SOA Symposium – Closing business IT gaps

In this blogspost I’ll share a few thoughts I took from the afternoons sessions at the first day of SOA Symposium 2009.

The Techie Gap

Since architects, software engineers, and the like, are seen as techies (at least from a business perspective) Jaap Schekkerman argues that there is a gap between how these two populations actually use there brain. This is considered at least one of the reasons why IT projects fail.

But first let’s take a step back. Architecture is about:

  • Style
  • Functions – including aspects like adaptabillity and usefulness
  • Construction – including aspects like durability and maintenance

Business people having a dominant right brain style are mostly interested in Style, and sometimes in Functions. On the other hand, architects – being mostly on the left brain dominant side of the scale – seem to have a sweet spot for Construction. This sometimes expands to Functions.
Where right brainers favor “the broad picture”, and left brainers have an analytical “brain for details” (would have used heart, but feeling don’t seem to be their thing). There comes a gap because of different interests in their communication.

A solution for smaller projects
to bridge the gap is limit both scope and depth in meetings, and other interactions between these groups.

A more profound solution that is given by Jaap Schekkerman is to use a “Real Enterprise Architect”. Where he defines the role of an Enterprise Architect as:

To be a business and IT communicator.

A person in this role as he sees it has a very broad set of skills and capabilities.

Fundamentals never go out of style – Grady Booch

Grady Booch was very kind to join us via Second Life at a time that he would normally be sleeping (OK; it is an assumption from my side that he would love to sleep at 04:00 in the morning). Fortunately he still managed to give a interesting keynote.

Here are some quotes that I recognised from my own experience:

All architecture is design; not all design is architecture.

Architecture is about all the decisions that are made during a creation process. In this process thousands of small and larger choices are made. It is easy to see, how this can lead to the following:

Most architectures are accidently; Some architectures are intentionally.

With these statements in the back of our head it is good to see that fundamentals keep offering solutions. Here are some classics that can give you guidance:

  • Use crisp abstractions
  • Aim at a clear separation of concerns
  • Distribute responsabilities
  • Simplicity is the key

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