Enterprise Initiatives

This blog focuses on Enterprise IT topics such as Enterprise Architecture, Portfolio Management, Change Management, Business Process Management, and recaps various technology events and news.

I attended Zapthink's Practical SOA event on Tuesday in New Jersey. There were many great presentations from both vendors and practitioners. There were three different case studies presented including mine which was on selling SOA to the Business (the video will be posted soon). What was interesting to me was the three different paths the companies in these case studies took. The first case study was from The Hartford. They have a well established governance model and are very far along into the maturity model. If you read a text book on what SOA governance should look like, it will look like the Hartford. They have their processes so buttoned up that they even tie developers' annual review process to how they adhere to Hartford's best practices in reusability. A key take away is the fact that this took several years and a firm commitment from their leadership team to put this in place.

The second case study was from Lehman Brothers which was implemented in a totally different fashion. In this scenario, the governing body had very little control and power over the distributed development groups. So instead of just giving in and giving up, they took a different approach. They leveraged tools and some custom code to discover web services and usage of services in the repository. They would receive a page anytime a new service was discovered. Then they would study the service to see if it was constructed the proper way. If there were opportunities for improvement, the governance team would engage in conversations with the service owners to coach and mentor them on the proper design and deployment of their services.

In my scenario, we have a totally different story. Because we were so successful in selling the business on BPM and SOA, they funded the initiative and targeted very aggressive delivery dates for key functionality. That did not leave us enough time to plan and implement a governance model. So we are establishing a road map for delivering governance one step at a time. We understand the risks of not having enough governance up front and expect some headaches along the way, but the business was not going to wait a year for us to put those processes in place.

So theory and text books say that you must start with governance. The reality is you evolve governance over time. I highly recommend attending these Practical SOA conferences if you get a chance. I jokingly refer to it as group therapy because we are all sharing our lessons learned.
If you missed the conference, there are two more scheduled. The next one is in London on April 25 and the last one is in Las Vegas on May 16. I also highly recommend the LZA SOA Bootcamp which I recapped a while back. Ron at Zapthink told me that they are targeting May 5-8 in New Jersey for the next boot camp if they get enough people interested in it. Send Ron an email at info@zapthink.com if you want to attend.


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"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there"

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