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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

'Everyone wants Governance, but Nobody Wants to be Governed'

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"Everyone wants governance, but nobody wants to be governed."

-Ron Schmelzer

Ron's words came to mind while I was reading a recent post by Todd Biske, enterprise architect extraordinaire and author of SOA Governance, on making governance stick in enterprises.

Governance is a balancing act -- you want to provide a beneficial experience for users and business units building and adopting services, but you don't want things getting out of hand. Indeed, some have even suggested changing the term "governance" to "service lifecycle management." (SLIM, anyone?)

The problem is, many organizations tend to go overboard with governance, becoming too restrictive, and thus choking off the spirit of innovation and participation SOA is supposed to bring about.

Todd outlines four key processes involved in governance:

  1. Policy Definition
  2. Education
  3. Enforcement
  4. Measurement and Feedback
The catch is, as Todd puts it, "when people think of governance, they only think of process number 3, 'enforcement.'" He advices emphasis on all four elements of governance, particularly establishment of policies, and educating developers and users in the principles, standards, and guidelines that guide SOA efforts. Give your development teams "everything they need to be successful," he urges.

All too often, there isn't enough support provided from the get-go to ensure project success -- only the hammer of enforcement. This will quickly sour good will around any SOA initiative.

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more


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