Governance: SOA starts -- and ends -- here

Heavy-handed governance hurts, not helps, SOA

I want to say congratulations to Todd Biske, whose book, titled SOA Governance, has just become available (official release date: October). I'm sure Todd spent many long hours putting the work together, and it's great to see he has put his writings into book form.

Heavy-handed governance hurts, not helps, SOA

I haven't had a chance to read Todd's book yet, but he provides a sneak preview in a recent blog post, noting how everyone talks about SOA governance, but no one seems to know how to get started with it. "This isn’t a surprise, because organizations at this point are now facing the need to change head-on," he says.

Organizational consensus -- not heavy-handed enforcement -- will deliver SOA success, Todd says. The problem, he explains, is that organizations want projects churned out ASAP, so the natural reflex is to try to clamp down or lock out services or code that don't meet criteria. But it's better to be able to effect changes in behavior around SOA projects than trying to enforce policies as services work their way into the enterprise registry.

"If you’re looking for a place to start, my recommendation is not to focus on enforcement. My recommendation is to define the behavior you’d like to see out of your organization, the policies that will help guide that behavior, and then focus first on education of the organization on those items. If your staff is better educated on the outcomes the organization wants to achieve, they’re more likely to comply with the policies that will lead to that behavior, lessening the need for strong enforcement."

Take the govern out of governance -- work closely with business units to move SOA forward. Todd, as always, is spot on. I look forward to learning more from his book, and will be sharing details here at this blogsite.

On Wednesday, I will be diving into the SOA governance debate, leading a panel discussion on SOA governance with a stellar lineup of experts, including: David Bressler of Progress Software, Ed Horst of AmberPoint, Ann Thomas Manes of Burton Group, Frank Martinez of SOA Software, John Michelsen of iTKO, and Ron Schmelzer of ZapThink.

Topics to be discussed include the question of whether SOA governance is a part of overall IT governance, and who in the organization should be responsible for SOA governance. We will also tackle the role of ITIL, and what is working for successful organizations implementing SOA. This discussion will be part of ebizQ's  one-day virtual conference, titled SOA Governance, scheduled live for September 24th. (Archived replays will also be available anytime after that.)