InterOp 2008 Redux – Just read an article on “SOA failures traced to people, process issues” published in InfoWorld, 4/30. Unfortunately, it was another one of those “we need a new paradigm to help deliver yet another new paradigm.” Since I also spoke at InterOp, I thought it would be appropriate to respond:
SOA requires sound engineering principles, which should not be a paradigm shift but rather paradigm enforcement. In studying the success and failures of SOA projects over the last 25 months, it is clear that the lack of solid architectural and engineering practices has played a statistically significant role on many of the SOA failures that were under investigation. For some unknown reason, those implementing a service-orientation in their solutions often leave behind the sound principles taught in school and reinforced in life. In lue of what’s right, the engineering community is led to believe that somehow SOA requires some new and previously unthought-of paradigm. But the interesting question is who is leading this effort and why?
I too spoke at InterOp 2008 on SOA, specifically about the failure of enterprises to focus beyond any technical aspects of service-orientation. As I noted, SOA is simply architecture, not a panacea to business problems. The key to unlocking SOA’s potential for an enterprise is based upon evaluating “necessary vs. sufficient” conditions for success. Even the best architectural approach without strong engineering practices and governance, will not guarantee success. Attendees learned the important roles that solid engineering practices play in SOA transitions and application development, as well as how to utilize assessment tools, maturity models and reference architectures to construct a customized SOA roadmap. Again, it’s paradigm enforcement.
What amazed me was the audience’s response after the speech. There utterly satisfied with realization that SOA is not a new concept and that investment in sound practices is a necessary condition for success. They understood the need to more effectively deal with the necessary and sufficient conditions for SOA success. The light went on. So when I finally asked them who they thought was responsible for the promoting the fact that SOA required yet another paradigm shift to be successful, there was a consensus with the audience. Please write me if you are interested in knowing the results.