API Governance Models in the Public and Private Sectors: Part 1
Join us as the API Evangelist, Kin Lane, shares a detailed report concerning the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and its wish to understand API governance.
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This is part one of an eight-part series on the Department of Veterans Affairs microconsulting project, “Governance Models in Public and Private Sector.” Providing an overview of API governance to help the VA, “understand, with the intention to adopt, best practices from the private and public sector, specifically for prioritizing APIs to build, standards to which to build APIs, and making the APIs usable by external consumers.” Pulling together several years of research conducted by industry analyst API Evangelist, as well as phone interviews with API practitioners from large enterprise organizations who are implementing API governance on the ground across the public and private sector, conducted by Skylight Digital.
We’ve assembled this report to reflect the interview conversations we had with leaders from the space, helping provide a walkthrough of the types of roles and software architecture being employed to implement governance at large organizations. Then, we walk through governance as it pertains to identifying possible APIs, developing standards around the delivery of APIs, how organizations are moving APIs into production, as well as presenting them to their consumers. Wrapping up with an overview of formal API governance details, as well as an acknowledgment that most API governance is rarely ever a fully formed initiative at this point in time. Providing a narrative for API governance, with a wealth of bulleted elements that can be considered, and assembled in the service of helping govern the API efforts across any large enterprise.
Roles Within an Organization
There are many roles being used by organizations who are leading the conversation around the delivery of high quality, industry-changing APIs. Defining the personalities that are needed to make changes across large organizations when it comes to delivering APIs consistently at scale. While there may be many names for the specific roles leading the charge, it is clear that these people are bringing a unique blend of skills to an organization, with an emphasis in a couple of key areas:
- Leadership — Providing leadership for teams when it comes to APIs.
- Innovation — A focus on innovation using APIs across the organization.
- Communication — Facilitating communication across all teams, and projects.
- Advisory — Acting as an advisor to existing leadership and management.
- Strategy — Helping existing teams develop, evolve, and realize their strategy.
- Success — Focusing on helping existing teams be successful when it comes to APIs.
- Architect — Bringing a wide variety of software architectural skills to the table.
- Coaching — Being a coach to existing teams, and decision makers across the organization.
Bringing together a unique set of skills that range from the technical to deep knowledge of the business domain, into a concentrated, although sometimes distributed effort to bring change across an organization using APIs. Along with these roles, many large organizations are investing in new types of structure to help develop talent, take charge of new ideas, and move forward the enterprise-wide API strategy with a handful of common characteristics:
- Labs — Treating API efforts as if it is a laboratory creating new experiments.
- Center — Making it a center for API thinking, ideation, and for access to information.
- Centralized — Keeping all efforts in a single group or organization within a larger entity.
- Distributed — Emphasis on keeping API knowledge distributed and not centralized at all.
- Global — Acknowledging that APIs will need to be a global initiative for larger organizations.
- Excellence — Focusing on the organization bring excellence to how APIs are delivered.
- Embedded — Making sure there is API knowledge and expertise embedded in every group.
Combing a unique set of skills and personalities into a focused organization that takes the reins when it comes to leading API change and digital transformation at an organization. While many of these efforts emphasize a center or centralized presence, many are also realizing the importance of embedded and distributed approaches, ensuring that talent and ideas grow within existing teams and are not seen as just some new, external, isolated group or initiative.
There clearly is not a single role or organizational structure that brings success to API efforts at scale across the enterprise, however, there are clear patterns being applied in the early stages that can be emulated. Helping ensure that API knowledge and expertise is available and accessible by all groups across an organization and all its geographic regions, ensuring that the entire enterprise is part of the conversation and moving forward in unison.
Stay tuned for part two: Software Architecture Design.
Published at DZone with permission of Kin Lane, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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