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Book Review: Brown, Laird, Gee, Mitra: SOA Governance

Inadequate governance might be the most widespread root cause of SOA failures. A new SOA governance book entitled SOA Governance:Achieving and Sustaining Business and IT Agility by Clive Gee, William A. Brown, Robert G. Laird, Tilak Mitra defines a comprehensive SOA governance model that has been used by the authors in multiple SOA engagements. Unlike many other SOA governance books, this one focuses not on the technical aspects of SOA governance, but rather on its business and organizational aspects.

Many practitioners consider SOA to be a technical discipline and are often so wrapped in describing a set of technologies that can be used for SOA implementation that they forget that SOA is first and foremost a business and organizational issue. In reality, if business and organizational support is in place, then technical issues can be always solved, while the reverse practically never works.

The book provides a combination of thorough descriptions of SOA governance topics, work packages, which can be directly used for establishing and implementing a proposed governance model and a case study, showing how these approaches and work packages can be applied in real life. The book covers the following topics:

  • Understanding the problems SOA governance needs to solve
  • Establishing and governing service production lines that automate SOA development activities
  • Identifying reusable elements of your existing IT governance model and prioritizing improvements
  • Establishing SOA authority chains, roles, responsibilities, policies, standards, mechanisms, procedures, and metrics
  • Implementing service versioning and granularity
  • Refining SOA governance frameworks to maintain their vitality as business and IT strategies change

The book starts with an introduction describing a services approach as an architectural paradigm, allowing IT to implement their project in a way that can be directly linked to business goals, vision and drivers of the enterprise. It also describes what can go right and/or wrong during a SOA implementation.<

Chapter 1 - Introduction to Governance - defines governance as a process (or a set of processes) ensuring that all appropriate laws, policies, standards and procedures are being adhered to. It then describes corporate, enterprise, IT and SOA governance and the relationships between them. It then defines a set of SOA governance processes describing each process in detail.

Chapter 2 - SOA Governance Assessment and Planning - starts by emphasizing the importance of establishing a SOA vision and analysis of factors for SOA success and failures. It then outlines the main SOA capabilities, ensuring the success of the overall implementation. According to the book, these capabilities include planning and organization, ensuring that the enterprise is organized in an optimal way to implement and govern SOA. Program management controls capability is concerned with planning and governing the implementation of the SOA on the enterprise-wide level. Service development lifecycle capability defines activities governing the development of individual services and automated business processes leveraging these individual services. Finally, service operations capability governs the QoS of individual services along with monitoring and reporting the operational aspects of services execution.

Chapter 3 - Building the Service Factory - discusses a practical approach to achieve a SOA promise by applying SOA governance. It defines a case for the creation of a service factory. Because SOA typically provides a higher level of standardization compared to a traditional application development, it is much better suited for a manufacturing/assembly approach to streamlining the development of a quality service. The book then defines roles and responsibilities of such a factory, including an executive sponsor, a SOA governance lead, business service champions, SOA business analysts, a service registrar, a lead SOA architect and service architects, service developers, service assemblers, process assemblers, process developers, service testers, monitoring developers and security architects. The rest of the chapter describes the role of the service factory during the plan and organize phase. It provides a step-by-step description of all necessary activities and documents that have to be created and the participants involved in every step.

Chapter 4 - Governing the Service Factory - covers approaches for governing the production of a service factory and management of services, when they are made operational. It starts by defining essential competencies for succeeding with SOA, including effective requirements collection, competency in service design, development, testing and deployment and competency in operational management and service monitoring. It then discusses details of every competency implementation, including its content, the documents required for its implementation and control points, allowing to assess their execution.

Chapter 5 - Implementing the SOA Governance Model - presents a method to construct a comprehensive plan for the implementation of a governance process, ensuring achievement of the full benefits of SOA. It starts by presenting a comprehensive SOA governance model, covering all phases of SOA from its planning to measuring its results. It describes both staffing and the sets of tasks needed to be implemented as part of this model.

Chapter 6 - Managing the Service Lifecycle - adds additional details on services management and automated processes as they progress along SOA implementation. It revisits all important steps of a SOA implementation including requirements capture and service implementation, overall solution architecture, service specification, service realization, service testing, service certification and deployment and service vitality. It provides additional details on implementation and governing the above steps.

Chapter 7 - Governance Vitality - describes how to keep SOA governance relevant at the level required by the business. It concentrates on two SOA governance aspects, including SOA governance goals, metrics and measurements and SOA governance results reporting.

Full text of interview with the book authors can be found here.   


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