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From the Editor's Desk
Lessons in Strategic Planning

I’ve never even thought to become a teacher, in spite of the heavy representation of educators in my small family. But there is a part of me that is perhaps genetically predisposed to finger-wagging moments of didacticism. Eric Boes’ article is one of those things likely to bring out the teacher in me.

Strategic planning is key to any technical committee’s survival. A committee that is conscious of where it wants to go on a macro level — in terms of surveying industry trends to determine where standards are needed and creating tools by which its members can most easily create those standards — is a successful committee.

ASTM Committee B05 on Copper and Copper Alloys is especially good at this kind of macro-level planning. The members of B05 have, as Boes describes in his feature article, refined several tools for making standards development as well-targeted to their industry as possible. Over the years, the committee has developed special specifications that provide uniformity through requirements that form part the basic elements of other specifications. They have also created committee-specific language, and form and style and terminology management guidelines that aid members in developing new standards and that promote uniformity among the standards. All of these resources are available on the Internet. In addition, the committee has recently created a strategic planning subcommittee, which will study industry and member needs. Part of B05’s look toward the future includes creating a specific plan for how to manage the issue of when and where to use SI (metric) units in its standards.\

The teacher in me edits an article such as this and wants to alert all ASTM members to read it for its real-world examples of how to plan ahead and make the challenging task of standards development a little easier and more predictable for its members, even amid the healthy contention that marks most committee meetings. As we’ve been exploring the work this year of technical committees that have long and successful histories within ASTM, Boes’ article is a potent reminder of just how it is that committees maintain and keep a high level of member commitment to their standards development and relevance in the outcome of these efforts.

Maryann Gorman
Editor in Chief

Copyright 2004, ASTM International