Forrester prioritizes this first because it builds a foundation for other SOA governance practices. As the fulcrum of SOA, well-designed business service interfaces establish a strong foundation for business success with SOA. Poorly designed interfaces set you up for many challenges. Build service interface reviews into project plans whenever services are created (or updated). At review meetings, include staff members who can ensure that each SOA business service makes sense as a complete business unit of work (or technical unit of work, for SOA application services and SOA infrastructure services).
2. SOA service portfolio management
SOA business services embody your important business transactions and queries. Since you know what business you are in, you can plan for and (over time) build toward the coherent portfolio of business services that you need in order to do business (as opposed to a haphazard library built by project whims). All of our survey respondents doing SOA portfolio management were satisfied with SOA, even if they create only a "lightweight view of what services [they] eventually want." For example, one way to start is to gather five or six staff members who understand a given business domain and have the group spend an afternoon or a day answering the question, "What are the major business transactions and queries in this business domain?" Each of these is a candidate SOA business service. To shepherd your portfolio of candidate services going forward, identify an ongoing working team to periodically review existing and candidate services within each domain.
3. Application road maps and SOA opportunity reviews
Although sometimes you can prove SOA value within the context of a single project (e.g., a multichannel solution in which more than one user interface accesses the same functions), SOA more commonly delivers value across a portfolio of projects. Understanding your application road map provides a foundation for identifying how each project will contribute to your overall progress toward SOA maturity. Building an SOA opportunity review into your project planning, wherein SOA-qualified staff identify how (and how much) SOA to use on each project, can ensure that a strong architecture is built into your projects from the start, before the project budget is set.
4. SOA management as input to business insight