The SOA Manifesto

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In this entry I will share with you an initiative on service orientation, which has been published for some time in the network, and perhaps one of you already know: the SOA Manifesto. Since there will surely be those who do not know it, and given that I find it extremely interesting and well focused, I think it is worthwhile to dedicate an entry and help to make it better known.

The SOA Manifesto is an initiative of some of the industry’s top experts on the subject. Led by Thomas Erl, the SOA Manifesto Working Group produced a formal statement in three days. The reading of how the idea was formed, the working group and finally the Manifesto, is not wasteful. I recommend it, it is very interesting.

Its temporal context was very important. The industry was divided between burying the SOA concept, or going beyond the acronyms and not letting go the tremendous transformative potential it has.

And this group managed to go beyond the apparent. The appearance at that time came from the information chaos that circulated on the network. There was a tremendous variety of definitions and approaches that flooded the internet during the early years of SOA life. So many different opinions that only helped to dilute its importance, blurring the concept and preventing its true value.

Finally the Manifesto went ahead, and there it is, published for the whole world, and open for all professionals interested in the subject to sign it, thus manifesting their adherence to the vision and approach proposed by the SOA Manifesto.

Its content is brief and clear. It is formed by a brief preamble that puts and contextualizes its approach with six values, and a series of fourteen guiding principles.

This illustration presents the essence of the Manifesto. You can visit it through the link posted in the links of interest section on the right. But I can not resist highlighting and commenting on the values and guiding principles that I like best (difficult thing, because it seems to me a collection of truths, all tremendously important in the concept of SOA as a business strategy).

Core Values and Guiding Principles of the SOA Manifesto

Among the values I love the review with which they end:

“although we value the elements of the right, we value those of the left.”

They refer to the elements they face in each value, as in “Business value over technical strategy”. All the values seem to me to be equally remarkable, but I’d highlight the detail to emphasize that those values, issues such as technical strategy, projects benefit, personalized integration, etc. (all “elements of the right” ) are also accepted and valued in SOA. I find it elegantly conciliatory, a very necessary feature when we talk about SOA as a business ICT strategy.

Regarding the guiding principles of the Manifesto, I would emphasize the following among the excellent group that compose it:

  • Respect the social and power structure of the organization. It is nothing less than the first of the guiding principles, and with this they demonstrate that the parents of the Manifesto are not theoretical, but have been implementing service orientation as a business strategy in the real world. Those of us who have been in it recognize the value of this principle: it is fundamental to be humble and respectful of the organization and its management structure, in order to be able to exert an effective influence and to achieve an open and receptive attitude on the part of the stakeholders involved. Without this, all effort will be sterile.

 

  • Identify services through collaboration with business and technology stakeholders. We have skipped several guiding principles that one way or another have stressed several times in this blog, so we stop at this. It is essential to bring together the traditional sides in the struggle of interests that have normally carried out ICT in business organizations. It is necessary for each team to contribute its best values: the business knowledge, and the technological capabilities, both collaborating to achieve the objectives of the organization together. This is the correct way to identify, from the best knowledge of the business, the necessary services.

 

  • Evolve services and your organization in response to actual use. This guiding principle aims directly at managing the service life cycle, under the prism of the alignment of technology with the business, that is, being always attentive to the business needs, its evolution, to determine the best evolution of the Services Catalog and, finally, the evolutionary projects and new developments that must be undertaken in the systems map. Based on the evolution of the business and its use of services, determine its evolution in its life cycle, and with it, the wake of projects that must adapt the systems map to the real business needs, as it evolves.

 

  • Reduce implicit dependencies and publish all external dependencies to increase robustness and reduce the impact of change. Clearly aimed at reducing coupling, this guiding principle is very interesting because it underscores the importance of achieving a kind of service hierarchy, that allows to show outside a portfolio of services offered by the organization, presenting this as a black box (as it should be), capable of offering all those services in an agile, scalable and adaptable way thanks to the minimum internal coupling.

 

 

I invite you again to know the entire SOA Manifesto and the history of its development. I think this is the best reference published on the internet about SOA and its true value as a driver of business through ICT in today’s world.

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