Monday, October 19, 2009

Planning and Scheduling SOA/BPM Development - DO NOTS!

Jonathan Machules, Technology Director

As the momentum and understanding of BPM and SOA has increased, the projects have followed. IBM WebSphere Process Server and ESB (WPS/WESB) are common products that organizations start with when moving towards BPM/SOA/Web services. Many organizations are new to this type of SDLC. This discussion is in the context of my experience on WPS/WESB projects and certainly can be applied to other workflow and ESB products/technologies.

  • Delay Data Model and Data Design efforts
  • Plan integration validation between systems/apps/services scheduled toward the end of the project
  • Assume a Sr. Developer with no experience on WPS/WESB will design/develop a functioning application
DO NOT Delay Data Model and Data Design efforts. The reality here is that in development there are more than likely to be changes to the data model. Some will impact your Service Message Interfaces and create a domino effect on the Consumers of that data in design and development. Try to plan as much up front as possible and reduce the costs of changes the must happen later in the SDLC.

DO NOT plan integration validation between systems/apps/services toward the end of the development SDLC. On one recent project the customer was not familiar with WPS/WESB or integration projects in general. They planned all their integration testing toward the end of the SDLC in the Testing Phase. I am not saying integration testing shouldn’t be done in the testing phase but it should NOT be planned at the end of the SDLC. A common project plan will include a ‘Vertical Slice’, ‘Prototype’, ‘Wire-frame’ or whatever term you are familiar with, the has goal to validate the integration of the various systems early on in the SDLC.

DO NOT assume a Sr. Developer with no experience on WPS/WESB will design and develop a functioning platform. WPS/WESB are enterprise platforms that have multiple layers of technologies (e.g. Java, JEE, BPEL, WS, XML, XSLT, etc…). As a proud successful Sr Developer you may very well be able to create an application on these platforms that functions in non-production environment. However, there are number of nuisances that impact performance that should be addressed by design patterns depending on the requirements. Large business is one concern that comes to mind. Acceptable object size is dependent on business transaction volume, CPU Architecture, RAM, HEAP and other dependencies. Design patterns to deal with large business objects can be applied thus giving you better performance.

WPS/WESB is a product I’ve worked with extensively. It has seen major enhancements and improvements on usability/consumability but this doesn’t mean anyone can create a well functioning app.

Jonathan Machules first joined Prolifics as a Consultant, and is currently a Technology Director specializing in SOA, BPM, UML and IBM's SOA-related technologies. He has 12 years experience in the IT field — 2 of those years at Oracle as a Support Analyst and 10 years in Consulting. Jon is a certified IBM SOA Solution Designer, Solutions Developer, Systems Administrator and Systems Expert. Recent speaking engagements include IMPACT on SOA End-to-End Integration in 2007 and 2008, and SOA World Conference on SOA and WebSphere Process Server in 2007.