In a recent commentary, Grady Booch, an IBM Fellow and software architect's architect, says the failure of the FBI's multi-million-dollar Virtual Case File project provides a lesson that extends to all big-budget projects. The issue is that such projects try to do too much in one big bang.
This should give pause for those now planning to go to management to secure funding for ever-growing SOA projects.
It's a cultural challenge, both in corporate and national culture. Typically, many projects instigated in western culture start from the top down, Booch relates. "In the West, you start from the general and go to the specific. A Hitchcock movie might start off with a panorama of the city, and then a house, and then the stairway inside. If you're a Japanese filmmaker, you might start with the railing on the stairway."
"For the software architects who read this blog: do you tend to start with the city or the railing?" Booch asks.
One of the compelling aspects of the Web services into SOA vision is that any Web services built or deployed can form the eventual building blocks for SOA. Web services components can be developed, experimented with, and reused. Because they are built on standards, these components can eventually be assembled into a larger architecture.
Web services are the "railings." SOA is the "city."