SOA Governance: importance and main components

agosto 24, 2015



The most frequent issues that organizations face when implementing a SOA initiative are related with problems with the governance and control of the execution of the project. This is why it is critical to have a well-defined and functional SOA Governance system within the SOA initiative to succeed. Some of the issues are:

  • Uncontrolled growth of the number of services
  • Not reusable services and redundant services
  • Lack of metrics to calculate ROI
  • Unstandardized service design and development
  • High cost of services maintenance

SOA Governance vs Government, Methodology and Management

Before introducing the SOA governance concept, it is important to differentiate itself from others. First, Government is a logic group of roles and people that has the authority to take decisions over a organizational system. While on the other hand, the governance provides a framework to make decisions which determinates how these decisions should be taken within an organization. Finally the methodology is a group of processes and rules that follow this framework defined by the governance and the management is the group of people that execute these tasks and processes.

A SOA governance system is a group of controls, processes and methods that provide a systematic way to make decisions during a SOA initiative in order to achieve the expected goals, effectiveness, ROI and agility of the SOA project and to avoid the mentioned issues.

SOA Governance main components

The SOA governance system should be based on the organization characteristics, business and service-orientation maturity. So it is important to do a good SOA assessment of the organization to define the correct SOA governance system. This system should contain at least the following recommended components:

  1. SOA Governance Controls: These are the building blocks of the governance system.
  • Precepts – define the rules that govern decision-making.
  • Roles – people that assume roles to make decisions based on precepts.
  • Processes – coordinate people and precept-related decision-making activities.
  • Metrics – measure compliance to precepts. [1]

These building blocks will control and constrain decision-making during the SOA initiative lifecycle by the application of standards and definition of processes.

  1. SOA Project Lifecycle: Guides the definition of the common and primary stages (or phases) related to SOA projects and the overall service lifecycle. [2] During these stages the management will involve the defined roles and execute the corresponding processes.
  2. SOA Vitality Framework: Since the governance system may lose effectiveness during the execution of the initiative, is necessary to monitor the vitality of the SOA governance system and apply fixes to keep it up to date and functional.
  3. Service Registry Standards: The service registry is a key aspect in any SOA project. So it is very important in the SOA governance system to define the information that the registry should contain and how this information should be managed and updated during the project execution.
  4. Change Management Process: This process contains the definition of how the changes should be approved, managed and implemented within the execution of the SOA initiative or project.


The most frequent reason why SOA initiatives fail is problems with the governance and control of the project. This is why the SOA Governance system is critical for any SOA initiative to succeed and it should defined considering the organization characteristics and goals. The main components of the system are SOA Governance Controls, SOA Project Lifecycle, SOA Vitality Framework, Service Registry Standards and Change Management Process but others may be added based on organizational or project needs.

[1] SOA Governance: Governing Shared Services On-Premise and in the Cloud – Thomas Earl.