Since we were founded in 1989, OMG has completed some 1,000 standards processes, most recently culminating in the adoption of the Vector Signal and Image Processing Library (the VSIPL and VSIPL++ standards). One of the most important secrets to our success is- as some of our chair-members like to call it- our “no shelf-ware rule”. Before we decide to adopt a standard, we make sure that there is already a plan in place to implement and put the standard into use. We don’t want our standards to just be sitting on a shelf, gathering dust. All our members’ hard work would be for nothing!
More importantly, the standard is just the beginning; real value comes from a market ecosystem around the standard. Besides insisting on open source implementation and/or commercial products, we ensure there is education, training, books, webinars, and certifications- all based on the standard. We don’t just want to make our standard the standard. We want to create experts on the standard, and build a vital market around it.
In addition, we also have a process for clarifying, revising and finalizing a standard after it has been adopted- further ensuring that specifications aren’t just completed and then forgotten. This process includes finalization during implementation, a rapid emergency-clarification procedure, professional editing, long-term maintenance, disambiguation and clarification processes as well as a process to replace old standards with new technology.
A great example of this is the Unified Modeling Language (UML). UML was originally adopted by OMG in 1997. It has been updated and added to continuously since then. It was most recently updated in version 2.4.1 in August of 2011 and currently there is an “in progress” version of UML 2.5 available on our website, focused on simplifying the standard. Our oldest standard, CORBA, is still in production, and revision task forces have kept it up-to-date for over twenty years.
If there’s one thing OMG members will never be it is finished with our standards. With technologies constantly changing, we make sure that our standards keep up, staying both relevant and usable. Our members worked hard on creating these standards and they like being assured that their standard will be around even when the current technology has been shelved in the attic with old eight-track tapes.