CIO Council starts wiki on architecture guidance

The CIO Council’s Architecture and Infrastructure Committee launched a wiki today asking for feedback from public- and private-sector experts on its draft “Practical Guide to Service-Oriented Architecture.”

The guide has been through several reviews and this likely is the final one, said Kshemendra Paul, the Office of Management and Budget’s chief architect.

“We wanted to get past sending a spreadsheet to agencies and then getting back a lot of comments,” he said today at the Object Management Group’s Government Days conference in Arlington, Va. “This is kind of a social media experiment.”

The SOA guide’s wiki will accept attributed and unattributed comments, but remarks made by experts who use their names will carry more weight, Paul added.

The wiki also is using the Open ID standard, which lets users log on to many different Web sites using a single username and password.

“We want people to read all the comments and add to the discussion groups,” Paul said. “The final decisions will be made by the governance board.”

This latest review cycle will end in by April 1, but Paul said the wiki, which the General Services Administration is hosting, likely will live on for future reviews. He added that Version 1 of the guidance should be out by late spring.

The current draft guidance includes five chapters and is 71 pages long. The rationale, target and implementation chapters are most important, Paul said.

The rationale chapter explains why SOA is important, including improving responsiveness, simplifying delivery of services and improving transparency, security and resilience.

The target chapter focuses on the three levels of SOA: service-oriented enterprise, service-oriented architecture and service-oriented infrastructure. The enterprise discusses governance and key cultural issues, which tend to be the most challenges aspects of making SOA work well.

The SOA portion focuses on modeling and the infrastructure portion looks at how SOA can run in an operational environment.

Paul said the keys to implementation are the heart of the document and encouraged users to read it.

“There are several generic SOA maturity models that currently exist and the road map section offers one, but agencies can use which ever model they choose,” he said. “You have to understand where you are now, where it fits into your governance structure and you need to ensure you have the right granularity to track results of SOA implementation.”

Paul also said the CIO Council is working on segment architecture guidance. A working group is collecting and analyzing best practices from several agencies, including the Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Justice departments in addition to the Human Resources Line of Business effort.

“We want to make it more straightforward to implement segment architectures,” Paul said. “The goal is to increase the value of segment architectures.”

The guidance will include methodology, training materials and templates for developing segment products.

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