SOA Governance is about the governance of the three fundamental elements of SOA, namely, services, components and flows. So we are governing the process, the artifacts around services, components and flows. In the SOMA Method, the SOA Method used to model, analysis design services, components and flows, we identify, specify and realize these elements.
This relates to the monitoring of these elements throughout the life-cycle; putting in control and check points and policies around corrective action as we develop these.
Governance seeks to ensure adherence to/compliance with policy along the execution of a set of process steps that may start from the manual/human aspects of the life-cycle and continue onward into the runtime enviironment. It often accomplishes this goal by planning and instituting a set of check points or control points where process results are cross checked/validated with a set of standards (including permissible alternatives) as defined by policy.
SOA Governance sees to it that these elements are relevant to the organization (vitality), are being reviewed and validated by stakeholders and being communicated within the organization as the service model is being constructed within the life-cycle.
The governance of the service life-cycle is necessary to ensure that the needs of the business is supported by a set of flexibly re-composable IT services or components.
In order to do so, there needs to be policies, principles, checkpoints, reviews put into place from a process perspective; the execution of this is delegated to management Run-time governance of SOA on the other hand involves runtime monitoring of events and service execution to ensure compliance with the qualities of service declaratively defined by SOA policies.