While reading blogs, IT newspapers and other media, I encounter a lot of nonsense about software development, software processes and software quality management. During the Presentation Zen session at the Agile Open 2006 unconference, Willem mentioned the idea of starting a presentation with a slide with just Bullshit on it, which will definitely catch the attention of the audience. I think SOA and Web 2.0 are good bullshit concepts. Last week, I read two examples:The first one was a short article in the NRC Next newspaper of Monday May 8th about Web 2.0. It is very badly written: it looks like the author heard something about Web 2.0, googled a bit, found a few words and phrases in blogs, and wrote the article without doing proper research.
She mentions Ajax and Ruby on Rails (not really relevant for the audience of the newspaper) and also mentions the don’t repeat yourself and convention over configuration principles, but only to make the point that together the abbreviations read DRY COC (sigh).
The other publication was a blog entry (in Dutch) about service oriented architecture (SOA) and the need for standardization of business process modelling languages. A quote (translation is mine):
A way to become more ‘agile’ is using a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). A SOA offers business processes in models instead of joining these in many lines of code in your software. The idea is simple: the business can react quickly to changes by modifying business models themselves instead of the introvert IT organisation that needs 3 months of development time.
SOA as a means for business to make their own changes instead of depending on the IT department for that? Where have I heard that before? This idea keeps popping up every few years in IT – COBOL, SQL, 4GL, and now SOA… by the way, SOA is the Dutch abbreviation for sexually transmittable disease…
The blog entry also mentions some relevant concerns: business needs to become more customer driven; the IT department responds too slow for business. But if that’s the problem, SOA and business process model standardization aren’t the solution in my opinion. Try lean and agile principles instead, use e.g. pull and flow to get processes organized around the value stream – in the end, it’s about delivering value to the customer, isn’t it? It’s actually quite simple … but definitely not easy!