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TSC - Technical Steering Committee

Saturday, May 3, 2008 9:00 AM (US Pacific Time, GMT -5)

back to TSC Minutes and Agendas



  • CTO: John Quinn
  • Domain Experts: Jim Case (primary), Austin Kreisler (alternate)
  • Foundation & Technology: Ioana Singureanu (primary), Woody Beeler (alternate)
  • Structure & Semantic Design: Calvin Beebe (primary), Gregg Seppala (alternate)
  • Technical & Support Services: Ken McCaslin (primary), Helen Stevens Love (alternate)
  • Affiliate: Frank Oemig
  • ARB Chair: Charlie Mead
  • HQ: Karen Van Hentenryck


  • Charles Jaffe (CEO); Ed Hammond (HL7 Chair); Chuck Meyer (HL7 Vice Chair)



  1. (5 min) Roll Call- The following people were in attendance: Chuck Meyer, Charlie Mead, Gregg Seppala, Calvin Beebe, Woody Beeler, Jim Case Ken McCasllin, Austin Kreisler, Patrick Loyd, John Quinn, Ed Hammond, Ioana Singureanu, Charlie Mead (joined after lunch) and Karen Van Hentenryck
  2. Review of Action Items on Tracker:
    • Item 319 – Backwards compatible standard – The TSC needs to discuss with the ArB anything that appears to break the backwards compatibility rule. Wrappers, R2 appears to be breaking that backwards The group determined that HL7 should not publish a ballot without noting that there are issues around backward compatibility. ACTION ITEMS: (1) the TSC will notify people of the expectations (2) The ArB need to define principles of backward compatibility (3) Project services will then include a section on backward compatibility in the project template (4) NIB form should also be updated with a field to reflect that a document is not backwards compatible
    • Item 321 – Define Appropriate Home/Role for Involvement Task Force - There is work in progress but it is premature at this point to layout what is happening.
    • Item 322 – Cross Committee Balloting issues. Close this item
    • Item 323 – Tools to use across the organization – This is still an issue and should remain open on the tracker. Rather than dictating which tools must be used for some things such as minutes and issue tracking, projects and committees should state on their page where and how things are being done and located. ACTION ITEM: Policy proposal will be developed by T3SD for TSC approval
    • Item 325 – Determine whether distinction of TCs and SIGs will be carried forward – This item will be covered later on the agenda as a separate item.
    • Item 329 – Need to assign ownership of HL7 glossary and define good practices – This is still an issue on T3SD agenda but no forward progress has been made. Close this as a TSC issue. ACTION ITEM: Woody will add a field in Gforge called responsible group. Rather than closing the item, it will be assigned to the T3SD.
    • Item 330 – Document how project and publishing calendar fit together – This is still on publishing agenda and should remain an open issue on the TSC issue tracker.
    • Item 331 – DSTU and normative standard – Needs to be aligned with GOM. This has been assigned to Project Services and will be closed on the TSC issue tracker.
    • Item 332 – Need process for bringing ISO/joint initiative work into HL7 – This item has been transferred to John Quinn. Hammond noted that it needs to be completed by end of May
    • Item 338 – Need for clearly defined naming conventions for standards - Don Lloyd and Karen Van are still working on this item. We had initially thought that we would proposed a naming convention for implementation guides, but after speaking with Meyer and Braithwaite, changed our plans. The document will be update accordingly and shared it with the TSC.
    • Item 339 – Need guidelines on how to update DSTUs - This is still a release management issues. It is Referred to T3SD but will remain on the TSC Issue tracker.
    • Item 350 – Develop criteria for out-of-cycle ballots – There was a request to reword the third bullot. Hammond suggested that we define a policy that would accommodate joint balloting rules as part of JIC. Need to recast this with 2 questions 1) state that quality assurance piece should be the same as routinely done with others 2) talk about non-standard document cycles with JIC. ACTION ITEM: The document will be updated and brought back to the TSC for approval.
    • Item 357 – Medical Project and Device Listing Project – This project was brought forward and approved in the past and will be closed on the TSC Issue tracker. ACTION ITEM: Karen Van to ask Dave Hamill for date when TSC approved this
    • Item 382 – Update the DMPs – One of the issues that requires resolution is how steering divisions can move forward if calls or eVote don’t result in achieving quorum. There was agreement that in those cases, the TSC should be empowered to make the decision. Domain Experts is having a difficult time achieving quorum as there are several small work groups within their steering division that are not participating in votes. One suggestion was to ask these groups if they want to be participate in these decisions. If they opt out, then their absence doesn’t affect quorum. ACTION ITEM: Case and Kreisler will draft a proposal for TSC review. There may also be a need to draft criteria for “active work groups” to include that the work group is posting meeting minutes, sending representatives to the Steering Division meetings, etc.
    • Item 388 – Update GForge Tool – This item is still on Wilfred’s plate and will remain open on the TSC Issue tracker.
    • Item 400 – Guidelines for Realm specific vs. Universal Realm – There is a need to establish a philosophy a document can be developed as a universal standard even if a country knows they will never use it. In other words, countries shouldn’t vote against a standard because they know they will never use it. This philosophy should come from the affiliates and say that they support the concept of a global standard. Those countries that will never use the standard may abstain if they wish. If we discover that a document identified as Universal is actually Realm specific, what would happen? There are a couple of possibilities to address this situation, including having multiple universal standards or one could be deprecated.
    • Item 401 – Develop procedures for defining US realm projects - Hammond reported that he is appointing a US Realm committee at this meeting. This will be left as an open item on the TSC Issue tracker.
    • Item 405 – Submission of comments against normative standards - We need to establish a process; it was also suggested that committees publish comments received with their subsequent ballots This item will be transferred to the T3SD and remain as an open item on the TSC Issue tracker.
    • Item 410 – Harmonization changes not reflected in a timely manner to RIM vocabularies and RoseTree – This item is still outstanding. Russ Hamm is working now to get the Nov 2007 vocabulary changes into the repository. The problem is a combination of a resource to do the work and incorrect vocabulary proposals coming through to harmonization. Russ doesn’t have the time to get this done in a timely manner. There was discussion of funding this work in the future. We don’t have adequate specifications for the requirements as they come in. Part of this is educating the committees. Gregg Seppala noted that his committee doesn’t have a vocabulary facilitator and they haven’t had one for a couple of years. We have to grow our own resources. The first step is to document the process and then create communication plan for distributing the information. The goal should be to train a lot of people on how to submit proposal correctly. This could also benefit from a staffing resource. Oracle or Infoway might then fund this person. The Foundation and Technology Steering division needs to drive this effort with input from the Vocabulary committee. To be conveyed to vocabulary: This is perceived as a substantial issue for everyone developing standards in HL7. The TSC will therefore undertake to outreach to benefactor organizations such as the VA and seek engagement and resources to resolve the problem. We would like the Vocabulary work group to draft a proposal to address the problem. There are two aspects to the problem: fixing past problems and addressing problems moving forward. TSC will endorse the process.
    • Item 457 – Need guidelines on working group meeting minutes - Part of this issue fits under the “committees in good standing” discussion that occurred earlier. Committees aren’t publishing minutes or they are being publishing on the wiki. Part of the resolution to this problem is to have committees indicate on the web site where their items are posted.
    • Item 76 – Request to approve Behavioral Health Profile project - MOTION by Structure and Semantic Design: To approve Behavioral Health. Motion unanimously approved. Open Issues: Are profiles normative or informative; who maintains the products and services list and classification of items.
  3. Review of Project List – The project list was reviewed. What should the TSC be doing with this list? It is currently being used for marketing and outreach. Risk factors that we may wish to track:
    • Project Services would like to know if project has been balloted more than 3 times without passing
    • Documents being balloted in the current ballot cycle to this project list (link what is being balloted to the project)
    • Whether the project missed a ballot cycle and if so is it because they didn’t document things appropriately
    • Project staffing - did the project miss a ballot cycle because key members changed – no way to keep track of project staffing. When we lose people, the scope frequently changes. Some felt that trying to apply proven project management methodologies to a volunteer organization will likely not be successful. Beebe noted that we talk about ballot fatigue but should not punish committees that don’t publish every cycle. We need a clear message. Patrick Loyd noted that the standards that are not stable yet need faster turnaround; those that are stable need slower turnaround. Beeler noted that about 50% of the candidate documents for ballot are actually balloted each cycle. The amount of time to execute a cycle has not changed, except as how the meeting schedule changes. McCaslin noted that skipping a cycle is not an issue, but going back into Project Insight and changing your dates to reflect that will be a requirement. Beeler noted that updating Project Insight is extra work. Hammond asked whether we can fix the issue of the time that it takes to produce something. McCaslin feels that part of the problem is that Project Insight was purchased before we finalized our project lifecycle. One of the reasons for purchasing and using Project Insight was to be more visual about what HL7 is doing so that outsiders can engage. McCaslin noted there has been a fair amount pushback from the work groups about regarding project management and he’s been told that even if we have a process in place, some will ignore it. McCaslin expressed the important for outsiders to see that there is an intentional process, that we have projects in place and don’t just work cycle to cycle. While he understands the pushback, documenting the process has to be part of the process. Beebe agrees that the type of transparency that McCaslin mentioned is important. The balance is between doing the work and learning new tools required to do the work. The TSC members must understand that volunteers’ time is not 100% devoted to HL7 so time spent on learning new tools and performing the project management tasks will to some degree decrease productivity. Beebe noted that the Structured Documents work group has a plan out to 2010, but they don’t want to staff the projects yet. If the TSC wants the work groups to do longer range planning , we should likely not enter them yet into Project Insight. McCay noted that we should encourage other committees to develop their 5 year plan and post it to their work group page. The 5 year plan is not the same as the detailed project list. The project list is not on the front page of the web site because it need to be cleaned up. The Project Services committee is trying to encourage work groups to identify a project facilitator. Since most committees don’t have enough people to fill the current roles, co-chairs tend to try to take on too much The intent was not for the co-chairs to take on all of these roles. Singureanu noted that meeting minutes, reporting on your project, etc is the price of entry to being a co-chair. Case noted that we may not have the rigor in place yet for the formation of the work group—they must have a project, vocab and MnM facilitator so that co-chairs don’t try to assume all of these roles. McCay brought the conversation back around to the need for the TSC to understand who will use the Project List of and what we want to accomplish there. Beeler is in favor of producing these types of documents but noted that the current infrastructure is not sufficient to support this. Volunteers to take this conversation forward to propose different view of the work: Charlie McCay, Ken McCaslin, Woody Beeler
  4. Management of projects going forward – The TSC should be able to determine, based on specified metrics, that resources are being used to meet the needs of the organization. TSC needs to determine how to tie project activities to the strategic/tactical plan. We don’t have those project metrics yet.
  5. Work group deliverables coming out of work group meeting – The TSC will ask the work groups to:.
    • Review the project list and ensure that it is up to date. Due date for these item needs occur within the next cycle.
    • Draft a 2-3 year plan (point to CDA plan as an exemplar of a good document). Bullet items with dates would be sufficient. One of the reasons for putting such a plan together is communicating to others what the work group is undertaking.
    • List of obstacles that are preventing work groups from moving forward with their projects. What is limiting the committee’s ability to do what it thinks it needs to do. Case suggested that committees may wish to provide a SWOT analysis
    • Understand the requirements to be considered an active work group; this includes the requirement to take and post minutes, deliver their 2-3 plan, deliver their SWOT analysis, etc. ACTION ITEM: Steering Division will be responsible for ensuring that their work groups produce these items. Beeler suggested we NOT use the SWOT acronym. Instead, ask for a list of key items that are limiting work groups' progress. The purpose of this request is to raise self awareness within the group and within the HL7 organization. When looking at the plan, we need to allow some things to be tenuous. We’re looking for their best guess/expectation of what their work group will be doing in the near term. ACTION ITEM: Jim Case will bring his example forward Sunday for TSC approval. We will then provide a hard copy of that, along with a template of what we’re looking for in hardcopy at the Monday evening TSC meeting.
  6. Formalizing the transition from SIGs and TCs to work groups - A couple of strategies were suggested. McCay suggested that work groups keep those inherited relationships. Another suggestions was that we treat this the same as ballots – going forward, there will be no inherted hierarchies. The transition will require:
    • Updates to mission/charter statement
    • A decision from the work groups, particularly those that were SIGs that had a child relationship to a parent technical committee, that their don’t want to be a separate group and will merge with their parent, or you may devolve to a project that is done under the work group, or that they wish to be a work group.
    • Guideline of what being an associated group means and the conditions under which such relationships should be listed as part of the mission/charter. ACTION ITEM: The TSC will assume responsibility for developing these guidelines. ACTION ITEM: KVH/HQ needs to be ready to accept work group requests from projects and to take responsibility for making this change, logistically, across the organization (i.e., conference calling system, web site, etc.)ACTION ITEM: Jim Case to work with Tony Julian to develop mission/charter template and detailed guidelines on how and when to list another work group as a one to which you have a relationship. If we are reorganizing some of the core groups within HL7, we should wait until the current committee structure is determined, before we ask for mission/charters.
  7. TSC elections – Domain Experts and Technical and Support Services steering divisions and the international representatives seat current held by Frank Oemig are up for election this summer. Beeler noted that there is currently no standard method that all committee follow to submit votes. Should the co-chairs who decide who to vote for or should HL7 adopt a uniform method for voting that is used across all work groups? Beeler suggested a process that would require each work group to take a vote of its members. Outcome: The TSC adopted Beeler’s proposal.
  8. ArB - Charlie Mead reported that the ArB has four deliverables to be brought forward in Phoenix:
    • Business model project (BAM)– The ArB was tasked with developing an architectural specification for the organization. To do this, the ArB needs to separate out the business processes from the architecture that we document. The document that has been presented was created for John Quinn to take to the Board for funding approval. Quinn has requested discussion/approval by the TSC. Charlie Mead provided in overview of the document. It will take 3-4 months to complete. Singureanu asked clarification on the relationship between the business model and the GOM. The GOM and HDF should inform the business model. The document drafted by the ArB is not the RFP. It is the requirements for writing the RFP. Hammond feels that the Board also has some requirements for a BAM. The TSC will add its requirements to this document, and the Board will likely have some input as well. ACTION ITEM: TSC will take 24 hours to review and then send comments to Charlie Mead (currently serving as the ArB project manager for this project)
    • Ballot QA project – Keith Boone, Dick Harding and Virginia Lorenzi are managing this project and were to produce something 6 weeks ago to be brought to the TSC that could be used for the September ballot cycle. Beeler noted that he has a ballot Q/A discussion slated for the Monday evening TSC meeting. He feels that we should be raising the bar for documents to be included in the ballot. Most of the suggestions being brought forward are not new rules. Beeler would like to implement what can be implemented in the next ballot cycle. We need a transition strategy for the change.
    • Dynamic Model Framework project– The SOA TC developed a dynamic model proposal that was presented to MnM in January. The Dynamic framework is a statement of requirements, taken from the SOA work group’s model, that the ArB has vetted for three months. Those discussions raised the organizational boundary issue, which led to the re-organization committee project. John Koisch is managing the dynamic framework project from the ArB’s perspective and will bring this forward to the TSC for review/discussion.
    • Re-organization committee project – This is a set of requirements that need to be operationalized. Grahame Grieve is the Project Manager and will bring the project forward for TSC review.
    • Peer review of HDF – Singureanu suggested that the HDF be peer reviewed by the TSC and ArB. She stressed that the HDF is not finalized; it requires review to ensure that all requirements are met. Beeler does not think that the HDF is the primary place where the methodology should be defined. John Quinn believes the ArB should review this document as it feeds into the four projects on which the ArB is currently working. The TSC agreed. Singureanu suggests a Peer review rather than a ballot as peer review is a more fluid process. ACTION ITEM: Ioana will send out an email with the specifics for the peer review. Both TSC and ArB members will review the document.
  9. TSC Improvements – The following areas were discussed:
    • TSC working practices – McCay asked if the current phone conference schedule is working. After brief discussion, the group decided to keep the current schedule
    • Improving the teleconference – The are two process issues at the moment are:
      • Knowing when people are going to miss the call. TSC members will update the wiki site themselves when they cannot attend the call.
      • Receiving status reports in advance . TSC members will enter their report inline on the wiki site or point to them if the report is long. If we can those done during the week
  10. Review of TSC mission – The group felt that they were effectively performing the first bullet under the mission. The goal related maintaining the goals of HL7 can more effectively be met now that the organization has a set of 5 overarching strategies. The TSC is currently working to effectively meet the other items underneath their mission statement
  11. Communcations plan – This falls into two categories: Communication to the TSC and Communication from the TSC.
    1. Communications to the TSC:
      • Submission form – we use Gforge and thus the description on the TSC wiki site should be updated to be explicit about this.
      • Issue posting – this bullet should be updated to indicate that we are tracking issues on the Gforge site
    2. Communication from the TSC
      • The relevant bullets need to be fixed as noted above.
      • Technical newsletter –there was a suggestion that there be articles that are based on opportunities. Spent some time on the Sunday evening agenda addressing this issue.
      • Decision made at the TSC meetings and approved projects, etc will be communicated to the co-chairs list by Van Hentenryck following each TSC call. If there is an action item that needs to be communicated to a specific group, it will be assigned to a particular person.
      • MOUs – Hammond noted that some of the groups that we sign MOUs with may be groups that the TSC would want to have direct communication with. Charlie Mead feels that we need to be proactive regarding the BRIDG model or we will end up being reactive. ACTION ITEM: MOU will be brought forward as a future agenda item.
  12. TSC Annual Objectives and Resource Plan – TSC needs to have an active/annual plan. Quinn reported that the Board will be reviewing the Roadmap on Tuesday evening The overarching strategies and tactical projects – Quinn. Jaffe McDougall and Van Hentenryck met last week to work on the overarching strategies and tactical projects that are collective known as the Roadmap. We reviewed all comments submitted against tactical plan and strategy, and made revisions as necessary, and then mapped the tactical items to the strategies. Some tactical items did not map back to the strategies. We are asking the Board to finalize these strategies this week. The tactical project list should help inform the TSC plan. The Board needs to prioritize the items and help determine cost associated with priorities. When the prioritized list comes back to the TSC, the TSC should review it and provide feedback, particularly related to timelines and project costs. The list of projects came from Quinn and from the many comments that were submitted. Quinn is most interested in the prioritization of projects. TSC will have to do work on the Roadmap offline. The Roadmap will likely be a half-day discussion at the Board retreat and thus we aren’t expecting a finalized version until September. For TSC planning, we will work on the Roadmap and matching the items that comes from the work group to the Roadmap. Quinn noted that there should be a report from the TSC back to the Board that folds the work of the work groups into the plan. If a work group comes forward with a project that has no link to the Roadmap, will the project be allowed to proceed? Quinn feels that will likely not tell a work group that they can’t work on a particular project and he also feels that there will be very few projects that will not map to the Roadmap.

Meeting adjourned 4:50 pm PT