Improving Our Approach to Internet and SOA Projects

Improving Our Approach to Internet and SOA Projects

Neil Richardson (SkyBlue Consulting Ltd, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0336-3.ch018

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Lessons Learned?

It is clear to me that best practice project management consists of a combination of ‘hard’ PM methods, soft skills (because people, not processes deliver projects) and a ‘project-intelligent (?)-ability to recognise the specifics of the situation to provide the correct combination of skills necessary to assure project success and deliver a business objective.

Like the internet, a decade later Service Oriented Architecture is challenging many aspects of project management methodology. Having emerged from many years of speculation there is, perhaps, a mixed blessing with SOAs: while solving one type of problem, it merely serves to create an alternative set. But for the business objective focused professional who manages the risk-reward balance for an organisation success is found in determining which set of problems is more manageable - on the assumptions that (i) we recognise the varying problem sets (ii) we can define them correctly and rigorously and (iii) we can deliver on that promise! And it is in the failure to validate these relatively simplistic but necessary assumptions (at the very start of any projects work) that I focus because we are still not getting the message!

The promises of SOA such as a standardised approach and reusability are accompanied by new challenges such as governance and the integration of legacy environments. In this sense it is like the promise of outsourcing: problems and inefficiencies are taken off our hands, but we simultaneously find new problems and lack the immediate levers of control that we could have used to resolve an in-house development. Yet in the UK (just like the early days of outsourcing) people are heading down that same route of ‘act first, think later!’ And it is exacerbated by the need (or organisations) to see activity (sic not the same as progress) that projects commence with a focus on the JFDI method referenced earlier...even when everyone believes they are following a well-defined structured method.

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