Guide for Working Group Chairs

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This Guide is a DRAFT in process. If you would like to contribute and edit this material, contact the NENA Committee Resource Manager.



This page provides guidelines to NENA working group chairs to help them lead their groups in fulfilling the charter that was developed when the group was formed. Our volunteer working group chairs assume considerable responsibilities when they agree to lead a working group. The information presented here is intended to help guide them through the tasks that are often appear to be more complicated than necessary but are required to satisfy the requirements of a Standards Development Organization (SDO) seeking standards accredited by ANSI (American National Standards Institute). ANSI has approved the Document Development and Approval Process described in NENA-ADM-002. Since our working groups play a critical role in document development and approval, it is important that they conform to those provisions when developing documents, and that the processes can be verified. Only then can NENA standards qualify to be classified as ANSI-accredited.

Roles and Responsibilities of Working Group Chairs

The roles and responsibilities of Subcommittee and Working Group Chairs are described in NENA Development Group Organizational Structure (NENA-ADM-001), Section 7.3:

Subcommittee and Working Group Chairs/Co-Chairs preside over their Subcommittee/Working Group, and shall coordinate their team efforts to include:

  • Ensuring that procedures are followed and meetings are conducted in a fair and efficient manner.
  • Understanding and following the NENA Document Development and Approval process document (NENA-ADM-002).
  • Utilizing the conference bridge, web and other resources as provided, to collaborate with team members in the development of documents and resolution of Issues assigned by the Development Committee Chair.
  • Upon direction from the Development Committee Co-Chairs, review NENA documents to ensure they are still applicable, in accordance with the Document Development and Approval Process document (NENA-ADM-002).
  • Directing any conflicts/problems to the Development Committee Co-Chairs for resolution.
  • Fulfilling the minimum requirements and direction for any task that could result in an Information, Requirement or Standard Document as established by the Development Committee Co-Chairs.
  • Providing periodic updates to their Development Committee Co-Chairs and, if necessary, discuss the activities of their Subcommittee/WG in conference calls with their Development Committee leads, or with the DSC.
  • Participating in all Development Committee leadership calls and activities, and participating in DSC calls when necessary as a substitute for a Committee Co-Chair. Subcommittee and Working Group Chairs/Co-Chairs may be invited to participate in DSC meetings as a visitor.
  • Working closely with other standards-setting bodies and related organizations as required.
  • Responding to questions from the DSC.
  • Providing leadership for and assisting in establishing the NENA Standards and Best Practices conference (SBP), JCM (Joint Committee Meeting), Critical Issues Forums (CIFs), and in developing educational sessions and recruiting speakers for the NENA Annual Conference.
  • Submitting Subcommittee/Working Group Scopes & Goals status reports on a monthly basis (NENA-ADM-006).
  • Upon direction from the Development Committee Co-Chairs, provide answers to questions received on in support of FAQ feature.
  • To ensure compatibility among NENA documents, the WG Chairs should encourage their members to alert the group of known inconsistencies with work being done in other groups. When any inconsistencies are identified, the WG Chair should engage the Chair of the other group or coordinate solutions with their committee leadership or Development Steering Council.

How Working Group Chairs are Selected

Working Group chairs are selected by Development Committee co-chairs after an Issue is assigned to the committee. Thereafter, the working group chair position is reviewed by the Development Committee co-chairs annually.

NENA members who are interested in serving in a leadership position are encouraged to download and submit this form: NENA Development Group Committee Leadership Application (NENA-ADM-009).

Roles and Responsibilities of Other Working Group Positions

Working group members may volunteer for important roles. These roles are best filled by persons who can commit to devoting their time and skills to attending calls and working behind the scenes on editing and administrative tasks in NENA Workspace. Document Editors and Note Takers are considered part of the leadership team for the working group and parent development committee. They are often included in the committee's leadership group and should have access to the working group's and TurboBridge access codes.

In some cases, the responsibilities listed below for the positions may be assigned by a working group chair to one person or to a substitute if the normally assigned individual is not available.

Document Editor

In addition to the commitment of their time and efforts to the responsibilities below, Document Editors should have the background and skills to operate the tools critical to the document management processes. Those tools should include current versions Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, NENA Workspace, and any related applications and browsers required to manage related material such as graphics and presentations.

The roles and responsibilities of Document Editor include:

  • Organizing contributions provided by members for presentation and review on working group calls.
  • Editing contributed material during calls based on consensus achieved through discussions, correcting spelling and grammar mistakes, and adding appropriate links and references.
  • Editing and managing draft documents, starting with the appropriate template.
  • Incorporating approved contributions into the master draft document.
  • Coordinating the presentation and processing of comments during the document review process.
  • Substituting for the working group chair on calls or meetings when the chair is not available.

Note Taker

The roles and responsibilities of the Note Taker include:

  • Monitor the TurboBridge web control panel during calls to verify the identity of callers, correct their names if necessary, and mute noisy lines when necessary.
  • Take the roll of attendees for calls and meetings and enter the attendance into NENA Workspace.
  • Take notes of call and meeting events and add them to the ADM-008 Agenda / Notes document for the meeting.
  • If polls are conducted using the chat box, capture the poll question and responses in the notes.
  • Substitute for the working group chair on calls or meetings when the chair is not available.

How to Use NENA Resources to Manage a Working Group

NENA processes and procedures that govern working group functions are described in NENA-ADM-002. In this section, we’ll describe the details of the working group processes and how they are accomplished using the various NENA resources and tools. Following these guidelines will help working group chairs manage their groups fairly and efficiently.

The NENA Development Group has established a collaboration web site called NENA Workspace. The NENA Workspace Member Guide contains information for all members about using the resources of NENA Workspace.

Each working group has a dedicated NENA Workspace account that includes an Email list, Roster, Document Library, Calendar, and other resources.

Note: In addition to a Committee's working group accounts on NENA Workspace, it is recommended that each Committee host a "Leadership" group with all of the Committee's chairs, working group leaders, document editors and note takers. This resource provides a centralized presence for all Committee leaders to coordinate their activities.

Using NENA Workspace Email

Each Working Group is assigned an Email account as part of their NENA Workspace resource. The Email account has a unique address and is available to all members of the working group as well as authorized observers. Emails sent to the working group's address are distributed to everyone on the working group's roster and also saved to the group's archive.

Managing NENA Workspace Rosters

NENA Workspace working group rosters control all aspects of a working group member's participation including:

  • Voting eligibility on Approval Ballots
  • Participation in email discussions
  • Access to the document library

Managing these rosters is an important responsibility of working group chairs. Voting thresholds require diligent roster management. The management and control of working group rosters is shared between the Committee Resource Manager (CRM), Committee Co-Chairs, and Working Group Chairs. The table below shows who can do what in a working group roster.

Add Member to NENA Workspace Add Member Already in NENA Workspace to working group Edit Date Added to Group Change Email Subscription Status Change Interest Category Change Role Change Voting Status Remove from WG roster Edit Account Info
CRM y y y y y y y y y
Committee Chair n y y y y y n y n
WG Chair n y y y y y n y n
Member n n n n n n n y y

How to Add Member in NENA Workspace to a Working Group

In many cases, members are added to working groups and their parent committee by the Committee Resource Manager when the member is added to NENA Workspace. Members who are already in NENA Workspace can be added to the working group by the working group chair.

Here are the steps to add a member already in NENA Workspace to your working group.

  1. Log on to NENA Workspace (
  2. Select your working group.
  3. In the Roster section, click on new member.
  4. In the New Member section, search (by name, email or company) for and select the member's name.
  5. In the New Member Role section, choose WG Member.
  6. Check Yes, send an email now and NWS will generate a notice to the member that they have been added to the roster. Then you must send an email similar to the Welcome Letter for New Members and copy
  7. Click Add New Member

How to Remove a Member From a Working Group

If a member misses more than three consecutive calls without advising Working Group leaders they may be removed from the Working Group. Working Group Chairs may contact the member to see if the member is still interested in serving on the committee. They may also send the member an email based on the template Working Group Member Attendance Notice.

In order to remove a work group member, simply go to Settings, Members and select Remove to the far right of the person’s name you are removing. You should also send an email to [[1]] so the individual may be deactivated in NENA Workspace if they are not a member of any other work group.

How to Change Member Information

Only the member or CRM may change account information. Members may change all contact information, including password, by taking the following steps:

  1. Select the down arrow to the right of your name at the top of the page.
  2. Select My Account.
  3. Enter all data you wish to change and SAVE.

To change your employer’s company name, you must send an email to and the change will be made.

Managing NENA Workspace Calendars

NENA Workspace Calendars are configured for each Working Group. The calendars must be used to for scheduling conference calls and other events. All NENA Workspace calendar entries are available under Groups, All Groups, Calendar. Using this tool will assist WG Chairs in not scheduling overlapping conference calls.

If you need to reload the meeting series to your calendar:

1. Log into the NENA Workspace

2. Navigate to your WG

3. Select calendar

4. Open any any current meeting

5. Select the “Edit” dropdown (upper right), then “Download” and open the meeting series

6. Save and Close

Working Group Conference Calls

Working Group conference calls are the primary method for reviewing contributions and achieving consensus in the preparation of documents and other deliverables. Because of the importance of these calls, and because they take a considerable amount of our volunteers' time, they should be conducted as effectively as possible.

They also have to be conducted in conformance with NENA policies that must be observed in order to satisfy ANSI requirements. This allows NENA to produce ANSI-certified national standards.

Fortunately, our working groups have useful tools for scheduling, conducting, and documenting our calls.

  • NENA Workspace is a collaboration web site that maintains calendars, document libraries, rosters, and other resources for our committees and working groups.
  • is a web conferencing service that allows desktop and application sharing for real-time conference calls.
  • TurboBridge is the audio conferencing service used by NENA for calls and visually tracking attendance.

Scheduling Conference Calls

In Advance:

  • Enter calendar event in NENA Workspace with “Attendees can Record Their Attendance” and "Voter Eligibility" set to NO with announcement that includes calendar notice.
  • At least one day in advance of each call, put the Agenda and Notes Form (NENA-ADM-008) in the Agenda folder on NENA Workspace with distribution to membership. Use the guide Using NENA-ADM-008 Draft Agenda and Notes in filling out NENA-ADM-008. If you would like to increase the attendance for your calls, try embellishing your agenda notice to generate interest, especially among the members who you want to participate because of their expertise in a topic that is going to be discussed.
  • Be sure that someone has accepted the roles of Chair, Note Taker, and Document Editor.

Conducting Conference Calls

Prior to each call verify that the people are available for the call that have the necessary access codes and are able to perform the following functions:

  • Chair. The meeting chair leads the call. This is usually the working group's chair or co-chair.
  • Note Taker. In addition to taking notes, the Note Taker is usually assigned to monitor TurboBridge. The Note Taker should be prepared with the login and password required for TurboBridge. See The TurboBridge Host Control Panel.
  • Document Editor. (if documents or contributions will be reviewed)
    The Document Editor needs the email login and password in order to start the web conference.
Conference calls should be conducted using this Conference Call Protocol
Conference Call Protocol
A few minutes before the call's scheduled start time:
  • The Note Taker should log in to the TurboBridge Host Control Panel and mute chimes on TurboBridge so that frequent arrival chimes don't interfere with discussions as people join the call before the meeting is called to order.
  • The Document Editor should log in to and prepare the material being reviewed.
  • The Chair, Note Taker, and Document Editor should dial in to the TurboBridge telephone bridge.

At about five minutes after the scheduled meeting start time or if all expected members have dialed in, the meeting Chair may read a standard call introduction script. Whether or not the script is read, the following steps should be covered for every call:

  • Call the meeting to order.
  • Verify that a note taker is available and be sure they use the NENA AGENDA & NOTES DOCUMENT (NENA-ADM-008) document for agenda and note taking.
  • Identify meeting participants by reading the names of the callers from TurboBridge. On TurboBridge, correct the entries that are not automatically filled in correctly, such as blocked callers, Skype callers, or new callers. If TurboBridge is not used, make sure the names of all callers are captured.
  • In the TurboBridge Ref field, enter a description of the call, for example, NG9-1-1 PSAP WG Call.
  • Unmute TurboBridge chimes so that late arrivals can be identified.
  • Mention that in the event of noise, music on hold, or other audio interruptions, that all callers might be muted and that each person should press *6 when they are ready to speak.
  • Ask if anyone does not agree to IPR Policy described at and give anyone who cannot agree a chance to leave the call. The Note Taker will record that the question was asked and along with the name and affiliation of any person responding in the affirmative.
Ambox notice.png
At the first meeting in a calendar year, the complete antitrust statement in the NENA IPR Policy] must be read.
  • Ask whether anyone has knowledge of Patent IPR within the scope of any deliverables. The Note Taker will record that the question was asked along with the names, affiliations, and disclosed Patent IPR stated by those responding in the affirmative.
  • Review the agenda, ask if anyone wants to add additional agenda items, and then seek approval of the agenda.
  • Approve previous minutes.
  • Conduct meeting.
  • Adjourn

Tips for Successful Calls
  • The Chair's primary goal should be to conduct the call so that it proceeds efficiently and stays on topic and within scope. The Chair should work to achieve consensus and should avoid taking strong positions or advocating one position over another.
  • Try to keep any participant's comments focused and brief.
  • To maintain forward progress on work group deliverables as a part of a meeting facilitation role, work group co-chairs, at their own discretion, maintain the ability to interrupt any ongoing work group member’s conversation or to defer any questions asked that are deemed fundamental areas of knowledge already covered.
Use the "Chat Box" for quick surveys

Sometimes it is desirable to get documented feedback from participants on the call. An easy way to survey the callers and document their responses uses the chat function:

  • The leader types a question or proposition in the chat window addressed to "@All" and announces the question on the call.
  • Individual callers respond to the question in the chat window, also directing the response to "@All".
  • After the call, the chat log starting with the question and including all of the responses can be copied and pasted into the meeting notes.

After the Conference Call...

Several tasks need to be completed after the conference call is adjourned:

  • If anyone disclosed patent information, contact the parent committee's Co-Chairs and Committee Resource Manager (CRM).
  • Within 5 days, note taker enters attendance into NENA Workspace.
  1. Go to calendar and select that day’s calendar entry.
  2. Select track attendance.
  3. Select each member who was on the call.
  4. Select Record Attendance.
  5. Select the group members that attended the call.
  • In addition to the attendance in NENA Workspace, a note taker must enter attendance information into an Excel spreadsheet that includes tracking of excused absences. A template for a NENA WG Roster Template spreadsheet may be downloaded from NENA Workspace: here.
  • Within 5 days, note taker uploads minutes to group library. (Use NENA-ADM-008 Template)
  • If edits are made to contributions or draft documents, document editor will upload updated material within 5 days using “Add a Revision” in NENA Workspace. Reviewed contributions should be updated until consensus is reached and the contributions can be incorporated into draft documents. Contributions should also be retained in the contributions folder with major contributor identified.

Conducting Polls - What you need to know about NENA Workspace Ballots

Polls are an important part of a working group's activity. Surveys taken during calls using the Chat Box survey function only represent the opinions of the meeting's participants. For polls that include the entire group (or the designated voters), NENA Workspace provides two types of ballots to conduct polls. They are used to determine the preferences of the members and are also used to determine whether groups have the consensus required to publish documents.

The "Approval Ballot" is the official ballot for approving things, including documents. For informal opinions, NENA Workspace provides what it calls a "Ballot". This is a less formal but more flexible ballot for identifying the preferences of group members.

This table describes the primary differences between the two ballot types:

Approval Ballot

(Formal Ballot)


(Informal Ballot)

NENA Workspace Ballot Type Comparison
Who can create the ballot? Committee Resource Manager (CRM), Working Group Chair or Committee Chair Committee Resource Manager (CRM), Working Group Chair or Committee Chair.
Who can vote? Officially designated voters as defined in NENA-ADM-002. Configurable:
  • Anyone on the roster.
  • Officially designated voters.
How to select in Workspace?
  1. Select "Documents" in the left menu.
  2. Navigate to the document requiring approval.
  3. In the "Edit" drop-down menu, select "Create Approval Ballot."
  4. Complete the form(s).
  1. Select "Ballots" in the left menu.
  2. Click on the green "Add" button.  (Not the drop-down arrow).
  3. Complete the form(s).
For documents only? Yes No
Answer Options Restricted to "Yes"/"No"/"Abstain" Flexible, Multiple Choice
Can ballot be used to determine consensus? Yes. No
When must the ballot be used?

On all document approvals at Working Group and Committee level to move the document to next step. Approval Ballots are a required step for ANS (American National Standard) document approval process.

Not required.
When should the ballot be used?
  • When consensus on a document issue or disputed text is required and it is possible that the consensus on a call may not be representative of the consensus of the entire group.
  • Deciding on whether or not to accept disputed responses to review comments.
  • To sample the entire group's opinion.
  • To get the group's preferences in choosing from multiple options.
  • To get opinions on non document-related issues.
Is there a minimum required participation? Yes, 50% of approved voters must vote for a valid decision on approval. For "important" questions, 50% of approved voters must vote for a valid decision on approval.

For "trivial" questions, participation levels may be ignored.

What happens if participation does not reach 50%? If 50% participation is not reached, the ballot should be recirculated so that voters who have not voted may vote, and voters may change their vote. Otherwise, existing votes remain valid. Participation may be increased by encouraging members to use the "Abstain" option and by removing members who do not participate. Discretion on accepting ballot results and participation level is left to the ballot originator with consideration given to the importance of the ballot.
What is threshold of "Yes" votes to indicate consensus? 2/3 of those who vote. Consensus is not determined using an Informal Ballot.

How Issues are Processed

NENA uses the NENA ISSUE SUBMISSION FORM (NENA-ADM-003) as the method to receive and document suggestions, ideas, recommendations, or questions about 9-1-1 or NENA's Development Group activities that would likely require a group effort to address. From the time a person submits a NENA Issue Submission Form (ISF) until its final disposition, the document follows a process described in detail in the NENA Document Development and Approval Process (NENA-ADM-002.1).

Issue Processing Steps

This diagram is a summary of the steps for processing an Issue described in the NENA Document Development and Approval Process (NENA-ADM-002.1). See that document for the details of these steps.

The colors of the elements in the chart indicate the group responsible for the activity.

Green: Working Group
Blue: NENA Staff or Development Steering Council
Pink: Authoring Committee
Yellow: Committee Resource Manager

Issue Flow Chart.png

See The Document Development Process for details on processing documents.

Forming a Working Group to Work an Issue

Completing the Charter

In initiating a new WG or a new subject within a WG, a clear definition of Charter, Scope and/or Mission shall be established in the beginning, to provide direction and end objective. This shall be reviewed frequently in order to keep the WG on track. In addition, intermediate milestones representing major accomplishments toward the end results shall be identified and documented. Minor adjustments to Scope can be made as perspectives evolve, but no major changes to Scope shall occur without review by the leadership of the Committee(s).

After Scope and Intermediate Milestones are established, the WG shall estimate the timeline for both intermediate milestones and the final deliverable. The Scope/Mission and timeline/date information shall be fed back to the Committee leadership so that intentions are known and overall Committee development schedules can be recognized and managed as necessary. The schedules shall be reviewed between the WG and Committee leadership periodically so that there may be an early warning of any jeopardy relating to the schedules.

Because volunteer time for both leaders and members is limited, and the development needs are often large, Committee and leaders of specific projects shall establish development priorities across the NENA effort. Recommendations may be set to assign priority to specific development areas at both the WG level and, in some cases, between subject areas within WGs. These priorities shall be communicated to the WG leaders in order to assist them in managing workload. WG leaders and volunteers who are members of more than one WG are expected to self-manage the application and balancing of their time according to these priorities. WG leaders shall communicate to the Committee leaders where issues arise relating to WG membership conflicts (e.g. competing time slots for meetings).

Recruiting Members

Once a working group is formed around a charter, the group's chair should recruit members with the skills and experience appropriate for the task.

In addition to specific subject matter experts, don't forget to recruit members with administrative skills needed to fulfill the roles of Document Editor and Note Taker.

  • Document Editor. The editor edits text in the draft document and in contributions during a meeting to reflect the corrections, additions, and deletions that achieve consensus during a meeting. The editor also maintains the draft document and when contributions are accepted, updates the draft accordingly.
  • Note Taker. The Note Taker keeps the minutes and attendance of all meetings. After the conclusion of a meeting, the note taker uploads the minutes of the meeting to the NENA Workspace folder for that group's minutes and also enters the attendance into the NENA Workspace meeting attendance page.

It is a good idea to also prepare other members to take over these roles when it is necessary to substitute. For these roles, subject matter expertise is not as important as administrative skills and reliable availability.

Here are several methods available for recruiting working group members:

  • Contact the group's parent committee members. Initially, members can easily be recruited from the parent committee by using the NENA Workspace committee mail list.
  • The parent committee chairs can forward an invitation to the other NENA committees through their representatives on the DSC.
  • Group chairs who are members of other committees can email invitations directly to those committee members using the committee email list.
  • Upon request, the CRM can send an invitation to all NDG members.

For every working group, a description of the working group is added to the committee's page on The description should include the areas of expertise needed on the group and the group's normal call schedule so that prospective members can determine whether they should join.

Sample Working Group Description on a Committee Page

Sample Working Group Description on a Committee Page

When a prospective member clicks on the "Join This Work Group" button, they will see a form to fill out that includes agreeing to the NENA policies for working group membership and NENA's Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy. Working Group chairs and the CRM are notified by email of any requests to join the group that originate on the page. If the applicant is not already a NENA Workspace member, the CRM will add them to NENA Workspace. If the applicant is already a NENA Workspace member, working group chairs may add them to the working group.

Managing NENA Documents

Document Types

The NENA Development Group publishes material and documents in five categories:

  • Administrative Documents (ADM)
  • Standards Documents (STA)
  • Requirements Documents (REQ)
  • Information Documents (INF)
  • Reference Publication (REF)
Administrative Document (ADM)

NENA Administrative (ADM) documents provide for the organizational structure of the association and its committees, establish the process of document development and approval, and provide the appropriate forms to document committee work. ADM documents are produced by a Development Steering Council (DSC) Working Group and approved by the DSC and NENA Board.

Standard Document (STA)

NENA Standard (STA) Documents are published as information sources for the use of the public safety community. A NENA Standard is intended to describe methods, processes, and specifications that, if implemented as specified, should result in successful operation of the 9-1-1 emergency call and incident processing system. NENA Standards documents may be used by system developers, service providers, public safety agencies, regulatory authorities and others for the purposes of development, procurement, and management of 9-1-1 emergency call and incident processing products and services. Some NENA Standard documents may be certified by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute).

The NENA STA Template may be downloaded from the Administrative Procedures & Templates Documents Page on NENA Workspace.

Requirements Document (REQ)

NENA Requirements (REQ) documents are published as an information source primarily for use by NENA committees and working groups as guides for their development of NENA Standards. The contents of NENA Requirements documents are derived from a combination of the expressed needs of public safety agencies and the capabilities of the vendors of equipment and services. Requirements documents are not intended for use in development or procurement processes because their content does not include standard methods, processes, or specifications needed to support interoperability among the various 9-1-1 system elements.

The NENA REQ Template may be downloaded from the Administrative Procedures & Templates Documents Page on NENA Workspace.

Information Document (INF)

NENA Information (INF) documents are published to distribute information on a particular subject to the public safety community. Information documents may contain background information, best practices, check lists, and other material representing the collective knowledge and experiences of the NENA community. These documents do not contain normative statements and are not intended to be used directly for development or procurement purposes.

The NENA INF Template may be downloaded from the Administrative Procedures & Templates Documents Page on NENA Workspace.

Reference Publication (REF)

A NENA-authorized Reference Publication may consist of material in a variety of forms, including (but not limited to):

  • NENA Knowledge Base Article
  • Flyer
  • White Paper
  • Checklist
  • Brochure
  • Web Site Content
  • PowerPoint Presentation
  • Video
  • Microsoft Word Document
  • PDF Document

For any of the publication formats above, The Reference Material Tracking Form is created as a companion document that contains important information about the published material such as the authoring committee, working group, hyperlinks to the material, approval date, etc. The title of the document includes the identification reference in the form NENA-REF-XXX.Y-yyyy. This identification reference, included somewhere in the published material, shows that the material is an officially authorized and approved NENA publication.

The Document Development Process

NENA documents are developed and approved using the processes described in NENA-ADM-002.

Process for STA, REQ, and INF Documents

The detailed steps for processing Standard (STA), Requirement (REQ), and Information (INF) documents are shown in this flow chart diagram:

Click to go to full sized drawing

Process for REF Material

The process for approving reference material was designed to reduce the time needed to publish non-standard material by removing some of the steps in the STA, REQ, and INF process completely or leaving some of the steps to the discretion of the DSC (Development Steering Council). The detailed steps for processing REF material are shown in this flow chart diagram:

Click to go to full sized drawing

Document Development Process in the Working Group

The Document Development Process and the flow chart show green Working Group steps for completing document drafts and processing comments that are received during the various review steps. The detailed steps for those working group processes are shown in this flow chart diagram:

Click to go to full sized drawing

Get the Current Template

If the working group is developing a Standard, Requirements, or Information document, the group's document editor will download a template that must be used in the production of any of those document types.

Reference material (REF) does not conform to a standard template because it may be in the form of a multimedia presentation (such as YouTube), web page, or other non-standard format.

The current versions of all templates are available for download from the Administrative Procedures & Templates & Training Material page on NENA Workspace:

NENA Template for Standard Document
NENA Template for Requirements Document
NENA Template for Information Document

Draft Executive Summary and Content Outline from Charter

One way to get started on a document is for the working group chair to prepare a draft of the Executive Summary and an outline for the content of the document. These would be based on the charter.

Present to WG for review, refinement, and consensus

Once the draft of the Executive Summary and outline is complete and distributed, the material would be reviewed and refined by the full working group on a conference call. Getting consensus on the Executive Summary and outline in the early stages helps guide the group through the process of dividing the work, getting contributions, and filling in the details.

Seek contributions

Working group chairs should seek contributions for identified topics from volunteers. When volunteers accept the assignment to provide a contribution, they should also agree to a time deadline for providing the contribution.

All submitted contributions should be uploaded into the Contributions folder in the working group's NENA Workspace library.

Contributions with graphics

Most contributions are text only. They may be submitted in any format that can be imported into a Microsoft Word document for review. If the contribution includes graphics or any other material that cannot be edited in Word, the source files such as Visio, PowerPoint, or any other application files used to prepare the material must also be uploaded. This is necessary to allow editors for the initial draft and future document reviews to edit the non-text material.

Seek volunteers first, then assign

In the event that there are topics that are not accepted by volunteers, they may be assigned to individuals at the discretion of the working group chair.

Review contributions

Complete Template Sections Including Acknowledgement Table

Prepare The Document Glossary

The templates for most NENA documents include a Abbreviations, Terms and Definitions table. Instructions for adding entries to the table are included in the templates. Please note that the Abbreviations, Terms and Definitions table is used as a source for terms that are selected for addition to the NENA Master Glossary and NENA Knowledge Base.

See What kinds of terms and acronyms should be added to this glossary? for guidelines on selecting the kinds of terms that should be considered for addition to this NENA Knowledge Base and to the NENA Master Glossary.

Terms may be added to the document's Abbreviations, Terms and Definitions table for the convenience of the document's readers and not necessarily be added to the NENA Master Glossary.

Working Group Co-Chairs should check the Master Glossary or NENA Knowledge Base to ensure a term is not already defined.

Do not create acronyms or abbreviations unless necessary. If there is an abbreviation that is specific only to your document, instead of creating yet another abbreviation, just spell it out.

Early Notification Process For New Definitions

When Working Groups develop a new term that they believe may be used by other Working Groups, this process is the method with which the proposed term and definition can be shared with the NDG group leaders before the document approval process has begun.

Early Notification Resources:

  • A folder in “00. All Group Leaders” on NWS is dedicated to this purpose.

The name of that folder is “Proposed MG Terms.”

  • That NWS Folder is where proposals to add/modify/delete terms in the MG will be stored for sharing and approval, way ahead of when they would have otherwise been seen by anyone outside of the WG that came up with them.
  • The NENA-ADM-008 Agenda & Notes template includes a reminder line that will encourage meeting hosts to look to see if there’s anything in that folder that needs their attention. There is a link to the folder where such information would be if it existed. This ‘reminder’ step is similar to the Agenda line item that exists now to remind them to ask if there are any known conflicts.

How It Works:

  • A WG Co-Chair or assigned delegate will send the proposed MG term change (add/change/delete) to the CRM via email. The email should be in the following format:

Subject: MG Proposal-Term (Abbreviation if applicable)

Email Body: The XXXXX WG is proposing to add/change/delete (select one) the following term from the MG:

TERM: ABBREVIATION (if applicable):


Submitters Name, Email & Contact Number

  • CRM receives the email and creates a document for uploading to NWS to be filed in “00. All Group Leaders” under the folder named “Proposed MG Terms.”
  • This folder contains proposed MG terms that may affect other working group's document.
  • The CRM will try to ensure the “Document Title” field is short enough that a quick glance by WG Co-Chairs will let them know if a term is applicable to their work or not.

When the file is uploaded by the CRM, a copy of the text will also be copied in the “Submitter Note” field. By doing this, the recipient will not be required to open the actual document, but they will be able to reply to the NWS distribution list. When replying, DO NOT CHANGE THE SUBJECT as NWS will create a discussion list of all emails related to the subject term.

  • The WG Co-Chairs will check the link when preparing the agenda and determine if any terms affect the group’s work.
  • It remains possible that any proposed MG change could be reversed during the document’s approval cycles. This early notification concept simply meets the goal that was put forth during the 2017 JCM, to speed up the process of sharing proposed MG changes ahead of the formal approval cycles.
  • The MG won’t be changed until the associated document is approved for publication by the Executive Board. But the WG that requested the change will know that there weren’t any objections from other WGs, and other WGs will know about the pending change, and can make use of it in their own work, if applicable.
  • Once a new MG is published the draft proposed documents will be archived or deleted from the folder. The folder will only contain terms that are in documents that are being drafted.

Conducting Document Reviews & Comment Resolution

At several steps in the development process, documents are offered for review or an approval ballot. Both reviews and approval ballots can generate comments. Comments may be submitted in a variety of ways including a specific on-line comment page for the document in NENA Workspace. Comments can also be provided in uploaded versions of the document with comments and proposed edits added in a way that they can be identified. Often, that method uses Microsoft Word "tracked changes". Comments may also be submitted by email or any other method the commenter chooses.

Every comment, no matter how it is submitted, must be entered into the NENA Workspace "Comment Manager". The Comment Manager tracks the process by which the comment is received, reviewed by the working group, and the resolution communicated back to the comment submitter. The Comment Manager also captures the submitter's response to the working group's action.

When completing fields in the NENA Workspace Comment Manager, the field names should be interpreted as described in the Explanatory text for the various Comment States and Responses.

Reporting Status

Policy Issues

Since the WGs are formed to address technical and operational issues, anything that might constitute a significant policy issue, or affect NENA policy, shall be escalated to the Committee or Project leadership for resolution with the NENA staff or other lead point. The WG leader shall convey to the leadership when any policy issues inhibit progress on technical or operational topics.

Contributions to WG effort and People Resources

WG members are expected to contribute ideas, text, and review effort toward the goals of the WG. If the WG leader(s) determine(s) that they are not receiving these contributions in a timely manner, they shall identify this issue to the Committee or Project lead teams as soon as possible. The lead teams will attempt to rebalance the efforts of existing volunteers and seek out new resources as appropriate.

Participating in NENA events

Working Group chairs are expected to participate in scheduled NENA events such as the Joint Committee Meeting (JCM), NENA Standards and Best Practices (SBP) and the NENA Annual Conference. They may suggest appropriate session topics, help prepare the session presentation material, and may coordinate and present the material and moderate the session discussions along with other working group members.