Borland's release today of its Lifecycle Quality Management (LQM) initiative demonstrates the depth to which quality assurance can be applied to the entire applications design process, but with special emphasis in the requirements phase.
After all, quality is not just about the code, it's about quality of process, methodology, and of getting the definitions right about what it is you're actually building early and often. It's also about quality of team and organization.
And so while this all makes perfect sense -- albeit easier said that done -- for current applications in development, it strikes me that this emphasis on total quality becomes not just essential but absolutely critical as SOA emerges within an organization and reshapes how IT works.
The more independent an application service, the more opportunity for the use of that service in hard-to-predict circumstances. By encouraging innovative use of business application services, you also invite unintended consequences in performance, reliability, and reuse. Best to fully define, build, test, retest, and monitor that service puppy before opening the kennel door to let it run wild.
Also, if IT departments morph into service bureaus inside of enterprises, where they shift from a cost center to a core enabling and differentiating foundation, then their quality of service as a critical business function needs to improve. All the Deming revolution talk of the past 60 years is now making its way into IT. Has to.
So quality with Web services and SOA can make or break the performance and reliability of the component services, may even color the perceptions of IT in general. And therefore quality needs to happen right from the start, not as a late-stage activity, lest the architects and business analysts detect that services cannot be trusted on par with monolithic applications.
A temptation to avoid services would stifle the SOA adoption curve, deter reuse, and slash the SOA ROI. Not the way to distribute SOA broadly.
So while Borland is not speaking too loudly of the SOA implications of its latest releases, it's clear to me -- Borland is targeting SOA quality assurance (as a necessary precursor and ingredient to SOA governance). Becoming the designated best-of-breed overlay for quality assurance in the design time process of SOA services definition and execution, not a bad place to be.
Disclosure: Borland is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.