SOA and Project Management

We’ve discussed the impact of enterprise services and Enterprise SOA on a number of occasions (in many of the links collected here and here especially).  My focus has been on complexity and how Enterprise SOA is part of the transition where “every project becomes a program”.

One of the little discussed impacts — on project managers, that is — is the increased interaction among business process experts, business users, and technical teams.  Demir Barlas has a link rich post on the SOA in SAP topic here.  I had seen some of these links before (Dennis’s post in Demir’s quote below), but Demir has pulled together other good links that serve as primers on the topic.

The impact of SOA on project management practices is alluded to in Demir’s last full paragraph:

Finally, because SOA is right at the heart of both business processes and enterprise applications, it brings together what you might call the suits and the geeks. SOA is making these disparate communities speak each other’s languages, as you can discover on SAP’s BPX forum.

In particular, project managers must dedicate more attention to their stakeholder management practices.  Many of these stakeholder groups are new to SAP projects.  As Demir notes, they don’t speak the same language.  Business and transactional users also have very different expectations about how the project should engage their time and attention.

Before you manage your next SAP Enterprise SOA project, take a few minutes to poke around on SDN and BPX to get a feel for the discussions.

Project debriefs…the Army way

Nice post on after-action reviews (AARs, or what we call reviews or debriefs) by Ed Kless at VeraSage.  Ed relates the experience of an United States Army officer in his class (post here).  I especially liked two points:

At AARs all personnel remove their hats. This signifies that in the AAR there is no rank. Insubordination is not possible.

While there is no rank, junior ranks are encouraged to speak first. Often times they are the ones who see the problems and therefore possible solutions more clearly.

Also, Ed’s student provided a copy of the U.S. Army’s manual (here).

Hat tip: Dennis Howlett

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