IAB Workshop Guidelines

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The IAB co-sponsored (with the IETF Internet Area) a Smart Objects workshop just prior to IETF 80, and the program committee found themselves answering a number of questions while planning for that workshop. We are preserving these questions for planners of future workshops, as a kind of checklist.

Workshop report

IAB workshops are expected to publish a report as RFC in the IAB series. It is highly recommended to publish these reports in close timely approximation to the workshop date, i.e. there should be a -00 draft version within one IETF meeting circle (so roughly three months). Therefore, it is also recommended to start the report early, maybe even before or during the workshop (even though this is unfortunately often not the case).

Workshop reports do not require an adoption call (and the respective community feedback call) by the IAB, given the IAB has committed itself to provided this report when holding the workshop. As such, the -00 version of a workshop report draft should be published as draft-iab-<workshop-acronym>-report-00. Note that submission of a -00 as draft-iab- requires manual confirmation by the IAB stream manager or Iab Executive Director.

Further, reports usually require less thorough than other IAB documents, given they are supposed to reflect the discussion and results of the workshop and not any personal opinions or statements. It is recommended to have at least on non-author to review the report in detail as well as also to request reviews from the workshop participants. However, as soon as the authors and reviewer(s) think the report is in good shape, it should be approved for publication as RFC by the IAB, ideally quickly after the -00 version was submitted. As with every other IAB RFC, approval for publication by the IAB will trigger a community call for feedback before the draft is send to the RFC editor for final publication.

High-level Considerations

  • What are the goals of the workshop? (e.g., specific idea to start work)?
  • Where will the workshop be held?
  • When, how many days? If you don't do at least 1.5 days, your social event won't be well-attended.
  • How far out? You probably need at least 3 months if you're gathering papers, etc. Make sure to let participants know they have been selected at LEAST 30 days out.
  • Will there be a social event? When? Where?
  • Who will the workshop "owner" be?
  • Will any position papers be published? All of them? If so, this should be mentioned in the announcement/call for papers
  • What will be published after the workshop? Typically, this would be slides, meeting minutes, a meeting report, and maybe recordings. Contact email addresses for the participants?
  • Target number of participants? Smaller workshops tend to encourage focused conversation and deep dives on specific topics. Larger workshops tend to encourage "broadcast" dissemination and education.
  • Remote participation? If so, consider the amount of discussion overhead involved, and figure out A/V equipment and support.
  • Will the workshop be video- or audio-recorded? If so, you probably want a acknowledgement from all of the participants. Audio is *really* nice for the meeting minutes.
  • Will the recordings be shared? Release? Doesn't work with the Chatham House Rule.
  • Who will be on the workshop "program committee? Need to define clear responsibilities.
  • What is the IPR policy for the workshop? Does the IETF note-well statement apply? Chatham House Rule? One session with CHR?
  • Is a mailing list required, or can an existing mailing list be used? If a new mailing list is required, it should be created up front.
  • Will there be co-sponsoring organizations?
  • Will there be any public communication about the workshop, either before, during, or after?
  • Who signs contracts, etc? What happens if costs are higher than expected?

Workshop or BoF?

  • Wait, is this a BoF? If the IETF note well will apply, location at an IETF meeting would not restrict the set of likely participants, attendence should not be gated on position papers, remote participation is desired, and wide IETF community participation is desired, consider proposing a BoF session at an IETF meeting, instead.

Attendees and Announcement/Call for Papers

  • Who will be invited to attend? Will the workshop be open to any interested parties, or will this be "by invitation only"?
  • Will a position paper be required for attendees? Will the program committee review the position papers? Using any particular criteria?
  • Will a reading list be created? And who will create it?
  • Is remote participation possible? We don't usually do this.
  • Will an audio recording be created?
  • Will there be invited speakers?
  • Will all members of the IAB be invited? Is a position paper required for IAB attendees?
  • Will all members of the IESG be invited? Is a position paper required for IESG attendees?
  • Who will distribute workshop invitations?
  • Who will act as a contact for questions about the workshop?


  • How many persons are expected to attend? This should be derived from the type of conversation the workshop intends to facilitate: first choose a target participant count, then find a room.
  • Who will take minutes for the workshop?
  • When will the workshop be announced? Consider the lead time individuals need for requesting a trip as well as Visa applications (if you expect participants from China, for example).


  • Who will lead each section of the agenda? What are the expectations for section leaders?
  • Allow time for action item discussion in the agenda.
  • Will there be one or more parallel breakout tracks?If "yes", who will lead these sessions?

Physical Logistics

  • Is there a recommended hotel? If so, is there a room block for attendees?
  • What is the workshop address? It's good to provide directions and other useful information to attendees.
  • Will there be coffee? Soft drinks? Cookies?
  • Will there be a social event (whether sponsored or paid by attendees)?

What happens after the workshop?

  • Define follow-up activities up-front. Who will do what?
  • Where do follow-up discussions happen?
  • Who will prepare the meeding minutes for distribution?
  • Who will prepare the meeting report? Who will approve it?

General Checklist

Below is a list of things that should happen for a workshop, in order

  • Draft proposed workshop description and call for papers (Proponents)
  • Choose workshop Program Committee (IAB)
  • Create workshop Program Committee Mailing List (IAB EAM)
  • Set workshop deadlines (IAB + PC)
    • Paper submission deadline
    • Invitations issued by
    • Workshop dates
  • Finalize Call for Papers (IAB)
  • Create workshop web page (IAB EAM)
  • Create GitHub for papers (IAB EAM)
  • Decide where to send CFP (IAB + PC)
  • Send CFP via email (IAB EAM, others as appropriate)
  • Post CFP to social media (CommsDir)
  • Review submissions (PC)
  • Issue workshop invitations (PC)
  • Create workshop participants mailing list (IAB EAM)
  • Create workshop agenda (PC)
  • Post papers to web page (IAB EAM)
  • Find authors for workshop report (PC)
  • Write blog post about workshop (PC + CommsDir)
  • Publish workshop report (IAB)
  • Close workshop mailing lists (IAB EAM)