Monday, March 23, 2009

SOA Adoption for Dummies Such as Managers

Software AG has commissioned another SOA publication to "Dummies" series and released it to their customers. This follows on from their "BPM Basics for Dummies" book which was a referred to in an earlier post. I have to confess to listening to the podcast version of this book while watching the cricket rather than reading the book in detail the conventional way.

This book is focused on SOA Adoption rather than SOA. It is not a technical book in SOA. References to XML, SOAP and WSDL are consigned to a footnote. This book is evangelical and pitched at management. I question whether it is right to consider that dummies would be involved in SOA adoption. Your average person involved in an SOA Adoption decision is a highly credentialed senior IT manager on one hand but on the other hand the time taken over each decision of a manager can be minimal and display all the appearances of being made by a dummy.

The authors should be congratulated for taking SOA Adoption as subject in itself as it is a difficult for enterprises to adopt SOA and it is much more than just the technical challenge that needs to be addressed. The book and podcast series are well produced and easy to absorb.

Do not expect any great depth from this book however. The authors call their SOA adoption approach "Rocket Science" but this approach simply consists of:

1. Keep the pointy end of the rocket up.

2. Keep moving up.

3. Don’t stop till you are weightless.

This is good motherhood advice for any significant undertaking but I do not see it as being particularly insightful for SOA adoption.

The authors do a good job of SOA evangelism and have lived up to the creation of simple book for "Dummies" by missing a lot of the technical detail. There is nothing particularly radical in this book but it does give you some important things to watch such as SOA Governance, Organization structure, SOA infrastructure, the SOA competency centre and organization structural issues that might arise from SOA.

In summary, this is a good book to give a dummy or manager who needs to be brought on board to get with your SOA program. It will not get you to SOA weightlessness without a lot of other expertise, skills and resources. It is not the bible for someone wishing to be the main driver behind SOA adoption.


Miko Matsumura, Bjoern Brauel and Jignesh Shah, SOA Adoption for Dummies , Wiley Publishing Inc., 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

SOA and Cricket

It has been a long while since I put together a blog posting. This has been for a number of reasons both personal and professional. But one reason has been the game of cricket.

I have two sons that are good at cricket and play for a local club. Most of the English-speaking world knows what Cricket is. For the Americans who may read this it is a bit like baseball. You use a bat and a ball and not much happens for long periods of time. Unlike baseball it can be played over several days for up to six hours a day. Much of my time has been involved in watching the game played by my sons but also watching the televised games between the Australian national team and the South African national team.

Progress is made slowly in cricket and it is often not clear whether you are winning until near the end of the game. The players need to stay focused on what they are trying to achieve and there are a whole range specialists (batters, bowlers and fieldsman) involved. SOA is much the same. It takes time. Since my last blog I can report some real progress from my organization but we have still only completed a small part of the journey. We need to stay focused on the desired SOA outcomes and we are gradually building a set of skills and relationships that are required to bring SOA to fruition.

I intend to prepare more blog postings shortly. The cricket season is over and the hot spell in South Australia has passed. Meanwhile my organization has completed a number of projects and has embarked on more which will advance its SOA so I have some content to provide and hopefully the motivation to provide it.