benefit assessment and the definition will be
enhanced to include that concept (see Action Items below).
2) Resources Needed: Ken recommended dropping this
dimension as well as the 4-quadrant model for reasons provided in his
earlier email (8 Feb 2010). After discussing the pros/cons, the team
agreed to simplify its model to a one-dimensional rating of
Value/Benefit. There was also consensus that, rather than discard
Resources Needed entirely, it could serve as a potential tie-breaker if
a decision had to be made between two projects that were otherwise tied
on Value/Benefit. The process would be as follows:
Step 1: Rate all projects using the 1-7 scale on Value/Benefit
Step 2: If needed as a tie breaker, rank any tied projects
using Resources Needed
[Note: Jamie suggested that the team reconsider the
terminology/title of "Resources Needed" preferring a return to the
original concept of perceived "Difficulty." Ken will include this
question in a separate email transmitting revised definitions for team
Once these decisions were concluded, the team took up another
important Step 6 question, "How will the Council actually utilize a
As framework for this discussion, Ken posited that a work
prioritization exercise presupposes that there is some limitation of a
scarce commodity (e.g. resource capacity). If there is an abundance of
time and resources and no real constraints, there would be no obvious
need for a project ranking. The underlying assumption is that, due to
immovable constraints (in the short run), all project work cannot be
undertaken simultaneously. A prioritization, then, presumes that hard
decisions are expected based on competing interests for scarce
resources, e.g. perform A instead of B or move staffing from one project
to another. If it turned out that, after developing a prioritization,
no project ever slowed down, stopped, or had its resources altered, a
reasonable question might be: what was the purpose or value in
generating the prioritization?
Chuck acknowledged that we cannot assume that projects can be
eliminated or postponed simply because they have a low position on
relative priority. Looking at the bottom projects test-ranked by the
WPM team (e.g. GEO, TRAV), he was able to articulate convincing reasons
why they probably can and should be continued even though they occupy
the lowest positions on the ranking list.
This discussion led to a hypothesis that, perhaps, the model may
not be as useful in making stop/pause decisions about existing work, but
may be more useful in deciding what to do with new projects that are
introduced after the initial prioritization is performed (e.g. Vertical
The first question considered was: how should a new project be
rated/evaluated and placed into the prioritization mix? The team
reached agreement on an approach to placing a new project into the
ranking. Assuming that the Council will complete a full prioritization
at least quarterly (TBD), it would never be more than 3 months between
rating sessions. Presuming that Councilors could readily recall what
they did the last time, if a new project surfaces in the interim and
cannot wait until a new quarterly reprioritization, the Council would
employ the same technique that generated the most recent list. For
example, 4-5 small groups of Councilors would meet and collectively
vote/decide on a rating from 1-7 considering the same "average project"
that was used at the last rating session. Once a median rating is
computed from the group consensus scores, the new project would take its
appropriate slot in the ranking. [Note: Ken will flesh out this
procedure when we get to the point of preparing Council instructions.]
Once a new project is placed into the prioritized list, Chuck
suggested that there might be a sequence of questions that should be
asked/answered by the Council in deciding what to do with it. Perhaps
the team could create a map or process that the Council would use in
evaluating a new project vis a vis the existing workload.
In addition to assessing a new project, Jamie ventured that
there might be a political value in performing the prioritization even
if there is not a clear decision-making role related to stopping or
postponing existing work. He commented that a project prioritization
can establish for the entire organization (top to bottom) an
understanding as to how all work relates to the GNSO's primary mission
In thinking about this political implication, Ken wondered if
there might be a potential drawback to publishing a project ranking.
Taking the worst possible scenario, hypothetically, might certain teams
working on the lowest ranked projects perceive that their time/effort is
not worth continuing? The WPM team should think carefully through
possible morale implications to be certain that a new problem isn't
created, unintentionally, that wasn't there before this exercise began.
In response to this question, Olga thought that it would be possible to
underscore that projects ranked at the bottom do not necessarily imply a
fundamental lack of worth. On the other hand, following Jaime's concept
of political prioritization, a project ranking does communicate overall
importance. The Council may not want to suggest, subtly or overtly,
that volunteers should know or even think about any project's relative
value in deciding which team(s) to join - only their interest and
expertise concerning the work itself.
In addition to the above summary, Ken agreed to complete the
following tasks between now and the next meeting (16 February, 1700
1) Suggest draft changes to both Y and X definitions for
team discussion and approval at the next WPM meeting.
2) Identify additional Step 6 questions (e.g.
group/individual methodology) that the team needs to consider.
3) Continue discussion, as challenged by Jaime: What
is/are the real outcome(s) of the prioritization? Can the team provide
concrete and persuasive answers to this question that would satisfy
others who have not been deeply involved with the process (e.g. "Red
4) Ken proposed that the team also consider making a
recommendation related to the implementation of desperately needed
project management tools for both Staff & Community to assist with the
Council's new "managerial" role in the policy development process.
Since this summary is already long, the above topics will be
included in one or more separate emails so that the team can focus on
the topics more efficiently and effectively.