Simply put, a standard is an agreed-upon way of doing something. In practice, it is a document that sets specific guidelines for the design, operation, manufacture, and use of nearly everything produced by mankind. There are standards to protect human health, safety, and the environment, and others to ensure that different products work compatibly together. Developed by groups of engineers and other experts, voluntary standards are the result of cooperation between technical professionals, companies, industry groups, and government and consumer representatives. They represent the combined expertise of those who have a stake in the technology, working to agree upon requirements and best practices. Standards are published by organizations that are most relevant to their fields of research and activity.