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To read Part I of this article, click here.

Rightsizing governance

There are a number of ways to categorize SOA implementations and levels of governance. One categorization that seemed to come up a lot was level of maturity in terms of SOA adoption. Many organizations are still in the early stages and just want a way to catalog their services. Some are in the wild-west stage. They've implemented a number of tactical services and are now looking for a way to rein it in by discovering what is out there and starting to implement some controls.

Some organizations have mature implementations and are seeking ways to manage federated environments. While this may be a useful way of looking at customers and what they may be ready to buy, from an organizational point of view, in order to ensure success which is, after all, the purpose of governance, it is preferable to first define explicitly what you are trying to achieve, and then determine the appropriate level of governance required to ensure success.

At a minimum, a governance framework should include policies, processes, roles, responsibilities, metrics and implementation plan for each type of service, at each stage of the life cycle. The number and scope of policies, processes, stakeholders and implementation infrastructure may vary by maturity level. Governance is the process of measuring, monitoring, and managing for success. As Henry David Thoreau said, "In the long run, we only hit what we aim at." The bottom line is that SOA without proper governance is a crap shoot. When determining how much to invest in governance efforts organizations should assess the cost of failure.

Life cycle stages

The vendors report that their customers most often start their governance efforts either with a registry/repository or run-time monitoring and management system. They reported that organizations with more mature SOA implementations or those who already have IT governance efforts in place may practice governance throughout the full life cycle. I think this is a big mistake. To ensure success it is critical to ensure the original business objectives are met. This requires full life cycle governance, including inception, design, provisioning, maintenance phases. While it is possible to scale back governance activities in each stage, skipping an entire phase means you cannot ensure the success of that life cycle phase.


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