12: Creating Your SOA Adoption Plan
While the development of individual service is generally done on a project-by-project basis as the need arises, there should be an overall adoption plan so that these small-scale efforts are considered within the context of a structured and planned library.
The author refers to the "ready-fire-aim" practice that results from poor planning: a business "pulls the trigger" on a project and then later considers how the assets should be managed, which results in a considerable amount of retooling and waste. To avoid this, the business needs to develop a plan that will guide actions in advance, rather than reacting after the problems caused by inattention arise.
To this end, the author advises a six-step plan:
STEP 1: INDENTIFY CURRENT BUSINESS DRIVERS
Begin by identifying the "pain points" that employees are currently experiencing as well as the opportunities where there is obvious room for improvement. This should be done independently for each business group and, when all information has been gathered, it can be analyzed to determine the value of solutions. This does not have to be comprehensive or detailed, as the goal is to discover potential areas for pilot projects.
STEP 2: IDENTIFY PILOT PROJECTS
From the list of opportunities generated in the previous step, seek to define one or more pilot projects. Rather than seeking a project that has the maximum cost benefit to the enterprise, which may be a significant undertaking with a long development cycle, consider the "quick wins" that can be implemented fast and at a low cost to win credibility for SOA.
A modest project that can be implemented quickly is important to gaining acceptance - and avoiding a large or high-profile project enables the team to work with less pressure or scrutiny through as they struggle with the novelty of the approach.
STEP 3: CONDUCT A STRATEGIC ANALYSIS
Once the pilot projects have been completed, conduct a more thorough analysis (refer to chapter 9 on the Selective SOA methodology). This methodology should result in a number of high-value projects that have a more ambitious scope, and have the potential to provide the greatest value to the organization.
STEP 4: FINALIZE OBJECTIVES AND REQUIREMENTS
At this point in the process, there should be sufficient information to be able to document specific requirements pertaining to SOA adoption and get buy-in from stakeholders. This documentation should declare the goals of SOA and the means by which success will be measured. Having formal documentation is critical for clarifying the mission, getting acceptance, and ensuring that the SOA implementation does not get sidetracked by reinterpretation or reevaluation of its goals.
STEP 5: DEFINE AN INCREMENTAL ADOPTION PLAN
First, select a maturity model for SOA within the organization and determine a roadmap, based on where the enterprise is today and where it may wish to be in future, then plotting the milestones and deliverables for progressing toward the desired state of maturity.
Keep in mind that the maturity of the technology will depend on a number of factors, including the changes in business culture, systems infrastructure, training of employees, and development of governance. Each of these factors may be tracked separately, though they must grow at roughly the same pace to avoid conflict.
STEP 6: COMMUNICATE, EDUCATE, AND COLLABORATE
Ultimately, the success of SOA within an organization depend on the adoption of the technology by the entire organization, not just those in the IT silo. With that in mind, marketing is a critical component of the adoption plan: champions should be identified who will engage the rest of the enterprise in embracing SOA and supporting the adoption plan and ensuring that it remains a collaborative dialogue as the evolution progresses.