I realize it’s much cooler to talk about how hyped technologies burst into flames in the real-world, but honestly, that’s not my experience with SOA. Nearly everyday, either through my work with SOA Consortium members or consulting/coaching, I interact with organizations that are attaining value using SOA approaches. Now, that’s not to say SOA is simple, it’s not. SOA requires transformation along technology, business, process and organizational aspects. And as your services network grows in size, distribution and popularity, you’ll face hard some hard challenges. Luckily, there are organizations, such as Lockheed Martin, that are not only leading the way, but also contributing their learning and expertise to the broader community.
In his most recent talk at a SOA Consortium meeting, Mel Greer, Lockheed Martin’s Chief SOA Architect, delivered a very engaging and thought-provoking talk on the topic of SOA Hard Problems and Spiral Solution Development. The essence of that talk, and links to the audio recording and slides, follows, excerpted from my post on SOA Consortium Insights:
“The SOA Consortium was extremely fortunate to have Mel Greer, Lockheed Martin’s Chief SOA Architect, return to speak at our June meeting in Ottawa. Consistent with his March talk on SOA Competency Centers, Mel delivered a very engaging and thought-provoking talk on the topic of SOA Hard Problems and Spiral Solution Development.
Mel began by defining hard problems and spirals. Hard problems have three characteristics. First, a hard problem doesn’t go away over time. Second, left unresolved, a hard problem will have a significant negative impact on your SOA adoption. Third and most important, resolving a hard problem requires multiple disciplines that come from inside and outside your own organization. A spiral is a technique that breaks a hard problem into a series of small activities, each lasting 30-90 days. Each activity, or spiral, produces an answer that moves the hard problem towards resolution.
Lockheed Martin has identified SOA hard problems across six categories: business, engineering, operations, security, governance and skills development. During his talk, Mel shared examples of hard problems within each category, as well as the inter-relationships between hard problems.
Within the engineering category, Mel spoke of altering existing development processes and methodologies for SOA, designing for context awareness, and designing for runtime discovery and composition. In respect to runtime discovery and composition, Lockheed Martin is trying to determine the best way for a running to composition to become aware of newly delivered capability. As an example, Mel called out how the Mars Land Rover continues to receive new capability without returning to earth.
In closing, Mel spoke of impending challenges as third-party services – SaaS, Applications as a Service (APAS), cloud computing, etc – become the new business models. These changes will require support for service-level agreements, real-time monitoring, end-to-end testing, pricing models and service usability. Mel encouraged attendees to consider these new hard problems in their work as a multi-discipline, cross-industry consortium.
To listen to, or download the audio recording of Mel’s presentation, and view the slides please go here.”
[Disclosure: The SOA Consortium is a client of my company, Elemental Links]