Liaison Coordinator Job Description

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As the IAB's charter, "[t]he IAB acts as representative of the interests of the IETF and the Internet Society in technical liaison relationships with other organizations concerned with standards and other technical and organizational issues relevant to the world-wide Internet." That representation is carried out by liaison managers (see also https://www.ietf.org/about/liaisons/), who are selected from the IETF community by the IAB based on gathered feedback about the candidates. Liaison managers are overseen by the IAB with the help of the IAB Liaison Coordinator.

The IAB Liaison Coordinator role is usually executed by two IAB members, where one acts as the primary contact and the other as back-up. However, it is also possible to split up some of the tasks listed below between the two assigned members as long as responsibilities are clearly assigned.

The IAB assigns the Liaison Coordinator role during the process of selecting all of the annual IAB roles during its March pre-IETF meeting. However, it is recommended to use two year Liaison Coordinator terms by only switching one person per year to enable smoother transitions.

There is no requirement to have knowledge about each, or even any, of the associated organizations that we maintain liaisonships for, given there is usually not a single person on the IAB that has that knowledge covering all the Standard Development Organizations (SDOs) with which the IAB has liason relationships. However, it is useful for the role members to have knowledge about the liaison management process and about handling of liaison statements.

More information about the procedures that govern IETF liaisons can be found in RFC 4052 “IAB Liaison Management” and RFC 4053 (BCP 103) “Procedures for Handling Liaison Statements to and from the IETF.”

There is also a wiki about submitting and receiving liaison statements: <ToDo: Create Wiki page about handling LSs>

<ToDo: Create further wiki page about process of other SDOs and link here>

Emails to the liaison-coordination@iab.org mail alias are redirected to the assigned IAB members. However, it is not expected that the Liaison Coordinator(s) necessarily reply to all requests directly, but rather help by forwarding any requests to the right liaison manager or to the entire IAB.

Liaison Coordinator Tasks

  • Handling communication between the liaison managers and the rest of the IAB.
  • Performing status checks with and gathering reports from the liaison managers. This level of effort depends on how active a particular liaison relationship is, which can vary widely depending on the SDOs. It is recommended that Liaison Coordinators check in with Liaison managers at least once a year, even if a liaison is otherwise dormant. Some liaisons are quite active and, e.g., have their own mailing list or frequent meetings (likely around each IETF meetings). The liaison coordination is recommended to join those mailing lists and meetings, if suitable, but may also decide to rely on direct reporting from the liaison manager instead. These reports should be provided to the IAB and published in the IAB minutes (if they contain actual news).
  • Overseeing the status of all liaison statements; e.g., checking that statements that need a reply get a reply.
  • Finding experts from within the IETF when needed to handle a liaison statement. These experts will usually be working group chairs and area directors when the statement is related to an active working group document. If no active group or clear expert can be found, the responsibility falls back on the IAB as a whole, which should themselves consist of experts with a wide range of knowledge.
  • Finding replacements for liaison managers when they step down. The outgoing liaison manager will often be able to help by referring potential replacement candidates. However, if no suitable person can be easily identified, the coordinator may recommend that the IAB sends out a public call for volunteers.
  • Helping establish new liaison relationships. If a new liaison to a new SDO is established, the entire IAB should be involved. The liaison coordinator will help lead the process or identify an expert who can perform this role.