Strategic Plan of the XML Working Group
June 6, 2003 Update
Previous Versions at
Under Objective 2.2, Initiative 3, of the CIO Council's Strategic Plan, the XML Working Group was charged with developing an online information resource (at defining and documenting an evolving strategy and a set of tasks for the effective and well-coordinated usage of eXtensible Markup Language (XML) to support governmental functions.  The initial deadline for this task was September 30, 2001.  (The CIO Council's Plan was formerly available at  Please note the following conditions and constraints:
  • In recognition of the relatively new and dynamic nature of the technology, we were asked to develop an "evolving" strategy.  Beyond the initial iteration of the plan and set of tasks, no further deadlines have been specified nor is "completion" of the plan contemplated in the sense that no further changes can be anticipated.
  • Our strategy is to be defined and documented at  Our Web site is both the embodiment of our strategic plan as well as a primary means of implementing it.  All of our significant accomplishments should be documented on the site, meaning that it also constitutes a record by which to assess the results we have achieved.
  • There are no qualifications for participation in the Working Group nor any mandate for anyone to do so.
  • The financial resources available to the Working Group are quite limited.  We are largely reliant upon GSA for financial support.  Funding for the XML Registry has been included in GSA's budget for FY 2004.
  • We are not a policy-making body nor were we initially chartered to take on operational responsibilities.
  • In our revised charter, the CIO Council's Architecture and Infrastructure Committee (AIC) has instructed us to take a more operational orientation, in the sense of identifying specific project/task deliverables.
  • However, it remains to be seen how such potential projects and tasks will be prioritized, as well as whether resources will be provided to carry them out.  Thus, far funding provided through the CIO Council has been quite limited, and while OMB has invited agencies to cosponsor the XML registry, only one (NASA) has thus far chosen to do so.
  • The AIC's Emerging Technologies Subcommittee has been charged with developing a process whereby the intormation technology innovation life-cycle can be effectively managed on a Governmentwide basis.  Depending upon how that process shapes up and is implemented, it may become the driving force by which our priorities are determined and supported.
  • In accordance with OMB Circulars A-76 and A-119, whenever possible, agencies should use voluntary consensus standards developed in partnership with commerce and industry.
  • XML is a means to an end, not an end unto itself.
  • Our strategic activities should support the policy initiatives of the Administration, including for example the Citizen-Centered eGovernment Action Plan and OMB's information quality guidelines.
  • Our extended and revised charter expires on September 30, 2004.  We should not assume that it will be extended and should scope our objectives accordingly, while at the same time considering how best to facilitate necessary followup and further value-additive activities that may be warranted beyond that date. [Note: Although this plan has not been updated, our charter has been extended to November 30, 2008.]
As outlined in our charter, our mission is "to accelerate, facilitate and catalyze the effective and appropriate implementation of XML technology in the information systems and planning of the Federal Government."  More specifically, we have been charged with pursuing:
  1. XML Best Practices and Recommended Standards
  2. Partnerships with Key Industry and Public Groups Developing XML Standards and Specifications
  3. Partnerships with Governmental Communities of Interest to Accelerate the Delivery of XML Benefits
  4. Results-Oriented Education and Outreach
  5. Projects and Products Benefiting Stakeholders of Multiple Agencies
As time, commitments, and resources allow, we will identify explicit tasks, deadlines, and performance measures.  (See especially our draft XML Developers Guide and particularly our Registries page, which documents progress on our primary deliverable.)  However, the results will only be as good as the contributions received from our participants and stakeholders, including you!  See our Announcement and Call for Participation.  Since every page of our site contains a mailto link for comments and suggestions, you have no one to blame but yourself if you are not satisfied with what you find here.

See also our Site Map and Completed Documents, particularly Brian Hopkins' strategy discussion notes, Scott Hoffman's best practices, and LMI's recommendations for getting started with XML.