Can Agile Really Work in Heavily Regulated IT Environments?
For the past several decades, Waterfall has been the leading software development methodology in heavily regulated IT environments. However, Waterfall’s popularity has declined in recent years as heavily regulated industries have increased acceptance of Agile software development practices. For example, the Federal government has released a number of recent publications and policy initiatives encouraging the use of Agile development practices and is establishing a new contract vehicle for Agile delivery services 1. The gradual emergence of Agile methodologies is encouraging for IT service providers looking for opportunities to leverage iterative development and delivery strategies to propel heavily regulated IT industries to the next level of efficiency. Waterfall vs. Agile There are a number of reasons that the government and other heavily regulated industries, such as health care, life sciences, energy and utilities, are shifting to Agile software development practices, but the major reason is likely the very low success…

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Net-Centricity: SOA in Battle
ZapThink recently conducted our Licensed ZapThink Architect Bootcamp course for a branch of the United States Department of Defense (DoD). As it happens, an increasing proportion of our US-based business is for the DoD, which is perfectly logical, given the strategic nature Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) plays for the DoD. SOA is so strategic, in fact, that SOA underlies how the DoD expects to achieve its mission in the 21st century — namely, defending US interests by presenting the most powerful military presence on the globe. Furthermore, the story of how SOA became so strategic for the DoD provides insight into the power of SOA for all organizations, both in the public and private sector. This story begins with the issue of complexity. The DoD, as you might imagine, is an organization of astounding complexity, perhaps the most complex organization in the world, save the US Federal Government itself of…

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SOA Zombies Gather At ZapForum Boston: Night Of The Living SOA Dead Event
SOA Zombies Gather at ZapForum Boston: Night of the Living SOA Dead Event ZapThink Evening Networking Event in Boston, MA – July 23, 2009   BALTIMORE, MD June 15, 2009 — On July 23, 2009 dozens of experts, pundits, and influential guests will gather in Boston, MA for an evening of networking and discussion on the topics of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Enterprise Architecture (EA). Open to public enrollment and attendance, the topic of discussion for the panel will be the recent news and discussion about the “Death of SOA.” Is SOA really dead? Is it dying? Or is it changing? And what about those that are currently doing something with SOA or even just interested in the topic? Are we the “living dead”?   As a way of encouraging dialogue, networking, and communication within the SOA and EA, ZapThink is hosts its evening ZapForum networking events throughout the…

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ZapThink Announces Release of Online, Computer-Based SOA Training
Baltimore, MD (PRunderground) May 21, 2009 — ZapThink today announces the availability of its online, computer-based Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) training and credentialing course. In this first-of-its-kind offering, attendees can get access to over 20 hours of self-paced video instruction and slides, online testing and evaluation, and opportunity to submit architectural exercises to ZapThink master architects for grading and assessment. Upon completion of the online course, attendees will receive the same LZA Credential that they would receive if they attended one of ZapThinks popular in-person training events. “Companies and individuals are looking for vendor-neutral, practical, in-depth training that is affordable and has minimal impact on their resources,” said Ronald Schmelzer, Managing Partner with ZapThink, LLC. “ZapThinkís new online, CBT courseware fits the bill. Individuals can sign up and get the same in-depth, hands-on SOA training that they’ve come to expect from ZapThink, but at their own…

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ZapThink Announces SOA for Managers Certification Course at IMPACT 2009
BALTIMORE, MD (PRunderground) March 26, 2009 — ZapThink announces today the availability of its SOA for Managers course co-located at IBM’s IMPACT 2009 conference in Las Vegas, NV on May 3, 2009. In this one-day course, attendees will get detailed guidance and expertise in how to implement and manage SOA with the latest best practices and methods. The one day event will feature Jason Bloomberg and Ronald Schmelzer, Managing Partners with ZapThink as lecturers and contributors. “Companies want to know how apply SOA best practices to enhance and optimize their existing investments in IT,” said Ronald Schmelzer, Managing Partner with ZapThink. “This one-day, practical event will give enterprises of all sizes, architecture practitioners, consulting firms, and technology vendors the best practices and practical implementation knowledge they are seeking.” Key topics addressed during the one-day event on May 3, 2009 in Las Vegas, NV include: Fundamentals of SOA Defining SOA Success…

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Goodbye 2008… Here we Come, 2009!
It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone, but with so much happening in 2008: global recession and economic stress, presidential elections, warfare and terrorism, natural disasters, and other happenings both good and bad, perhaps it’s good to shut the door quickly on this year and open up a new, more hopeful one. After all, it is at times of strife that sometimes the greatest successes emerge. And this is what we are hoping for in 2009: not just for the world at large, but for companies that adopt and implement the tenets of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). In this ZapFlash, as is our usual practice, we’ll take a look at some of the predictions we made for this year and see how they panned out, and make some new ones. We’ll scold ourselves for predictions that missed the mark, and of course, give ourselves kudos for the…

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SOA for Managers
Presentation for full-day SOA for Managers course offered with ISQT in Bangalore, India on October 17, 2008. Topics include SOA Fundamentals, Addressing SOA Organizational Challenges, SOA Intermediaries & Integration, SOA Infrastructure, SOA Project Management, SOA Governance, SOA Quality, and Service Composition, Business Process & SOBAS. 200 slide ppt in pdf format.[hide -2]Download File[/hide][hide +1]Subscribe Today to Get Access![/hide]…

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Investing in SOA in a Down Economy
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down another 600 points at the time of writing this ZapFlash. Banks, investment houses, and insurance firms are succumbing to a combination of tight credit markets and their own bad decision-making. Consumers are feeling the pinch at gas pumps, grocery stores, facing home foreclosures, and unable to get credit, and businesses are feeling the squeeze even more, laying off employees and unable to get credit they need to fund operations. Yes, the world is in a global recession and we’re probably just at the beginning of what can potentially go wrong. So, you’re probably thinking, now’s the time to pull up the stakes and cancel your ongoing investment in SOA and related IT efforts. After all, why bother investing in something as future-looking as SOA when you can’t even afford to keep the lights on? Right? Wrong. Businesses often go through a dysfunctional,…

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Contracts as an Organizational Approach to Alignment
One of the recurring themes in the ongoing development of Information Technology (IT) as a discipline is the concept of “business-IT alignment”. It’s surprising we even have a need to talk about business-IT alignment given that we don’t talk about business-finance alignment or business-sales alignment or business-anything else alignment. Why is it that IT needs a special alignment with business? Is the concept of business-IT alignment itself a smoke screen for selling products, services, consulting, and analysis that present little value to the organization? While it might be convenient to jump on the beat-your-vendor bandwagon, the sad truth is that IT does indeed need alignment with the business. No other function of the business (sales, marketing, finance, HR, supply chain, and manufacturing) can so easily get out of whack with the needs of the business and fall down the rabbit hole of spending without clear return than IT. When technologists…

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The Business Analyst vs. the Enterprise Architect
As adoption of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) spreads in the enterprise, one of the most notable trends in the market, other than introduction of new products and services, are changes to the organizational structure of businesses that are successful with SOA. In addition to the growth of Centers of Excellence (CoE) and competency centers focused on SOA, we’re also seeing a greater focus on enterprise architecture (EA) groups that lead and guide SOA initiatives across the organization. However, EA groups are not alone in trying to help meet the wide range of needs of the business with IT solutions. Indeed, before the discipline of EA got the visibility it has now, another part of the organization held sway with the business — business analysts. Business analysts serve an important role in the organization, helping to marry the needs of the business with the various capabilities and resources available to it.

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