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Standards Training for Federal Agencies in March 2018

Fundamentals of Standards for Federal Agencies

March 8, 2018 ( Washington, DC )

THIS MARCH 8 EVENT IS FULL. If you would like to register for this event, you will be placed on a waiting list. 

Registration: 8:30 am
Workshop: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Location: The American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006

Hosted by the NIST Standards Coordination Office

Government Audience Only 

On Thursday, March 8, 2018, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Standards Coordination Office (SCO), will sponsor a full-day workshop on the Fundamentals of Standards for Federal Agencies. The primary goals of this 8th annual event are to deepen and expand participant understanding and knowledge in these areas and to provide an interactive forum for federal agency staff. As standards have become an increasingly vital component of many federal agency programs, the need for discussion on important topics in federal standards setting and use continues to grow. This workshop is designed for staff from all agencies engaged in standards policy, participation, and use to:

  • learn from experts in the standards community on the basics of standards and the scope and implementation of the various policies and guidance documents that frame federal engagement in standards setting; and
  • understand some of the many dimensions of standards development, including how knowledge of the attributes of a standards development process can enable agency decision making and use of standards and how diverse standards development organizations create standards for different purposes.

Topics will include: 

  • A brief history of standardization, the basics of documentary standards and how standards are developed, the U.S. and international standards systems, and key players in the standards development community
  • The laws, regulations, and guidance that collectively direct Federal agency standards participation and use, including the Federal Government's roles and responsibilities under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) and the recently revised OMB Circular No. A-119, Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities
  • Standards in regulation
  • Advice from the Front Line – a panel of experts will discuss lessons learned along the road to success in documentary standards or what I wish I had known
  • A discussion on federal agency considerations for choosing and using standards

Please view the agenda below for more details.

Come to learn and contribute to an engaging discussion on the role of federal agencies in the standards community. There is no cost to attend, but advance registration is required by Friday, February 16. This workshop is open to government agency personnel only. For more information, please contact Patrice Boulanger (patrice.boulanger [at] (patrice[dot]boulanger[at]nist[dot]gov); 301.975.3882) or Mary Jo DiBernardo (maryjo.dibernardo [at] (maryjo[dot]dibernardo[at]nist[dot]gov); 301.975.5503).

Register for the March 8 training 

Agenda for the March 8 training


Setting Standards: A Simulation Exercise in Strategy and Cooperation in Standardization Processes

March 22, 2018 (Washington, DC )

THIS MARCH 22 EVENT IS FULL. If you would like to register for this event, you will be placed on a waiting list. 

Registration:  8:30 am
Simulation:  9:00 am-4:30 pm
Location: U.S. Access Board, 1331 F St., NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004

Government Audience Only 

Setting Standards: A Simulation Exercise in Strategy and Cooperation in Standardization Processes is a fictional, but life-like exercise that focuses on the opportunities and challenges in standards setting and explores the analytical and practical skills needed to successfully engage in standards negotiations.

Established game-developer United Knowledge created "Setting Standards" in response to the growing demand for interactive, realistic, and exciting learning environments for standards education. This one-day simulation will engage participants in the politics and mechanics of standards development and negotiation.  It is an excellent skill-builder for newcomers, as well as anyone already participating in standards development activities at the national or international level.  No specific technical or standardization knowledge is required.

Under the guidance of an expert facilitator, Arjan Widlak, founder and CEO of United Knowledge, participants negotiate a standard for a fictional next generation technology and simulate a real standardization process through role-playing. Afterwards, participants evaluate and reflect on their experiences, focusing on lessons for real-life standards setting activities.

The simulation is a game, but it is "serious fun".  It is designed to be dynamic, demanding, and even frustrating – just like real life!

There is no fee to attend, but participants must register in advance no later than Wednesday, March 14. To register please see the link below. Participants must arrive on time and stay for the entire exercise, as the simulation depends on each and every role.  Space is limited to 27 people. Once the class fills we will begin a waitlist.

Past participants have given this event high marks! Recent surveys included the following comments:

"Great training technique to demonstrate real world challenges and strategies to reach consensus through negotiation. Doing is much more effective in this case than lecturing."

"Provides a true-to-life feeling of what happens in standards committees"

"Great chance to get hands on experience in a real world setting."

"The simulation was very engaging."

"Having specific roles to play in the simulation made it more realistic. The simulation itself was extremely well-designed."

"Very useful and fun to play"

Register for the March 22 training 


Standards Coordination Office Contacts:

Mary Jo DiBernardo – 301.975.5503; maryjo.dibernardo [at] (maryjo[dot]dibernardo[at]nist[dot]gov)

Patrice Boulanger – 301.975.3882; patrice.boulanger [at] (patrice[dot]boulanger[at]nist[dot]gov)


AGENDA for Fundamentals of Standards for Federal Agencies - Part I 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hosted by
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Standards Coordination Office (SCO)

American Institute of Architects
1735 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006

8:30 am to 9:00 am

9:00 am to 9:45 am
Welcome and Introduction to the Workshop and to NIST’s Standards Coordination Office
A brief overview of NIST Standards Coordination Office (SCO) and how SCO serves as a resource for the unique needs of federal agencies.  
Warren Merkel, Chief, Standards Services, SCO, NIST

What is NIST?
NIST solves science and technology problems today so that U.S. industry and science can produce the improved products, services, and technologies of tomorrow. From the smart electric power grid and electronic health records to atomic clocks, advanced nanomaterials, and computer chips, innumerable products and services rely in some way on technology, measurement, and standards provided by NIST.
A Short Video Presentation

9:45 am to 10:30 am
Why Do We Need Standards? 
Includes an overview of the history of standardization and health, safety, environmental, and economic considerations over time.
Clare Allocca, Senior Advisor for Standardization, SCO, NIST

10:30 am to 10:45 am

10:45 am to 11:30 am
Documentary Standards 101
This talk will focus on the fundamentals of documentary standards, the different types of standards, and the role of standards in regulation. 
Lisa Carnahan, Computer Scientist, SCO, NIST

11:30 am to 12:00 pm
Current Federal Policy on Standards 
A review of the laws, regulations and guidance that collectively direct Federal agencies to participate in the development of voluntary consensus standards and to use nongovernment standards, whenever possible, to carry out policy objectives and meet their agency’s missions.
David Alderman, Physical Scientist, SCO, NIST

Participants may wish to review OMB Circular A-119 - Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities prior to the workshop. Please see

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Lunch Break (on your own)

1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Standards Development 101
Through an interactive exercise and discussion, learn the basics of standards development and how you can be a more effective participant and leader in standards setting. 
Jennifer Marshall, Program Manager, SCO, NIST
Cassy Robinson, Program Manager, SCO, NIST

2:30 pm to 2:45 pm

2:45 pm to 3:45 pm
Advice from the Front Line: Lessons Learned Along the Road to Success in Documentary Standards … or What I Wish I Had Known
A panel of leading thinkers and do-ers in standardization will discuss their work in standards development today and over the years and reflect on why it is important to their agency, the United States, and globally to maintain a robust standards engagement.

Warren Merkel, Chief, Standards Services, SCO, NIST

Roger Butturini, Technical Advisor, Office of Standards Evaluation and Development, U.S. Coast Guard
Michael Hogan, Standards Liaison, Information Technology Laboratory, NIST
Chris Thompson, Branch Chief, Dairy Standardization Branch, Dairy Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), U.S. Department of Agriculture

3:45 pm to 4:15 pm
Choosing and Using Standards: A discussion on attributes of standards and standards development processes for federal agency consideration in the context of carrying out their mission in determining if a standard(s) is “fit for purpose.”
Gordon Gillerman, Director, SCO, NIST

4:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Q&A and Closing Remarks
Warren Merkel, Chief, Standards Services, SCO, NIST




Created January 17, 2018, Updated November 15, 2019