Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Wayne Lam, Larry Dragich, Sebastian Bos

Related Topics: @MicroservicesE Blog, Industrial IoT

@MicroservicesE Blog: Article

Agile SOA Governance in SMEs

While we need governance processes to make SOA work, the purpose of SOA is to help IT deliver value to the enterprise

The increased manageability, reliability, and opportunities for reuse promised by a SOA can only be fulfilled with an effective governance structure in place to coordinate service creation, maintenance, provisioning, and consumption.

However, many small and medium-sized organizations struggle when starting their service catalog due to the seeming contradiction between the strategic benefits of SOA and the often negative impact that governance can have on individual line-of-business project schedules. How do we get our projects done while building a service portfolio? This article proposes governance structures that embrace the tactical, project-centric nature of much of our work while acknowledging the strategic importance of services.

The Need for Governance
By definition, services are intended to be shared resources. Sharing resources among stakeholders without a system to govern their use can and often does lead to conflicts over resource management and utilization. Services need to be governed effectively to keep ROI high (e.g., by preventing the re-creation of the wheel) and meet SLAs (e.g., by ensuring that services are provisioned with appropriate computing resources to fulfill the needs of their consumers). Governance also enables enterprises to discover new service requirements and adapt to change.

The Need to Deliver
While we need governance processes to make SOA work, the purpose of SOA is to help IT deliver value to the enterprise. However, the enterprise generates revenue (or other value) through its lines of business (LOBs). It's fair to say that LOBs are the engines of the enterprise and technology projects are merely one of the means at their disposal to accomplish this end. Given this direct linkage to the enterprise's most visible efforts, the timely completion of LOB technology projects is critical.

Some books and articles on SOA suggest a complete realignment of the business in order to drive the efficiencies promised by service orientation. In this way of thinking, all development projects should be pipelined through a SOA governance process that enforces standards and ensures the quality of the architecture as the portfolio grows and changes.

Unfortunately, this approach often makes the incorrect assumption that there is no architectural governance in place already - whether formal or informal. Any new governance process must find its place within the already crowded landscape of formal and informal means of controlling technology projects in any enterprise, many of which have grown organically over time, compete for control, and perhaps impede project delivery to an extent not warranted by the value they add.

For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this may be especially problematic because they may not have the resources to staff such a process in a way that achieves its intent while enabling LOBs to execute their projects on time. Maybe they can't staff a distinct services team. Maybe they don't have enough architects to review every development activity without bringing development screeching to a halt. As a result, the SOA implementation may be undermined as LOBs lose confidence in the long-term vision of reduced costs and increased productivity. They ask the valid question of whether the current delays are having a bottom-line impact that may not be recovered until after SOA is replaced by the next IT buzzword. They haven't heard about Cloud Computing yet... shhhh.

If we assume that development teams are already delivering value to the LOBs they support then they are designing software that works well for the purposes of the LOB but may not be usable by other LOB development teams because it is tightly coupled, lacks the ability to scale, etc. The fact that this is inefficient at the enterprise level is not readily apparent to the LOB. These development teams are not necessarily looking for opportunities to deliver value to the enterprise - they are focused on their LOB. The perceived value of their work is high. Slowing down delivery of development projects to resolve an enterprise-level inefficiency is unlikely to be popular with the LOBs.

Approaches to resolving this dilemma typically involve driving change from the top and parallelizing all service development into a separate specialized team. This is rational and capitalizes on popular approaches to increasing development throughput (if ignoring Brooks' Law). With the CXOs on board, one would expect the outcome to be a well-resourced services team standing at the ready whenever needed to implement services in support of the main development team's efforts. However, the mission of this team is not to provide the best results for the LOB, but for the enterprise. To achieve this, the services team needs to be strategic in its creation of services. It must take the requirements of a given LOB team and research them to determine if they are already generic enough to work for other teams. It must assess the scalability and manageability issues of the service across consumers. In short, it must be careful. Being careful takes time. In a small enterprise, projects have short delivery timelines - often less than a year, very frequently one business quarter or less. How can the services team serve the mission of being careful while delivering in short timeframes?

Make It Work, Make It Right, Make It Fast
The job of governance is to help identify opportunities for increasing efficiency in the development of software across the enterprise. While the enterprise needs governance to help it realize the full value of a Service Oriented Architecture, we need to ensure that the governance is enabling not limiting. The focus should not be on preventing mistakes, but on encouraging success. Kent Beck's famous exhortation "Make it Work, Make it Right, Make it Fast" doesn't start with Make it Right because that leads to a quest for perfection in the absence of a completed work product. What if the organization identified a potential new service during the course of the normal work of a LOB development team, but allowed the team to continue its work implementing the new service for itself (perhaps even as a library) while tasking another team to determine whether the function(s) were worth expending the effort to turn into a service and planning that work? From the enterprise perspective, we would be starting to Make It Right even while the LOB was getting started Making It Work. This seems like the best of both worlds.

Unfortunately, many governance models serialize the processes of governance and development - governance is a gate through which all projects (or even ideas) must pass. The creation or modification of a service has an enterprise impact and so must be carefully considered. It can get crowded at this gate and projects needed by the LOB can get stuck there while the governance team debates the merits of the project functions in relation to the SOA.

When the services have been identified, it is a common recommendation to pass the service requirements on to a team specializing in service creation / maintenance / management. This is another potential bottleneck as the delivery of services to the main project must be carefully coordinated to ensure the project delivers on time. A quality enterprise service that considers the needs of multiple stakeholders can take as long to design, implement, and test as the main project.

Agile SOA Governance
There is without doubt merit in both of the core concepts commonly presented in the context of SOA: the need for governance to coordinate on services; and the advantages of creating a team with skills and experience to focus on services. The problem is in the process that manages work across these expert groups and the line-of-business development teams. Figures 1-3 present alternative approaches to this flow.

In all of the alternatives presented, requirements are collected and passed through the filter of an architectural review panel which serves the governance board for services among other duties. This panel determines whether the project incorporates concepts that appear to be candidates for services. Some of these will have already been created and are planned for use in the project. Some will have already been created, but their use was overlooked by the analysis team. Still others will be candidates for the creation or modification of a service.

This review is meant to be light so as not to impede the flow of development as we make the assumption that we should first Make It Work and that opportunities to Make It Right and Fast will exist down the road. What happens after this filter determines how rapidly the project can be delivered and I would assert how successful the adoption of SOA will be in the enterprise.

Figure 1 presents a fairly conventional linear approach to the problem. If a service exists, its use is required and fed into the design phase of the relevant LOB development iteration. If it does not exist or is inadequate in its current form, the requirements are fed to the services team, which then goes through a standard development cycle of elaborating on the requirements in the enterprise context, designing a solution, developing and testing it, and finally deploying it for incorporation into the LOB development cycle. This can be problematic if the service is fundamental to the application, and development of other parts of the software is dependent on understanding and utilizing the service. The problem arises from the fact that the LOB development team is not aware of the service interface and other characteristics until the completion of the service project. Without careful planning, this may have the impact of serializing the services project and the LOB project, thereby undermining the intended effect of a separate services team.

Figure 2 takes the problem of late information and deals with it by providing earlier communication between the services and LOB teams. In this approach, the LOB team receives the planned interface for the service from the services team after it completes its design phase. Depending on approach, it may get more than just the interface. For example, it may get mocks, stubs, or tests as well. All of these things will help it move forward in developing the software in its system that depends on the service, thus decreasing the bottleneck effect. If during implementation, the interface needs to change, that should be communicated to facilitate the refactoring of dependent code. If the LOB team develops a local proxy or business delegate, this should make it easier to refactor. Later, when the service is fully implemented, integration testing can be performed. Nevertheless, the final integration testing and deployment are dependent on the completion of the services team's work. While we have provided more information earlier, allowing for a more adaptive and accurate approach to concurrent development, the enterprise work may still delay the LOB work.

The final approach depicted in Figure 3 assumes that the LOB development team can develop either a service or library itself locally that satisfies its needs for project work to proceed rapidly without dependencies across teams. Ideally, it will anticipate the creation of a service that will replace its local implementation and hide its implementation behind a business delegate. Whenever the services team completes its work, the LOB team should refactor to replace its implementation with the service. Communication between teams about evolving interface definitions will minimize later rework.

While the final approach is inefficient from the perspective that we have two teams concurrently working on developing very similar functions, both anticipate fulfilling the SOA vision. They understand that this is a tactical decision that minimizes the schedule risk of the LOB while enabling the enterprise to move in the direction of its strategic objectives.

On a project-to-project basis, organizations have to determine which of these processes is appropriate. Some enterprise services are more rapidly developed than others. The capabilities of development teams vary. The impact of a service on the application will depend on how core it is to the application. All of these variables factor into the decision-making process and help the organization devise the best approach.

More Stories By Chip Temm

Over the past decade, Chip Temm moved from North America to Europe and on to Africa where his company anthroLogik solutions provided analysis and development services organizations across seven timezones. He is currently back in Washington, DC where "remote development" means working from home and "wildlife" means raccoon.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context wi...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, and the “Third Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place June 7-9, 2016, at Javits Center in New York City. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!