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

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