Thursday, November 02, 2006


I spent the good part of yesterday at Innotech here in Austin as an attendee and have great things to report on my end. I thoroughly enjoyed my first session from Ciber on implementing SOA geared toward CEO's and executives. I scanned the room and realized I was probably the only person listening who could sing the lyrics to an entire N'Sync song. Originally I attended for the sole purpose of honoring my registration with them, for a free pass to the conference, but obligation definitely turned into a great learning opportunity.

The speaker, Dr. Khalid Mansour, did a wonderful job of presenting and certainly said a handful of things that added significantly to my understanding of Service Oriented Architecture. What struck a chord with me however wasn't his explanation of coupling, or reuse, or the importance of data, but rather his sidebar on the importance of a cohesive team during every phase from planning the roadmap to implementing the best practices. I got excited because that is precisely where I come in and have the potential to make a contribution to a service that is proven to add significant value to a business.

There was a time when I had the naive misconception that recruiting was a matter of matching skill sets to a well written job description. There are definitely industries that support this emphasis on sourcing, but as Dr. Mansour stated, successful SOA project aren't solely about finding candidates who know the language, database, or middleware the project requires. What is the stick in the spokes of this cut and dry method you ask? I would argue complacency. There is a world full of really smart people who simply walk around going through the motions without a passion or pursuit in the world. These candidates are excellent fits for certain positions that rely heavily on consistency and predictability, but from what I have gathered, that isn't the nature of SOA projects.

I think where the harmony comes is when each teammate respects the fervor of the person sitting next to them. They may not agree 100%, but they know their colleague has given serious consideration to what is coming out of their mouth, so odds are they're going to listen and respond back with equally thought provoking material. I definitely am still learning tips on determining early on who these people are by the questions I ask. Ideally I would love to get to the point where I can have a conversation with a candidate who may not be a perfect fit for the requirement I am working on, but can consistently direct them to companies, industries, and teams where they will thrive. In the mean time, I look forward to any insight into what I can do now to lay the ground work to get there.

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