SOA projects suffered at times from the usual project culprits – a fatalistically long ‘long view,’ feature bloat, scope creep and just an overall case of boil-the-ocean ambition. Somewhere along the way BPM stepped up and began seeding a great many smaller projects carefully designed to pay off fairly quickly. Where services were in place, these BPM projects had a potentially longer useful life span. Either way, the notion of incremental advance began to take hold in SOA as well as BPM.
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Vendors supporting BPM and SOA are taking notice. For one, late last year, BPM mainstay Pegasystems Inc. looked to codify some of the Agile practices it was seeing in BPM engagements. Pegasystems already had a unique Project Management Framework offering in place for organizing BPM efforts – in October, it added Scrum modules to its framework. Quick iterations are the by-word with Scrum.
Development methods need to be iterative “to have a ghost of a chance to know how [a BPM system] will ultimately work,” said Stephen Zisk, BPM Product Marketing Manager at Pegasystems.
“BPM development needs to be iterative and predictive – that is the core of Scrum,” he said. He told SearchSOA.com the addition of a Scrum project template to the Project Management Framework supports Scrum down to the level of “story points.” APIs exist that let users tie project artifacts into existing code management systems or repositories.
Zisk’s overall advice for people newly embracing BPM is to start with a small project, but know where you are going with future BPM projects. The number of users involved in the system can be a guide to scope. “Start with a limed amount of users,” Zisk said.