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Minutes | Board Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) Meeting 14 October 2019

OEC Attendees: Avri Doria – Chair, Danko Jevtovic, Lito Ibarra, León Sanchez, and Matthew Shears

OEC Apologies: Khaled Koubaa

Executive and Staff Attendees: Susanna Bennett, Michelle Bright, Franco Carrasco, Samantha Eisner, Negar Farzinnia, Larisa Gurnick, Lars Hoffmann, Vinciane Koenigsfeld, Wendy Profit, Laena Rahim

The following is a summary of discussions, decisions, and actions identified:

The Meeting was called to order at 16:00 UTC.

  1. Agenda – The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.

  2. Nominating Committee ("NomCom") Review: Discussion on the NomCom Review Detailed Implementation Plan (the "Plan") – At its previous meeting on 10 October 2019, the OEC discussed and provided constructive feedback on the Plan to ensure that its concerns have been addressed, and relevant changes have been made by the NomCom Review Implementation Working Group (NomComRIWG).

    The OEC concluded its discussion on this topic, and approved the recommendation to the Board that it is appropriate for the Board to accept the Plan, and for the Board to instruct the NomComRIWG to start implementation, focusing first on those recommendations that are easiest and quickest to implement.

    • Action Item:

      • The OEC to forward its recommendation to the Board for its consideration.

  3. Discussion on the draft proposal strawman on timing and cadence of reviews – In preparation for the upcoming Board session during ICANN66 in Montreal, ICANN organization presented a high-level overview of existing concerns in connection with the duration and sequencing of reviews; and proposed key principles that could serve as the foundation for suitable solutions.

    In brief, the current round of reviews has demonstrated that the current processes are not sustainable, and there is broad agreement among the community, the Board and ICANN organization that the desired state is effective and efficient reviews, manageable workload for volunteers and ICANN organization, with outcomes that align with the Bylaws-mandated purpose of the reviews. ICANN organization briefed the OEC on the different work streams that are currently underway to address different areas:

    • Budgeting and prioritization of recommendations;
    • Timing and cadence of reviews; and
    • Streamlining and improving reviews.

    In relation to the timing and cadence of reviews, ICANN organization highlighted some key issues:

    • Overlap – too many reviews are being conducted concurrently;
    • Unpredictability in terms of the time it takes to conduct the review and to implement the recommendations; and
    • Implementation of recommendations is not always completed in time for the next cycle.

    The OEC commented that some keys issue that should be considered include:

    • the purpose and objective of reviews;
    • whether the right recommendations are being made; and
    • whether the recommendations made have a material, beneficial and long-lasting impact

    ICANN organization briefly described a typical and expected period of time to conduct a review.  For instance, previously, the second Security, Stability and Resiliency (SSR) review and the Registration Directory Service (RDS-WHOIS2) review were each conducted within 18-24 months.  On the other hand, the Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice (CCT) review took a longer time to complete owing to the scope of work, the analysis and research involved, and the methodology of the CCT review.

    Responding to a question from the OEC as to whether there is a definitive end point for the implementation and assessment phases of a review, ICANN organization explained that in the past, the assessment of whether or not the intent of the recommendation was accomplished was left for the next review team to conduct.  One of the things to consider as part of the improvement exercise is to have more clarity on the intent of the recommendation and the desired outcome of a review, to be able to measure successful implementation.

    ICANN organization also presented some potential solutions to address the issues highlighted:

    • change trigger point of the next review cycle;
    • limit time to conduct review;
    • increase cycle time;
    • expedite Board consideration and implementation; and
    • limit concurrent reviews.

    ICANN organization further presented an illustration of potential timelines for future reviews to limit the duration and overlap of reviews.

    Pursuant to ICANN organization's in-depth presentation on this topic, the OEC commented that the ICANN community would react positively to a more spaced out cadence of reviews, in terms of managing resources and the time commitment for their involvement in reviews.

    ICANN organization informed the OEC that in terms of proposed key timelines:

    • ICANN organization to formulate a concrete proposal by ICANN67, considering input from community during ICANN66 and in subsequent engagements;
    • upon completion of public consultation and public comment proceeding, the Board to make its decision on Bylaws amendment and a concrete proposal by ICANN68; and
    • Bylaws change to take effect by the end of 2020, so that the amendments are in place prior to the commencement of reviews (e.g., RDS review in 2022).

    Upon being briefed by ICANN organization, some observations and feedback from the OEC include:

    • For purposes of streamlining and improving the reviews, the OEC noted that this is a unique opportunity for ICANN to consider the proposed solution as a "package", that is, to view it in terms of how to shorten the reviews, make them more precise and focused, make them more impactful over a shorter period of time. The "package" would demonstrate to the community that ICANN is taking steps to make reviews more effective, and to improve the timing and cadence of reviews.

    • The OEC agreed that it would be advantageous to "package" its proposal in a single, well-informed recommendation that is workable and adequate for future reviews, if possible.

  4. Discussion on the relation of the timing and streamlining of reviews topic to the work of the Board Caucus on Budgeting and Prioritization of Community Prioritization (BPCR), including any implications for WS2 – ICANN organization provided an update on how the timing and streamlining of reviews work intersects with the work of the Board Caucus on BPCR, as well as the importance of the outcomes of the ATRT3 and the ongoing conversation about evolving ICANN's multistakeholder model of governance.

    ICANN organization provided a brief update on the Board Caucus on BPCR's draft principles for community discussion which have been divided into: (1) principles that apply to effective recommendations; and (2) principles that apply to the effective implementation of those recommendations.

    ICANN organization concluded the discussion on this topic by providing a summary of the proposed schedule for the upcoming activities in relation to the budgeting and prioritization of recommendations work.

  5. Update on SSR2 additional budget request – ICANN organization provided an update on the SSR2 Review Team's request for an additional USD250,000 to complete their work, following the Project Costing Support Team model.  The SSR2 budget currently has USD70,000 remaining to spend.  The additional budget will be allocated to: four (4) face-to-face meetings (USD140,000) and a Policy Research Contractor (USD90,000).  The impact to FY20 is USD320,000 based on the funds not expensed in FY19. The Board Caucus on SSR2 and the Board Finance Committee will jointly consider this request and decide on the appropriate action.

    Responding to the OEC's query as to why the SSR2 Review Team is requesting additional budget, ICANN organization explained that the request is partially due to the fact that owing to the pause/re-start of the SSR2 work, they had to go through a substantial amount of work from the start again with the newly formed team in August 2018; and the biggest portion of the budget goes towards travel.

  6. Review of OEC Action Items – ICANN organization presented the status of action items for the OEC and changes in status since the previous OEC meeting.

    The OEC discussed the following "watch items":

    • Communication with review teams to resolve problems sooner (OEC, Board Caucus Groups, etc.); and

    • Geographic distribution of the requirements in the bylaws.

  7. Any Other Business

  • Revisit prior discussion on managing a catastrophic issue in relation to a review – ICANN organization reiterated that the Operating Standards for Specific Reviews, which was adopted by the Board on 23 June 2019, provide some guidance around the accountability of a review team to the community, i.e., the various ways for the Board and the community to monitor the progress of a review (Section 3.7), dispute resolution mechanism (Section 5), and a safety clause for terminating a review team in case of failure (Section 5.1).

The OEC sought clarification as to whether there is an existing mechanism to monitor and assess whether a review team is utilizing ICANN resources and volunteer time prudently and appropriately. ICANN organization responded that for each Specific Review, a fact sheet is produced on a quarterly basis to capture attendance of review team members, costs associated with professional services and travel to attend face-to-face meetings, and milestones.

The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 21 November 2019