EdLovesJava: ECM-SOA With Agile Attitude:
The first challenge is to think of our tooling as not a custom application, but more as a set of adaptable services, applications and integrations. This requires a change of thought.
Our previous efforts were to drop a monolithic application called a Content Manager into the middle of things, and then propose to change the business process around this application, ostensibly obsoleting the existing applications and ad-hoc processing to customizations within this new application.
During our previous attempt, we underwent a lengthy analysis phase and generated a 500 page requirements document detailing taxonomies, content types, work flows and templates that would solve our content management (web content management) needs. We then spent lots of time and treasure implementing these requirements. In the end, we built some of the requirements taking far longer and far more resources than anticipated, and we found that most the requirements and subsequently most of the customizations we built were wrong. The heroic content managers and brand managers made it work anyway, developing more ad-hoc, complicated and time consuming steps around yet another application that was supposed to help them. This story is not unique.
We must shift our processes as much as our technology. We are focusing on smaller efforts, more agility and more feedback and move away from 500 page requirements documents. To do this successfully, our architecture also needs to be agile and amenable to change. Our architecture must be a framework to grow on: to grow useful services, and to grow and integrate with useful applications. It must follow user demand that learns from using and refining our processes and tools.