IETF The IETF and its famous requests for Comment, or RFCs (not the least of which define the TCP/IP stack), is a stew of people, open to anyone with time to join an e-mail listserv.The IETF has a well-established process that uses working groups and charters inside each of its seven work areas to define standards. While IETF discussions necessarily focus on future standards, IT managers will get all sorts of useful food for thought about timely issues. For example, a recent exchange in the Benchmarking Methodology working group included very useful discussion about benchmarking wireless networks. The consensus as the discussion neared conclusion was that a new standard for wireless was not needed. The IETFs wide-ranging discussions and open review usually mean that standards move at a deliberate pace through the process. Most working group charters are viewed as successful when the group ends up with a successful RFC. The sometimes-plodding nature of the IETFs work process, combined with the desire to use unencumbered technology, may explain the recent proliferation of vendor consortia. However, the fundamental nature of the IETFs work along with its accessible process makes it an ideal place for IT to influence the standards process.
This isnt to say that everyone gets to decide which Internet drafts (works in progress) become RFCs. The power behind the throne is the Internet Engineering Steering Group, a very small group of directors from each area of work.