SOA Governance Is Not a Documentation Exercise

Following is an excerpt from an excellent article by Mervin Chiang which highlights the fact that SOA Governance is not a massive undertaking as some organizations perceive it to be:

Responses to the question "What are we doing about SOA governance?" vary. Some try to dodge the question. Others offer a fuzzy explanation that something is being done, and mumble something about managing services in an Excel spreadsheet.

So what is SOA governance? Do organizations really need it at all? If the answer is yes, where should you start? SOA governance doesn't have to be a massive undertaking. This article will walk you through this mysterious topic of SOA governance, its importance, and how to get started.

Architecture is the "A" in SOA. The term architecture carries ominous implications. But a significant part of governing Service-Oriented Architecture boils down to a matter of service management.

Why manage services?

At the start of this paper, we alluded to the fuzziness of people's understanding of SOA governance. When the issue of SOA governance is raised, one common response is, "We're just starting out and have only two dozen services. Do we need this?" Another response is, "This is only our first SOA project. Let's first see how it goes."

These responses imply that the organizations in question equate SOA governance with the thick manual that comes with a digital camera. How often do we refer to these manuals after we open the box? There may be some complex functionality on the camera that you want to explore, but you avoid the manual.

Let's consider two scenarios:

Your SOA project team goes away on a group holiday and their bus rolls off a cliff. How much information have you lost? How fast can you start the project again with a new team?
You have to revisit this same SOA project area again in two years. How much can you reuse? Can you truly achieve agility here?
Speed, reusability, and agility are the top three promised outcomes of SOA. Speed can be realized quite easily in this technology. But how can you ensure reusability and agility?

I'd like to propose the notion that simply considering and applying basic SOA governance, or service management, can go a long way.

Read the complete original article

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