SOA is one of the hottest buzzwords that CIOs are chasing today. Everywhere you look there are blogs, journals, and pod casts discussing the technological challenges of SOA. There seems to be little mention of the human side of SOA. SOA relies heavily on talented employees to successfully deliver results. An organization must have the following characteristics to succeed with their SOA initiatives:
- Strong executive sponsorship
- Strong IT leadership
- Effective project management
- Ability to learn new skills
- Organizational change management skills
All of the above mentioned characteristics are required for any major IT initiative, whether you are implementing an ERP system, an enterprise portal, or a new methodology. So why would we expect anything different for a SOA implementation? When budgeting for your SOA initiative, don't forget the human side of SOA. You may need to reassess your organizational structure to support SOA. New roles and responsibilities will likely be created and new development and testing tools will be required. Extensive training should be considered and don't forget investing in governance. Organizational change management is one of the most crucial aspects of the project. The SOA approach to software development is likely to be radically different then your current approach. I can't express enough how important it is to constantly communicate to people at all levels why the change is good and how it will help the business succeed. If you are starting a SOA initiative, your architecture team is probably knee deep in research as they try to get their arms around the technology. At the same time, you should have someone focused on the human side of SOA. This person needs to be a strong leader and a change agent. In some cases this person is your enterprise architect. In others it is your executive sponsor. It might even be the CIO. Whoever it is, make sure you don't underestimate the human side of SOA.
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