The SOA Governance Flash Point

The SOA Governance Flash Point

Posted on October 10, 2007 0 Comments

Lucky for you, I'm not talking about how SOA Governance has become all the rage, how it's the best thing since sliced bread, how everything you used to do was wrong but SOA governance is oh so right, blah blah blah.  I'm going to talk about a different flashpoint - one that everyone implementing SOA governance needs to be aware of.

I used to live in Montreal - which, for the geographically challenged, is in the province of Quebec in Canada.  Quebec, like most governments, wanted to reduce smoking.  So, they progressively increased the tax on cigarettes.  As they did this, they saw that the rate of smoking was gradually reducing, giving them concrete evidence that their strategy was working.  So, they continued to gradually ramp up the tax on cigarettes.

Then a funny thing happened... without warning, smokers started rebelling and they started buying cigarettes that had been smuggled over the border through indian reservations because they were much cheaper.

Within weeks it went from a few die hard smokers buying these smuggled cigarettes to double digit percentages of all smokers in the entire province doing it.  The taxes hit a flash point without warning,  and no amount of additional police work was getting the smuggling problem under control.  The government had to drop cigarette tax significantly to finally control the situation - in fact they had to drop them well below the modest increase they had just made.

SOA what does this have to do with SOA Governance?

You may find that your SOA governance initiative, and the policies around it, are starting to pay off.

You might be temped to introduce even more policies and controls to further improve things.  But, if each of these are causing incremental pain to the developers in your organization, it starts adding up - adding up so gradually that you may not realize it.  Then one day, without warning, you will find a full-scale backlash on your hands.  And, I'm sorry to say, there will be nothing you can do about it other than dramatically scale back your governance initiative far beyond your most recent, modest, change in policies.

The end result will be that your governance initiative will be viewed as a complete failure - regardless of how successful it had previously been.  One thousand cars crashing in any given week hardly make the news, but one full 474 crashes and everyone hears about it.

There he goes...  Foody's being all doom-and-gloom again.  Yes, but I hope this reinforces the point from my last post:  If you continually rely on sticks for governance, instead of carrots, your governance initiative will face issues.  If that were the extent of it, you could still control it and guide it towards success. But, what you may not realize is that you won't see a failure coming. In reality, your SOA governance initiative will fail unexpectedly and uncontrollably.

At the other extreme, if your governance initiative focuses entirely on carrots, things will slip through the cracks - but I can guarantee that you'll never hit the SOA Governance Flash Point.

dan foody

View all posts from dan foody on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.


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