Posted on 02-27-2013
There is a great post by Lorinda Brandon (@lindybrandon) of SmartBear on ProgrammableWeb today called Governance vs Innovation: Do They Have to be Enemies?. She continues a conversation, from API Strategy & Practice around the word "governance", and how in the API space, this is often considered a bad word.
I was moderating the questions for Alistair Farquharson (@afarqu) CTO of SOA Software, when Irakli Nadareishvili (@inadarei) of NPR actually agreed that it is a bad word and asked if we need to evolve beyond it and not embrace it. I totally agree with Lorinda's approach to walking the line between governance and innovation, and look forward to more discussion around how to analyze API vs SOA principles within the enterprise--striking a balance that works for each individual approach.
To help stimulate this conversation I wanted to break down the word, governance. In the context of IT, governance is:
a concept used for activities related to exercising control over services in a service-oriented architecture (SOA). The definitions of SOA governance agree in its purpose of exercising control, but differ in the responsibilities it should have. Some narrow definitions focus on imposing policies and monitoring services, while other definitions use a broader business-oriented perspective
With general definitions being:
- the persons who make up a body for the purpose of administering something
- the act of governing; exercising authority
I think the illness around the word, when it is applied to APIs becomes clear when you start looking at the synonyms:
- Governance - administration, authority, bureaucracy, command, control, direction, domination, dominion, empire, execution, executive, guidance, influence, jurisdiction, law, ministry, patronage, political practice, politics, polity, power, powers-that-be, predominanc
- Management - administration, care, charge, command, conduct, control, direction, governance , government, guidance, handling, intendance, manipulation, operation, oversight, rule, superintendence, superintendency, supervision
- Regulation - adjustment, administration, arrangement, classification, codification, control, coordination, direction, governance , governing, government, guidance, handling, management, moderation, modulation, reconciliation, regimentation, reorganization, settlement, standardization, superintendence, supervision, systematization, tuning
Let's separate the potentially bad synonyms:
And the good synonyms:
I feel both power and standardization could be both good or evil, so I put in both categories. But overall you can begin to understand how governance is viewed in negative light in the API approach. People see it more about power and control, rather than the healthy aspects introduced API innovation.
In my opinion, this word reflects on why API works in more scenarios than strict SOA. Too much control can stifle innovation, and if you are controlling for all the wrong reasons, it can be even worse. APIs require a certain amount of oxygen to grow and evolve before it can achieve a level of innovation, which is an aspect some business leaders have trouble grasping.
Irakli and I both agreed that we need a new word, something that reflects the bottom up of API, not the top down control of SOA. Any ideas for a word that can keep be applied in a healthy way, but can institute many of the positive aspects of governance, without the potential innovation killing power and control?
comments powered by Disqus
Winning in the API Economy
|Download as PDF|
Latest Blog Posts
- Some Advice For The Enterprise When Beginning Your API Journey
- Machine Readable API Definition Format Swagger Matures to 2.0
- How Do We Continue Moving Green Button Data And APIs Forward?
- Beyond Public APIs In Government: Internal Access to Resources
- Can You Show Me The ROI On All Of This API Stuff Before We Commit
- In The Future APIs Will Be Default For All Cities
- No Public APIs Are Not Going Away Just Cause A Few BigCos Fumble At It
- Internal API Search Engine For Everyone At Your Company (Not Just Developers)
- If You Need Assistance With Your Healthcare API Strategy I Have The Person
- Explaining APIs To Senior Leadership: Access To Company Resources Without The IT Hassle
- A Conversation With @ijroth, @dorkitude, @antonyfalco, and @medjawii In The Next Generation API Stack Panel @APIStrat
- API Evangelist Thoughts On The Right To An API Key And Algorithmic Organizing
- Explaining APIs To Your Senior Leadership
- An API Evangelism Strategy To Map The Global Family Tree
- Thank You For Your API Evangelist Blog(s)
- Video From The Hypermedia Panel At API-Craft In Detroit Last Month
- Please Open Source Your API Before Shutting It Down
- Explaining My Work Around APIs In Higher Education To Institutions
- You Can Have An API Just By Choosing Products And Services That Have APIs
- Using Excel As An API Datasource And An API Client For The Masses
- Brewing Up Something Awesome With The Jive Software API
- Relationship Between APIs And Containers
- Real-time and Visualizations Will Be Key in Financial API Deployments
- Notification Focused Startups Within Leading API Ecosystems
- APIs That Do One Thing And Do It Well Like ZipLocate