Tuesday, November 10, 2009

SOA Manifesto heralds declaration of truce

The end of the year is upon us, or says the retailers! It is a time for giving and goodwill, and all that feel-good stuff. But recently reading the announcement that a number of thought leaders came together in the name of bringing a smidgen of sanity to the SOA debate was surely an early gift. (I am now prepared for my annual receiving of socks and paisley ties!)

It has been a busy year for the SOA community. 2009 commenced with a ferocious SOA debate when Anne Thomas Manes stated that SOA was Dead. We provided our commentary to the debate throughout the year by penning a 10-part series on why SOA can fail within organisations.

In October 2009, some big SOA names (no offence to those who were not there!), got together to pen the SOA Manifesto. The document summarises their agreed opinions on the values and principles that should embody service orientation and SOA. While their U-tube video fell slightly short of the FIFA hosting-country announcements in terms of entertainment value, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to observe the “heated debates”, Thomas Earl so eloquently stated during the compilation of the document!

All, I have to say is kudos to the group of people who put the document together. It takes guts to find consensus on a topic that is so badly misunderstood, and it takes even more courage to present it to the world for comment. Apart from the usual buffoonery and sarcastic blog chatter, there have been a couple of constructive points made by folks like Jordan Braunstein.

I agree in principal to the concept of the manifesto and what it is trying to achieve. Consensus needs to happen in this industry so that a bit of clarity can prevail, and IT practitioners can learn from collective thought instead of individual agendas. Some have criticised the manifesto as being blatantly obvious. While I agree somewhat with the writer’s views; the purpose of the document is to represent and reaffirm a shared and common understanding. I would love to see a survey conducted on businesses to determine who have embraced values such as those have mentioned in the manifesto, if all of this is so obvious. Other commentary has focused on each value statement and dissected each line as an either or statement. The manifesto clearly states that while values on the right such as project-specific benefits are important to the business, strategic goals are valued more. In the real world, you will need a handle on both dimensions of each value statement and determine why and when you would favour behaviour such as being project centric.

Folks you have my vote, but I would love to see the detail behind some of the points in Manifesto 2.0! David, Stefan and the others, I look forward to reading your group’s consolidated explanations of the manifesto soon.

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