I just hit the ‘send’ button on a rough draft of a 10-page document describing key elements of our SOA program. 

It is my attempt to describe, in terms that business people can understand, the reasoning and rationale for our Enterprise Architecture approach to Service Oriented Architecture.

  • Writing down random thoughts on a blog: 30 minutes. 
  • Writing down a coherent argument that attempts to cover the bases and make a case: 10 days.
  • The possibility that someone in an important role may agree with my rantings: priceless.

I guess what is really hitting home: stepping out and holding up the flag of ‘Enterprise SOA’ in an organization known for federated development and complete independence is probably the toughest thing I’ve done in years… certainly the most difficult long-term effort since I tried to get a dot-com off the ground during the boom.  (we busted, like everyone else… it was a good run, though).  

If anyone tells you that Enterprise SOA is easy… laugh.  out.   loud. 

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

9 thoughts on “Writing down thoughts – harder than it should be”
  1. Hi Ric,

    I’ll know if 10 days was long enough if anyone reads it!  To be honest, it’s a distillation of some key ideas and concepts I’ve been discussing and sharing and evangelizing for four months.  I’ve had time to hone… just not on paper.

    The paper is for consumption within MS, so I cannot share to the public.  Sorry.  

    — N

  2. Nick,

    Let us all know the outcome of the reception (or lack or reception) to your rationale document!

    As you are probably well aware, SOA is about consumers using and depending on shared enterprise resources (the services!) and in most IT shops there is a general mistrust of anything shared! SOA Architects are held to a much higher level of scrutiny.

    It took you 10 days because you know you have to have answers for the laser focused questions you will get because the consumers are looking for any little weakness in the argument so they can tell their managers: "we can’t do this because it doesn’t address corner case 1234.5"

    Good luck! Thanks for being a though leader!

  3. Sorr i just could not help noticing "enterprise SOA". I maybe completely wrong but I thought SOA was for enterprise and its applicability (even if you consider LoB in an enterprise as SMBs) outside of the enterprise context doesnt ring correct.

  4. Hello R2D2,

    Enterprise SOA is a distinction from "small SOA" that is used to develop a service oriented business application.  I’m not comparing with B2B.

    Many SOA projects fail to take into account the needs of the enterprise in the creation of the services.  In MS, we’ve been ‘doing SOA’ for years, yet reuse and agility are not in evidence.  This is mostly because of that failure to consider the Enterprise.

    My job is to represent the needs of the Enterprise first.  

    — Nick

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