1. What is Governance

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in the "OECD Principles of Corporate Governance" [1] defined Corporate Governance as providing the structure for determining organizational objectives and monitoring performance to ensure that objectives are attained. The OECD was careful to note that there is no one single model for good corporate governance and as such, different organizations may have different perspectives on what constitutes good governance.

Corporate governance is a broad topic and deals with a variety of aspects such as human resources, physical assets, financial assets, Information Technology and more. But given the context of Governance for SOA, we are primarily concerned with how best Information Technology (IT) assets are organized to deliver value to the business. In short, with IT Governance.

Peter Weill and Jeanne Ross of MIT defines IT Governance as "specifying the decision rights and accountability framework to encourage desirable behavior in the use of IT" [2]. This decision captures the reality that each organization will have a range of governance depending on the perceived needs of the participants, given that the definition of what constitutes desirable behavior will vary depending on the organizations and participants.

2. Governance and Management

It is worthwhile to distinguish between Governance and Management before proceeding any further.

Governance determines who makes the decisions. It implies the authority to govern. That authority could be formal or informal and could be codified in an explicit manner or implied. It is about having the decision rights to influence conduct to ensure desirable behavior and the authority to adjudicate when issues arise.

Management, on the other hand, is the process of making and implementing the actual decisions.

3. IT Governance and SOA Governance

It is hard to draw a clean line of separation between IT and SOA Governance, but one particular point of differentiation is the concept of ownership boundaries.

Traditional IT governance has implied governance applied within a single Enterprise; a single ownership domain, if you will. Given that the SOA-RM defines SOA as a paradigm for organizing and utilizing distributed capabilities that may be under the control of different ownership domains, the concepts of SOA Governance are not limited to just a single Enterprise but must also apply across Enterprises i.e. across ownership domains.

As such SOA Governance should be considered an extension of existing IT Governance that deals with the decision rights, processes and policies that are put into place to encourage the adoption and operation of a SOA that may cross ownership boundaries. At the same time, it should also be recognized that the desirable behaviors that need to be encouraged in a SOA implementation may conflict with the existing mechanisms that are in place as part of the existing IT Governance and the mechanisms that are in place for the management of IT need to be extended and modified to account for SOA.

4. Why is Governance important to SOA?

(To be further structured and expanded)

5. SOA without Governance

(To be further structured and expanded)

6. Who are the stakeholders in SOA Governance?

7. What are the concerns of the stakeholders?

8. Inputs to the decision process

9. Implementing SOA Governance

  1. Define goals and strategies that map into the enterprise's overall business strategy and culture
    • (To be further structured and expanded)
  2. Create the organizational structure, appropriate to the organization(s), with the appropriate the decision rights (This may be across ownership domains)
    • (To be further structured and expanded)
  3. Formulate polices, processes and define the standards that are appropriate to the domain
    • (To be further structured and expanded)
  4. Define the metrics
    • (To be further structured and expanded)
  5. Put mechanisms into place that provides for the enforcement of policies and the ability to collect metrics
    • (To be further structured and expanded)
  6. Implement feedback and adjudication mechanisms that can adjust the existing policies as needed
    • (To be further structured and expanded)
  7. Execute and refine on an ongoing basis
    • (To be further structured and expanded)

10. Bone Yard

11. References

[1] Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Directorate for Financial, Fiscal and Enterprise Affairs, OECD Principles of Corporate Governance, SG/CG(99) 5 and 219, April 1999

[2] Harvard Business School Press, IT Governance: How Top Performers Manage IT Decision Rights for Superior Results, Peter Weill and Jeanne W. Ross, 2004

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