RFC Meaning Best Explained in 2 Minutes

Learn more about RFC meaning in IT and project management in this guide

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If you are looking for rfc meaning, you are in the right place. There are many acronyms that map to RFC, but in IT – and in project management – an RFC is a Request for Comments, a special type of document. Let’s dive into the rfc meaning in this article.

RFC Meaning

We can start with a simple and broad RFC meaning before explaining all the details.

An RFC is a Request for Comments, a document that someone publishes somewhere asking peers to review it and add comments. Indeed, he is requesting for comments.

As simple as that. Now, why would someone publish a document and ask peers to comment? That is because the document presents a new idea, process, strategy, or in general something new that you want to have a reality check on. In other words, an RFC is a document with the implicit ask “This is my idea, what do you think about this?”.

Often, the RFC meaning applies to an engineering context
RFC are typical in engineering contets.

Now, this may seem trivial, but RFCs are a type of document common in engineering, and especially in IT. This is because they are perfect to discuss technical and scientific ideas, rather than artistic ideas. A written document is perfect to articulate complex technical concepts, and provide the data in a way that everyone can review it. Then, people can post their written comments so that the author can review them and integrate in the original proposal. Overall, we can say that an RFC is a process to improve a technical idea.

RFC Meaning in IT

In Information Technology, RFC is still a Request for Comments. Yet, we often implicitly refer to one created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) or Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Those are RFCs made publicly available online that describe electronics and telecommunication protocols and technologies. For example, BGP is a technology Internet providers use to communicate with each other, and it is described in RFC 4271 (among others that update it).

The idea is that other engineers from those engineering groups (IETF, IEEE) will chime in and help improve the technical idea. In fact, most RFCs get extended over time, updated, or even supplanted by new – better – ones.

Some are more philosophical, like the RFC 1925 “The Twelve Networking Truths” that contains things like:

With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. However, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Others are even created ad-hoc for April fool’s day. Even those contain technically viable solutions, but that are not economically feasible or make no sense to implement. There is a list on Wikipedia about all those RFCs. For example, RFC 9225 is suggesting that not having bug in software is a best practice and that people who implement bugs should stop to do that. Yes, of course it is a best practice, so the RFC is technically true. The point is that bugs are introduced in software by error, nobody is introducing them on purpose!

RFC Meaning in Project Management (and its usage)

Even in project management, the meaning of RFC does not change: it is a request for comments, a document where people ask peers to review it and comment it. But if you are a project manager and you are not using RFCs, I encourage you to try them out because they bring your projects to a whole new level.

In most companies, project managers have visibility into schedule (and possibly budget) of various programs and projects. They often keep some files or trackers to ensure everything is falling in place, but when they have to convey this information to the public they do so via email or presentations.

The RFC meaning in project management is Request for Comments
RFCs can be useful to manage technical projects.

The power of RFCs comes from having all that information in writing so that everyone can review it and post comments. Since it is in writing, you can’t back off with “I didn’t say that”, and in general the whole process is much more transparent. This transparency enables the best ideas and approaches to come to life, overall delivering better results for your project.

If you are interested in using RFCs in your project, starting is simple. Write a document, then have a meeting where everyone reviews it and writes down some comments, in silence. After everyone read the document, have a discussion on that, and then spin off clear action items.

RFC in Brief

In short, an RFC is a comment where a technical expert asks for comments on how to improve the content of the document. It is a mechanism to come up with better technical ideas, and it stands for Request for Comments. RFCs are one of the greatest tools a PM can use, such as RACI matrices.

Picture of Alessandro Maggio

Alessandro Maggio

Project manager, critical-thinker, passionate about networking & coding. I believe that time is the most precious resource we have, and that technology can help us not to waste it. I founded ICTShore.com with the same principle: I share what I learn so that you get value from it faster than I did.
Picture of Alessandro Maggio

Alessandro Maggio

Project manager, critical-thinker, passionate about networking & coding. I believe that time is the most precious resource we have, and that technology can help us not to waste it. I founded ICTShore.com with the same principle: I share what I learn so that you get value from it faster than I did.

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Alessandro Maggio

2023-06-01T16:30:00+00:00

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