Saturday, June 14, 2008

2008-06-14 SOA Governance vs. Business Agility

Recently I've been doing some heavy research on SOA technology, best practices, design patterns, etc.

It seems to me that there is an inherent conflict between what some pundits claim are essential practices for SOA Governance - and the core business driver of organizational agility.

Forcing every service through a Governance Committee Review process - before it can be deployed to production - is probably one draconian extreme.

Allowing any application development team to publish any service end-point without being vetted is probably the other extreme.

The level of maturity (or lack thereof) of the Registry/Repository products that I have reviewed is laughable. I would sincerely like to know of one single organization that has actually implemented non-trivial SOA Governance policies in their Registry/Repository mechanism - using the features provide by a vendor's core product capabilities.

Whether you do a Top-Down SOA design, a Bottom-Up, or work up/down from the middle, it seems to me that you are going to have pain. Either as a product of the upfront analysis effort (causing delays before your SOA efforts produce any measurable ROI), or as a product of the chaos created by hordes of poorly designed services sprouting like wild flowers across the enterprise.

Draconion SOA Governance processes may mitigate some of the pain - but at the cost of organizational agility.

The Noble Truth of Suffering is this: Birth is suffering, ageing is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering; sorrows and lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the unpleasant is suffering, dissociation from the pleasant is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering – in short, the five aggregates of attachment are suffering.
Pali Tripitaka, Buddhist collection of sacred texts, Sutta-Nipata
(source)


In harmony with my natural tendency to follow Buddhist and Taoist practices, I have chosen to lead my current SOA project down the middle path. We will embrace business agility as a First Principle, and leverage a custom-built SOA Governance Metrics Reporting subsystem to help us monitor the usage of services across the enterprise.

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