Thursday, July 20, 2006

Practical AgileSOA - Getting some governance started

As developers get started with building services, they will gather invaluable experience on how to develop SO applications within the context of their organization. This experience, plus best practices and emerging standards, need o be captured and chronicled. An internal group, overtly supported by executive management, needs to be created to become the Service Competency Center (SCC).

The mission of this group is not to dictate, but to facilitate. They are the SOA body of knowledge (the SOA-BOK, if you will) and they are responsible for getting the early trappings of an SOA infrastructure started. They are also responsible for informing development teams about the virtues and drawbacks of SO AD, via workshops, internal seminars and intranet forums.

The SCC must position itself to detect, analyze and propose to resolve organizational constraints for a true, firm wide SOA to flourish. One of these constraints is inter-departmental priority conflict. Others are incorrect technological assumptions and general resistance to change.

The SCC must emit an atmosphere of enablement, of inclusion. To that effect, an SOA "social worker" may be very useful. Such an individual would visit with groups attempting to embrace SOA and work with them to overcome any obstacles, technical or organizational.

This is a departure from the traditional Technology evangelist concept, which has historically been met with skepticism and suspicion.

The SCC needs to minimally advocate an incremental approach to SOA, and optimally promote Agile practices to the full extent possible. Individuals and teams are generally overwhelmed by large enterprise IT projects and feel lost, out of touch or simply left in the dark. The continuous feedback channels promoted by Agile, plus the transparency of progress and resource use will greatly improve developers' sense of accomplishment.
This in turn will create buy-in and eventually commitment.

Finally, the SCC must keep executive management with their eye on the prize. There must be unwavering executive support for the SOA endeavor. The SCC can accomplish this similarly by setting small, short-term goals, providing transparency, measure visible progress and hitting these goals consistently.

That will instill the trust of the execs and keep their attention.

Next post: Making the transformation stick


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