TOGAF, TOGAF, TOGAF!

The 9th version of The Open Group’s Architecture Framework (aka TOGAF 9) was launched in February, after a lengthy 6 year gestation period, to an eagerly waiting audience of architects and wannabes of every description. So I jumped at the opportunity to go on our TOGAF 9 training course, in order to find out just what the fuss is all about.
Before going any further, I have two key points of disclosure (confession) to make, as follows:
1. Capgemini is a platinum member of The Open Group, and a key contributor to the specification of this version of TOGAF
2. I am a practicing / certified architect in Capgemini’s leading Integrated Architecture Framework (IAF)
In effect, I’d like to think that this places me on both sides of the pros / cons divide; and hopefully enables me to provide a relatively un-biased (and personal) opinion of TOGAF 9.

My overall impression, at the end of the five day course, was that TOGAF 9 is indeed a comprehensive and well rounded architecture framework that is suitable for developing and implementing any Enterprise Architecture solution / capability for most organizations. This may be best illustrated by our final day’s workshop in which we tried to articulate the value of TOGAF 9 by answering certain key questions, including:
What is Enterprise Architecture (EA)?
Based on Capgemini’s extensive experience of delivering enterprise architecture, our approach to EA is centered on value management, which may be surmised as: “Valuable enterprise architecture delivers agreed outcomes, at the agreed times, to the agreed stakeholders” . Furthermore Gartner has identified the evolving role of EA can be encapsulated into five categories of activity which any true enterprise architect must embrace / participate / contribute, as follows: 1. Strategy, 2. Architecture, 3. Leadership, 4. Governance and 5. Communication. These and other aspects of EA are demonstrably supported by TOGAF 9
So what does TOGAF 9 bring to EA?
In addition to the above, TOGAF 9 also brings the following key attributes to the table:

    1. An open and well structured approach to enterprise architecture – TOGAF is by definition free and open to be used by any enterprise. It is not proprietary or restricted to any one company or group of entities, and this should help towards its establishment as the premier Architecture Standard for most enterprises
    2. The Architecture Development Method (ADM) provides a well defined process for developing / implementing architecture for the enterprise. The process centric approach is a key selling point for TOGAF, and it also helps to provide hooks into other well established enterprise frameworks / standards (e.g. PRINCE, PMI, CMMI, ITIL etc.)
    3. The Architecture Content Framework (ACF) provides a well developed content meta-model for defining the enterprise architecture in a structured manner. The lack of this feature was apparently a source of major criticism on earlier versions of TOGAF
    4. Among other things TOGAF 9 advocates and provides a rich seam of reference models, as well as the concept of an architecture repository, otherwise known as *ahem* the Enterprise Continuum (ps. you don’t have to be a “Trekkie” to do EA, but it might help, judging by the number of my colleagues on the course that had been / planned to see the new Star Trek movie!)

One point of caution however, is that the above formidable features of TOGAF 9 do not equate to a magic bullet, and it certainly doesn’t substitute for good architectural experience. To put it simply, you cannot check your brain at the door and expect that strict adherence to the content, process and reference models in TOGAF 9 will deliver the best outcomes. This is of particular important to convey to the more procedural minded disciplines of programme / project management, and all other business stakeholders, that must be engaged to deliver good EA, as mandated by TOGAF 9.
To conclude, my main take-out from this well-facilitated course is that TOGAF 9 may well prove to be a key vehicle towards providing a more consistent and professional image of Enterprise Architecture, as befitting a discipline that increasingly plays a major role in determining the destiny of any enterprise.

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Note: Originally published on Capgemini’s technology blog at: http://www.capgemini.com/technology-blog/2009/05/togaf_togaf_togaf/

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