The Open Group announced TOGAF 9 a couple of days ago in San Diego.
WHAT better occasion to start a new blog on business and technology than the first full-blown public enterprise architecture framework? As a TOGAF veteran and one of the first to certify back in 2004 I’ve been deeply involved with TOGAF for many years and particularly interested to see how the long-awaited TOGAF 9 would turn out.
TOGAF 9 is a major step forward for enterprise architecture. For the first time, TOGAF 9 puts out a complete enterprise architecture framework to the public, covering the full spectrum of the content to describe it, the process to do it and capability needed to enable it.
For many years, companies have turned to frameworks like Zachman and others for guidance on achieving control and flexibility of their business and technology landscapes, only to find that these frameworks are incomplete and each with a specific focus. Companies has been left to ‘mix and match to suit their needs’ (Randy Heffner, Forrester), ‘just choose one and use it’ (Bruce Robertson, Gartner), or in reality often buying consultants or simply stop using enterprise architecture as strategy.
Not any more. Now, TOGAF 9 offers a one-stop shop that makes significantly easier for enterprises to adopt and realise the benefits of enterprise architecture.
A new, best-in-class content framework
The single biggest news about TOGAF is a new, mature, well-defined architecture content framework of 170 pages, built on the experience of major systems integrators through hundreds of architecture projects.
TOGAF is traditionally best known for the Architecture Development Method (ADM) shown as a ‘crop circle’ diagram, and often used along with other frameworks like Zachman for describing the content. Now, with the new TOGAF framework companies have the opportunity to say “Never mind” Zachman and those other frameworks, and just stick with TOGAF for the entire work on enterprise architecture.
This TOGAF Architecture Content Framework (ACF) is a major step forward for enterprise architecture, bringing companies closer to achieve the increased control and flexibility of business and technology landscapes that EA is meant to create.
Guidance on applying TOGAF
Another downside with all those architecture frameworks are in many cases the lack of guidance on how to actually use them. It is great that you can classify all the outputs into some 6×6 matrix, but how do you actually apply that to solve strategic business issues?
With TOGAF 9, many of the bits and pieces of advice previously scattered around the documentation has been put together in a separated part of the documentation and then expanded with guidance on handling the TOGAF architecture development method (ADM) flexibly for different situations:
- Apply iteration and working on specific parts of the architecture development process with different stakeholders, possibly at the same time
- Apply the ADM at different enterprise levels for different types of architecture engagements from strategy to implementation and at different times along the roadmap towards the to-be architecture
- Integrate security and specific methods, views throughout the phases of the architecture development method
- Define and govern SOAs using the concepts of TOGAF.
While no guidance can ever stand alone and the only way to build an architecture capability is to deeply understand, apply and practice the underlying concepts of this discipline, the guidance in TOGAF 9 is certainly enough to get architects started off in the right direction of using TOGAF to address important business issues using enterprise architecture.
A ‘modular’ structure
Finally, TOGAF 9 rearranges the different parts of the TOGAF documentation into a more ‘modular’ structure, and adds further detail to some of these seven parts:
- The content framework and as well as the guidelines on using the ADM are each put in their own, new sections
- Many of the various TOGAF ‘resources’ around governance, skills etc. are put together in a separate section and developed further into a ‘capability framework’.
These are the major changes to the document, put to market by The Open Group as a ‘modular’ structure where each part can be developed independently. While this is maybe a bit over the top, a clear document structure certainly an enabler for production and could result in more frequent publishing than we have seen with TOGAF since version 8 in 2002 and 8.1 in 2003.
Never mind the architecture frameworks – stick to TOGAF 9 for content as well as process.
Of course, in a full enterprise-class framework some areas are bound not to be fully defined in the first release. Notably, the concepts of the new content framework are not fully worked out through the other parts of the documentation yet; and developing the various parts of TOGAF independently might prevent the full integration between them, potentially undermining the strength of a full framework.
But the key message remains clear: TOGAF 9 presents the first public enterprise architecture framework to cover the full spectrum of content, process and capabilities needed, as well as guidance on how to use it to address specific scenarios such as SOA, security.