bit sparse. Through the binoculars, we think that we see green trees on the other side. And, at least, there is a river down there. Hmmm. Maybe we should give it a shot. And, even if we never make it all the way to the other side, we can still follow the river on downstream to new lands that we haven't even dreamed of.
Agile Is As Agile Does
All right! I never said that there wasn't a pony in the pile. I just think that it is undignified to jump into the pile head-first. It is a really big pile. There has got to be a better way of finding the pony. I believe that the extension of agile principles to program management is the best and only way to do pile management and pony development for SOA.
Agile program management is:
- Explicitly goal-directed and sub goal-structured - acknowledging the stages of maturation that are needed to reach interim and ultimate goals.
- Business value-focused in its goals, its progress measures, and its deliverables - emphasizing that working systems are the primary measure-of-progress and deliverables.
- Feedback-driven and adaptive in its planning and execution processes - featuring regular and frequent assessment of progress-to-goal (i.e., at least quarterly for a three to five year program).
- Incremental implementation and refinement - where the essential philosophy is to implement the adequate, refactor to the good and evolve toward the perfect.
- Stakeholder-oriented and role-based - ensuring that all of the parties with vested interests in the status quo and in change are represented and engaged in the process.
Finally, if we do find a pony, will it be the perfect pony of our dreams? Not bloody likely! But, it is likely to be a real pony. A flesh and blood little workhorse that, though it produces a lot of manure, also hauls a lot of freight.
 Schwaber, Ken & Beedle, Mike, Agile Software Development with Scrum , Prentice-Hall, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2002, pp. 24-25.
 A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge , Project Management Institute, Newtown Square, PA, 2000, section 1.2 "What is a Project?".
About the Author
Al Goerner has been on both sides of the Web Services/SOA world, as both a vendor and a consumer/provider. He has been Chief Architect at two companies, one that built a first-generation Web Services infrastructure product for business-to-business integration and at another which built message filtering and secure communication services. Today, Al is Director of Product Development and Intellectual Property in the Skill Development division at Valtech Technologies Inc. ( http://www.valtech.com/). He works with clients on agile methods & processes, object-oriented analysis and design and object- and service-oriented architecture.