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ICANN Subsequent Procedures ODP: Introducing the Work Tracks

18 January 2022

We've now begun 2022 and the Subsequent Procedures (SubPro) Operational Design Phase (ODP). Today's blog provides additional background and a brief overview of how we are organizing our work.

On 20 December 2021, ICANN organization announced that planning for the SubPro ODP concluded and that the ODP had begun. The purpose of this ODP, which began on 3 January, is to inform the ICANN Board's determination on whether the recommendations are in the best interests of ICANN and the community.

The Final Report on the new gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process included more than 300 outputs, grouped into 41 separate topics, and was comprised of affirmations, recommendations, and implementation guidance. These outputs ranged from simple to complex. Even the simple outputs, where it was recommended to maintain the status quo from the launch of the 2012 New gTLD Program, need to be updated to account for 10 years of change. New global privacy regulations (e.g., the European Union General Data Protection Regulation), evolving technologies, increases in overall costs of services, incorporation of lessons learned by ICANN org from the last round, and new criteria and requirements from the output of the Final Report have to be considered. To help address this complexity, we again reviewed these outputs and grouped them into specific work tracks based upon functional activities. This was done as a precursor to developing the list of projects required and identifying the specific resources needed to complete the work of the ODP.

The New gTLD SubPro scoping document outlined in our last blog describes the work required to develop an assessment of the operational impact of implementing the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council's policy recommendations in the Final Report. The ODP will deliver an Operational Design Assessment (ODA) to inform the Board of the org's approach to implementation and will include estimates of the work needed. The assessment work is organized according to nine work tracks. We will share more detail on each of the work tracks through future blogs in the coming months.

The nine work tracks and a short, non-exhaustive description for each are listed below to help you better understand how we've organized the work required to prepare for the next round and subsequent rounds:

  • Project Governance
    • Manages the overall project, includes risk management, assumptions, reporting, and metrics. Facilitates the governance structure, including the ICANN org steering committee and work tracks. Management of the SubPro ODP is a responsibility of this work track.
  • Policy Development and Implementation Materials
    • Supports policy implementation, develops and updates application process flows, and drafts materials such as the Applicant Guidebook based on the policy recommendations. This work track manages the org's interactions with the Implementation Review Team (IRT) should the Board approve the recommendations. The responsibilities of this work track existed during the policy development process (PDP) and is where the org's engagement on the Working Group calls and development of org comments occurred.
  • Operational Readiness
    • Focuses on building capacity within the org by developing operational procedures in support of approved processes and by upgrading existing operations to handle an increased number of contracted parties.
  • Systems and Tools
    • Proposes, designs, and implements systems for future rounds that emphasize security, privacy, and support organizational efficiencies. This track also develops processes for ongoing maintenance and continuous improvement.
  • Vendors
    • Identifies and procures vendors for specialized expertise or additional capacity. This track establishes guidelines for vendor relationships and contracting.
  • Communications and Outreach
    • Provides information about the overall project, communicates and shares information with the ICANN community and other audiences.
  • Resources, Staffing, and Logistics
    • Provides guidance and support for the project by identifying and obtaining appropriate resources and staff for each stage.
  • Finance
    • Manages all financial-related work performed in SubPro, including cost estimates, calculation of fees, payment and refund processes, and disbursement of funds to support the program.
  • Overarching
    • Monitors progress of ongoing community and org work that impacts SubPro but may not be part of the Final Report; examples may include Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) work in the GNSO and Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) and ongoing work on name collision.

This is a high-level overview of what will be a deep, thorough, and complex endeavor. We are taking this approach to ensure we appropriately address all of the outputs: each affirmation, each recommendation, and each instance of implementation guidance. The work conducted through the ODP will help us work through definitions, questions, and issues for the Board to take into account as part of its decision and how to proceed.

We anticipate sharing the work in progress at the upcoming ICANN73 Virtual Community Forum being held 7-10 March 2022. Until then, I encourage you to review the dedicated New gTLD SubPro ODP page to learn more and should you have questions, you can email them to subpro-odp@icann.org where they are publicly archived and posted here.


Karen Lentz

Karen Lentz

VP Policy Research & Stakeholder Programs