Time to Stop Laying Blame for IT's Failure?


I'll be honest with you-I've got a cold, possibly the flu, I'm recovering from surgery and I just don't have the strength to rehash the responses to Anne Thomas Manes' Declaration of SOA's Death.


Not that I haven't followed them-I have. And their numbers are legion. I've even got a few favorites-Miko Matsumura renamed his SOA Center blog to the "SOA or Whatever Center" at-check it out-whatevercenter.com. And who didn't love the suggestion we start referring to SOA as "The Architecture Formerly Known as SOA," aka Prince? Matsumura credits ZapThink analyst Ron Schmelzer with that one.


It's just that, well, you know-most of them boil down to "is not/is too," as in "SOA was a bunch of analyst hype anyway" (is, too!) or SOA is an architectural style and can't die (is not!). Neither, by the way, really speak to Manes' original point that SOA is dead as a business initiative, despite the fact it's still a good plan to build your architecture-based services.


Anyway, if you're looking for a summary of the responses, Manes has already posted one, along with an elaboration on what she really meant, both on her personal blog (which, incidentally, specifically mentions yours truly -- go me!) and the Burton Group blog.


No, I come not to bury SOA-or resurrect it or even rehash its death-but to praise Mike Kavis, who boldly points out that fault, dear IT, was not in the SOA but in ourselves.


Kavis, aka Mad Greek, is an independent consultant, CTO for M-Dot and a blogger at IT Toolbox. In a response to Manes' SOA obit, Kavis raised the question, "Did SOA die or do we just suck at architecture?" If it's the latter, then the problem won't end with SOA, he writes:

"As much as I agree with Anne's article, I fear that the attention will now shift towards the next exciting technologies like mashups, cloud computing, Saas, and others and we will repeat our mistakes. Two years from now we will be blogging about the death of cloud computing and mashups if we don't take a step back and review our lessons learned. When you boil it down, what is the real problem here? In my opinion, we suck at architecture!"

He then lists a no-nonsense, cut-to-the-bone series of reasons why IT stinks at architecture, and, even though it might hurt your pride, I think all techies could benefit from a look at what he says IT does wrong. You should read the full text on his blog, but for those short on time, here's the main list, stripped of its explanations but in Kavis' own words:

  1. We thinks process is a bad thing and just slows us down.
  2. We're impatient.
  3. We don't understand what an architect really is.
  4. We don't understand what architecture really is.
  5. We lose sight of the value and argue semantics.
  6. We lack leadership skills and emotional intelligence.


Fortunately, he isn't just ranting. He does have offer one concrete suggestion: Invest in enterprise architecture as a discipline. Learn about enterprise architect frameworks.


I think his point is valid. It's easy to blame the three-letter acronym, the vendors, the analysts, the hype cycle, but maybe, just maybe, our fate isn't in the cloud but in ourselves.