Future Directions Handbook

Organization Structure, Roles, and Responsibilities

This section outlines the organizational structure and level of commitment required for an IEEE Volunteer to be actively involved in or lead (Chair) an IEEE Initiative or Track. Anyone unable to demonstrate this required level of activity and support of an IEEE Initiative will not be able to serve on a Steering Committee.

To be successful and sustainable, IEEE Initiatives need willing and dedicated volunteers to actively chair tracks or take ownership of projects to help drive, develop and deliver specific tasks relating to those tracks. Being “actively” involved requires demonstrable action, not only joining a committee or participating in conference calls, but also owning, contributing to, and delivering on commitments. Active participation also includes supporting fellow Steering Committee members and providing positive reinforcement, not criticizing other members’ efforts to accomplish something that will further the Initiative.

These activities include a wide range of roles and responsibilities including but not limited to planning meetings and conferences, developing newsletters and serving on an editorial board, creating web pages, managing and hosting educational webinars, devising and executing marketing strategies, writing articles, managing social media groups, giving presentations, or acting as liaisons to IEEE OUs (i.e. MGA) or non-IEEE professional organizations with related interests to explore potential collaborations.

Active involvement in an IEEE Initiative Track or Steering Committee requires interaction and two-way communication. As a cross-IEEE, multidisciplinary effort, Volunteers are required to support the Initiative from a holistic view by delivering what is best for the Initiative as a whole, not to the benefit of an individual, OU, or Society only.

Organization Structure

  • Each IEEE Initiative is led by a volunteer serving as the Chair or in some cases led by two volunteers who serve as Co-Chairs. Initiative Chairs are required to recruit Track Chairs and Steering Committee members; they help set the vision and the mission of the Initiative and ensure continual progress is made
  • Each IEEE Initiative involves a variety of Tracks, for example Conferences, Education, Publications, Standards, etc. for which a Chair and active members are needed
  • Track Chairs play an essential role as they are the core of each IEEE Initiative. Track Chairs are required to recruit members to serve on the Tracks
  • Steering Committee members must play an active role to help grow and progress the Initiative. It involves taking ownership of an activity and delivering results that help achieve the overall goals of the Initiative. It is not acceptable to just attend Steering Committee calls or meetings. Members of an Initiative Steering Committee must be members of, or officially involved in an IEEE OU – representing a Region/Section, a Society, etc.

Responsibilities and Deliverables

IEEE Volunteers who sign up for an active role on an IEEE Initiative Track or Steering Committee must commit to attending at least 75% of all Steering Committee calls/meetings.

Each IEEE Initiative Track Chair must develop a plan to present to the Steering Committee, outlining deadlines, deliverables, resources, budget requirements and metrics.

On a quarterly basis, each IEEE Initiative Track Chair must deliver a PowerPoint presentation consisting for at least 1-2 slides, outlining the Tracks’ progress and what it has helped the overall Initiative achieve, including proof points, metrics, etc. In addition, any expenses incurred due to be reimbursed must be submitted in a timely fashion.

All Track Chairs are required to recruit members of their Track. Activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Products and Services
  • Publications
    • Launch Newsletter, Magazine, Journal, News Bulletin
    • Select Xplore articles that will be made available each month and write the summary/introduction
  • Education
    • Develop educational modules:
      • eLearning
      • Distinguished Lecturer Workshops
      • MOOCs
      • Tutorials
      • Webinars
  • Conferences Track
    • Launch [the flagship] conference and hold it each subsequent year
    • Identify other IEEE and non-IEEE conferences for participation
    • Determine how to participate – speaker, panel, workshop, sponsor, exhibitor, etc.
    • Recruit volunteers to speak, staff booth/exhibit
  • Content Development and Community Building (or Digital Presence and Marketing/Communications)
  • Launch and maintain portal
  • Determine meaningful topics of interest to industry practitioners and IEEE experts on those topics to be interviewed for Q&As, video interviews and media articles/columns/blogs
  • Identify topics and presenters for webinars, Google Hangouts and LinkedIn AMAs (Ask Me Anything) sessions
  • Actively own and lead/manage the social media presence and grow the community
  • Ensure pipeline of content for regular Web Portal with regular schedule for new web content
  • Standards
    • Determine relevant IEEE standards and standards development work underway
    • Ensure promotion of IEEE standards and standards development projects
    • Provide regular updates to Steering Committee
    • Identify non-IEEE standards development organizations and standards-related consortia and engage or monitor accordingly
  • Outreach committee
    • As there are other organization and consortiums out there, we have an Outreach committee responsible to understand them and recommend the right approach to work with them and not duplicate what they have done.
    • These other organizations may be other IEEE OUs or non-IEEE professional organizations with related interests

Leading an IEEE Initiative Steering Committee

Leading an initiative Steering Committee involves passion, commitment and time, as it requires keeping the initiative and the deliverables on track. Having a vision for the Initiative and wanting to see it grow and succeed for future sustainability are key factors. A volunteer chair plays a CEO role and helps set direction through goals and objectives, and foster collaboration. An IEEE Volunteer Chair is responsible for forming a committee of actively involved members who are willing to commit to accept responsibility for managing tasks and delivering what is required to further the Initiative. As the leader, the IEEE Volunteer Chair is responsible for the success of the Initiative and must ensure progress is made, by making committee members accountable for the deliverables assigned to them. The IEEE Chair must be prepared to make difficult decisions for the good of the Initiative, which may involve replacing under-performing committee members. Ideally, two chairs lead the IEEE Steering Committee so as to insure proper time allocation and commitment.  It is also acceptable to have more than two co-chairs to help share the responsibilities.

Being a Member of an IEEE Steering Committee

IEEE Volunteer Steering Committee Members are the lifeblood of IEEE Initiatives as they get things done and keep the Initiative moving forward. Each person is responsible for contributing something concrete to the Initiative – beyond just ideas. It’s a partnership and everyone on the IEEE Initiative Steering Committee has an important part to play, which involves delivering a tangible “product” or an aspect of a project such as a conference, content for a web portal, a newsletter article, etc. Steering Committee members may be asked to vote on critical issues that impact on the direction of the initiative. They are expected to act as advocates of the initiative vis-à-vis their Society/Council/OU, for example in promoting the initiative on their S/C/OU web site. It is extremely important that IEEE Steering Committee Members participate in all calls and meetings. If active IEEE Members miss more than 25% of calls or meetings may be asked to leave the Steering Committee.

Volunteers must be available and able to take on responsibilities that they can see through to completion. This means committing to ownership, execution and delivery of a required action by an agreed upon deadline to further the Initiative. Ideas generation is important, but turning those ideas into deliverables is even more critical to the success of any IEEE Initiative. Volunteers must also commit the time to attend IEEE Initiative Steering Committee calls and meetings, and volunteer to lead or participate in an activity that will help further the Initiative.

Having a blend of senior and junior members on the steering committee provides a good balance to accomplish goals.  Senior members provide leadership and guidance for the overall direction of an activity/deliverable, and junior members are likely to have the time to devote to performing the needed tasks to further the activity/deliverable.

It is also important to have a mix of academia, industry, and government members on the steering committee.  IEEE traditionally has strong support from the academia and research institutions.  As initiatives center around emerging technologies, industry leadership and presence to guide the growth of the initiative and bring new members to the IEEE community is critical to sustainability of the initiative after it graduates.

Role of IEEE Staff

The primary role of the IEEE staff on the initiative is to support the volunteers in the various endeavors, including:

  • Structure the initiative organization
  • Assist in engaging volunteers to fill the various positions
  • Develop and manage the budget
  • Program manage all aspects of the initiative
  • Develop KPIs where appropriate to measure how effectively an assigned task is achieving key objectives
  • Provide timely updates to the FDC
  • Demonstrate collaboration across IEEE
  • Arrange and leading meeting and conference calls as needed.
  • Develop presentations and promotional material as needed.

Maintaining an open and consistent communication between the IEEE program manager and the initiative chair is vital to the success of the initiative.  

Intellectual Property and Passwords

IEEE retains all ownership of any IP (Intellectual Property) and content developed as part of an IEEE Initiative and/or Track. All IP and content will reside on an IEEE network, be hosted on an IEEE server or stored in an IEEE database, etc. All IEEE Initiative Steering Committee Members must agree to adhere to these requirements to ensure the integrity of the IP and how it is used. In addition, any mailings conducted on behalf of an IEEE Initiative must be executed by an IEEE staff member or authorized Volunteer, and comply with the IEEE Masterbrand and sub-brand guidelines.

All passwords and usernames for IEEE social media sites or groups established by an IEEE Volunteer must be shared with and management authorization given to IEEE Initiative program managers/staff leads to protect IEEE and the Volunteers.