Sunday, November 11, 2007

Power to the People, SOA Style

Guerrilla SOA advocate, Jim Webber comments, "One by one your services will be stripped from the clutches of enterprise architecture and governance teams and returned to the (business) people."

Enterprise architecture is responsible for creating SOA principles, methods, policies and infrastructure. They do this to ENABLE project teams, not to OWN the services. Often EA will work with 'zone architects' to help identify conceptual services so that the 'just build it guys' don't recreate stuff that already exists. I'm not sure where Jim got the idea that EA owns the services... perhaps that is common in Europe?

What I don't like about Jim's comments is the "us against them" mentality that he is provoking. Is EA an evil organization plotting to destroy the business? The enterprise architects that I work with know that there is no way that they could "own" the thousands of services in a large Enterprise. However, it is common for EA to champion "enterprise services" like customer and product. I think that Marty Brodbeck of Pfizer clearly demonstrated the need for creating a certain set of Master Services when he described the relationship between SOA and MDM at the InfoWorld conference.

Someone asked me if I disliked 'Guerrilla SOA' and I told them, "I have no idea if I like it or dislike it because it has no shape or form. Right now it's just a funny name to a concept that implies applying agile principles to SOA." I'd suggest that the advocates put some additional thought around the concept.

Jim Webber didn't refer to his concept as 'Chaotic SOA'. This implies that there are rules. However, I have no idea what they are. My guess is that Guerrilla SOA will end up looking much more like Enterprise SOA than Chaotic SOA.

Obviously we can't just yell, "power to the people!", although it sounds cool and is a lot easier than thinking it through :-)

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