IETF Working Groups (WGs) are the primary mechanism for development of IETF specifications and guidelines, many of which are intended to be standards or recommendations.
Working Groups are typically created to address a specific problem or to produce one or more specific deliverables (a guideline, standards specification, etc.). Working Groups are generally expected to be short-lived in nature. Upon completion of its goals and achievement of its objectives, the Working Group is terminated. Each Working Group has a charter. WG charters state the scope of work for group, and lay out goals and milestones that show how this work will be completed.
Working Groups conduct much of their work over email lists. All WG email lists are open subscription and posting, although most lists moderate posts from non-subscribers. To get involved with a working group, subscribe to the working group's email list.
Working Group Chairs
Working Groups also have one or more Chairs (usually two) to perform the administrative functions of the group. Chairs are appointed by the responsible Area Directors and serve at their discretion.
Working Group Formation
Before a working group is formed, an Area Director may require that the parties interested in forming the working group schedule a Birds of a Feather (BOF) session at an IETF meeting in order to gauge the level of support for the proposed working group.