What does getting in shape have to do with SOA governance technology?

There are no get-fit-quick devices in SOA and SOA governance: 'A fool with a tool, is still a fool.'

Loraine Lawson does her normal great job in rounding up and making sense of the opinions out there, this time around my last post covering the fact that in some instances SOA governance technology can be a distraction.

This suggests to me that there are more important questions to consider with SOA governance than when you should start. For instance, ask who's driving SOA governance (you or the technology tool)? Where should you begin (the report provides a hint that it should be with securing executive business support)? And what steps should you take now to support long-term success?

I urge you to read the entire post, wherein she looks at what I and others are saying about all this. It seems that basically we're somewhat in agreement.

Just to be clear, this is not about SOA governance as a best practice, this is about SOA governance as a technology or tool. Indeed, the use of this technology too early, before you've figured out your own problem domain, can be problematic.

Moreover, as I've pointed out a few times before, many of those tools are not ready for prime time, including some design-time SOA governance tools out there. Not just my take on things, but that of many other consultants and end-users out in the SOA battleground as well. It's almost like the use of CASE technology back in the day. It was no substitute for good design approaches and domain understanding; the same can be said about this very issue. You remember the phrase "A fool with a tool, is still a fool."

The best analogy I can think of is getting in shape. There are really no shortcuts, and in order to lose weight and tone up, you have to understand your own issues, as well as put together a plan that requires you to spend more time in the gym and eat the right foods. However, that path requires a great deal of effort and discipline, and you may consider those get-fit-quick devices on the late-night infomercials as a much easier path to the same results. But are they?

The end result is you spend four months with the Thigh Master and the Abdominizer and have made little progress. While the technology promised quick results and seemed easier than doing the "real work," the reality is somewhat more sobering. There are just no shortcuts to SOA and SOA governance. So, get your people and process issues solved first, focus on understanding, define your approach, and then look for any helpful technology.

I'm going out for a run.