The deck from my Open Group Conference session, 6+1 Secrets of Successful SOA, is now on Slideshare. The deck is a revision of the original 6 Secrets of Successful SOA talk delivered in May at ATA/ITLC. If you’ve seen the original deck, jump to slide 24 for the +1.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Are you communicating the vision, business value and delivery capabilities of enterprise architecture? Or just talking at people?
As I mentioned earlier, I went to the ITLC Conference this week to speak on SOA. The official session title was “Driving Transportation Efficiencies with SOA”. The format was two 30 minute presentations, followed by a Q&A period. My co-conspirator was none other than Maja Tibbling, Principal Enterprise Architect for Con-Way Transportation.
As you may recall, Con-Way was a winner in the 2008 SOA Consortium Case Study Contest. Con-Way has a great business transformation story, powered by SOA and Event Processing.
After Maja delivered the SOA in Transportation presentation, I gave a new 30-minute talk on “6 Secrets to Successful SOA”. The secrets all pertain to standing up and managing a successful, sustainable program. The discovery of these secrets was through my work with the SOA Consortium and Elemental Links (workshops, consulting).
I’ve posted the presentation to slideshare. Take a look. And yes, you can use the slides, with attribution to me.
In the March issue of Fast Company, Dan and Chip Heath’s column focuses on early warning indicators. In one example, they explain why David Lee Roth banned brown M&Ms from backstage. It wasn’t a diva thing, but rather, an operations performance metric. The excerpt:
“Your source of data doesn’t need to be high tech. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be numerical. Consider Van Halen. (We have been waiting years for a chance to write that sentence.) In its 1980s heyday, the band became notorious for a clause in its touring contract that demanded a bowl of M&Ms backstage, but with all the brown ones removed. The story is true — confirmed by former lead singer David Lee Roth himself — and it became the perfect, appalling symbol of rock-star-diva behavior.
Get ready to reverse your perception. Van Halen did dozens of shows every year, and at each venue, the band would show up with nine 18-wheelers full of gear. Because of the technical complexity, the band’s standard contract with venues was thick and convoluted — Roth, in his inimitable way, said in his autobiography that it read "like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages." A typical "article" in the contract might say, "There will be 15 amperage voltage sockets at 20-foot spaces, evenly, providing 19 amperes."
Van Halen buried a special clause in the middle of the contract. It was called Article 126. It read, "There will be no brown M&Ms in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation." So when Roth would arrive at a new venue, he’d walk backstage and glance at the M&M bowl. If he saw a brown M&M, he’d demand a line check of the entire production. "Guaranteed you’re going to arrive at a technical error," he wrote. "They didn’t read the contract…. Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show."
In other words, Roth was no diva. He was an operations expert. He couldn’t spend hours every night checking the amperage of each socket. He needed a way to assess quickly whether the stagehands at each venue were paying attention — whether they had read every word of the contract and taken it seriously. In Roth’s world, a brown M&M was the canary in the coal mine.
Like Roth, none of us has the time and energy to dig into every aspect of our businesses. But, if we’re smart, we won’t need to. What if we could rig up a system where problems would announce themselves before they arrived? That may sound like wishful thinking, but notice that it’s exactly what Roth achieved. Surely, you won’t be outwitted by the guy who sang "Hot for Teacher."”
As you explore active information strategies and event processing, make sure you do the business and information analysis to answer the Heath brothers’ closing question: “Where’s the brown M&M in your business?”
Last Thursday, I barged into a Twitter conversation on the “ultimate outcome of Enterprise Architecture”. The conversation was related to Forrester’s Enterprise Architecture Forum in San Diego, which I missed due to the blizzard at JFK. @Dcoon posed the question: “Is consolidation and centralization the ultimate outcome of EA?”
While consolidation and selective centralization are milestones on an Enterprise Architecture journey, I don’t believe they represent the “ultimate outcome”. Enterprise Architecture needs to play a linchpin role in advancing the business.
As such, I offered my 140-character perspective, edited for readability, as follows: “The ultimate outcome of Enterprise Architecture is change-friendly capability delivery.”
But, that’s my perspective. What do you think? Do you agree? If not, what is the ultimate outcome of Enterprise Architecture?