TOGAF works when an EA Team designer approaches it as necessary scaffolding. Which I Do. Sadly, today using TOGAF requires reading past specifics. Specifics that have snuck in where a concept should be, or context-free advice that masquerades as the universal practice.
Today, it is easy to get distracted from the scaffolding hiding behind specific commentary and not see yourself.
Giving Back Conexiam’s Real World Enterprise Architecture
We leverage free Open standards, TOGAF, IT4IT, etc.
We use them to accelerate our work.
We deliberately give back. We have a long history of participating in Open Standards development. Over the past year Conexiam’s core intellectual property team pulled a consistent set of advice from our practice. Scouring our toolkit, Navigate, EA with TOGAF and Navigate training, Pilot, and Predictable EA for guidance that wasn’t dependent upon using our approach.
- configuring your EA team, Leader’s Guide
- developing and using enterprise architecture for purpose, Practitioners’ guide
- governing creation of architecture and the implementation that are guided and constrained, Governors’ guide
- assembling disparate standards and reference tools, Digital Transformation: Strategy to Implementation
Conexiam addresses the imperative problems every EA Team faces
We donated the work to the Open Group. Following peer review the Leader’s Guide, Practitioners’ guide and Governors’ guide were published as peer reviewed papers. Today they are in the process of more substantive peer reviews and consensus necessary to become TOGAF Series Guides, representing official best-practice guidance on putting TOGAF to work.
This guidance is designed for a mainstream community commercial organizations. You need to do some mental mapping for it to work in public sector and defense.
TOGAF is an enterprise architecture framework not a cookbook
TOGAF isn’t a cookbook. It’s a framework. It should be used as a framework of essential concepts. It needs to be used by an architect.
There is not a single EA team that doesn’t use the essential universal framework. Not a team that doesn’t use the concepts. Whether they know or not. Or whether they care. Same thing as your industry value chain, or process classification framework. Your organization can use available tools to make hard configuration choices. Or not.
This point is important: everyone uses the same concepts. Not the same technique, not the same template, not the same process. Not the same configuration. Just the same concept.
Deliberately Configure Enterprise Architecture Teams
Ideally, the EA team uses TOGAF’s concept deliberately configured to their circumstances. Or, they can be oblivious and have an accidental design. I never get over the dissonance of seeing EA teams with accidental un-optimized designs. Have never seen a high-functioning team with an accidental design. Not once.
In the past, the problem we faced drafting TOGAF was the monolithic document structure. There wasn’t anyplace else to put guidance, or specific technique. Stuff just got stuffed in, here & there. It was useful. Probably.
TOGAF Journey to a Lean Framework
Today TOGAF is a fat framework. Published as a monolithic document that simultaneously tries to address enterprise architects, designers of EA Team and governors, and consumers of architecture. It is replete with random advice tucked into the middle of essential concepts.
We started our journey to converting TOGAF to a lean framework with the SOA/TOGAF practical guide. Drafting this guide was delayed as the team learned to read past the obscuring specifics and focus on the scaffolding. It was painful. The same problem with the SABSA/ TOGAF integration paper. Less painful.
I started to see the essential scaffolding more clearly. We took that vision of essential scaffolding to heart. Using it as our starting point we optimized Conexiam’s Enterprise Architecture toolkit:
- configured framework, Navigate™,
- practical training EA with TOGAF® and Navigate™,
- governance approach, Pilot™.
Conexiam’s partners worked together on a few projects hone our understanding. In this work we split Navigate into a universal core and specialized purposeful Navigate Atlases. We developed Predictable Enterprise Architecture™.
We tested using a TOGAF lean framework with add-on guidance with several EA Capability engagements.
Damn it works. Accelerates EA teams like a Saturn V.
TOGAF Series Guides
This is how open standards are developed. Organizations with vanguard knowledge share with their peers. We put our thinking out to be examined and improved by peers. Other Architecture Forum members have been working on similar efforts. The example TRM (Technical Reference Model), III-RM (Integrated Infrastructure Information Reference Model) and TOGAF Business scenarios techniques have been pulled out and published as separate “TOGAF Series” documents.
Frankly, I’m sorry we didn’t get further with TOGAF 9.1. While I’m proud we pulled 200 pages of chaff out of TOGAF with the TOGAF 9.1 upgrade there is a long way to go. Conexiam’s team felt it was more useful to put our energy into guidance (World Class papers, the Agile Enterprise Architecture case study with CSC), to help people read past the chaff.
Without a strong body of guidance there was no place else to put useful stuff. We now have a place to put useful stuff.
Useful stuff put together into consistent guidance, and specialization. Without a good home, we all inadvertently turn useful stuff into chaff. Specialization and specific guidance gets tucked into the standard. Specialization is not universal. Inconsistent random guidance without the backstory and context is chaff.
Hopefully, in the future there will be less chaff in the standard. Less distractions from essential concepts. Less noise that thoughtful practitioners have to read past to see themselves and see the essential concepts.
Conexiam’s Next Steps: Sharing More Specific Enterprise Architecture Expertise
The Enterprise Architecture community has more useful guidance on how to use the TOGAF standard than at any point in time. We still have a gap. As my direct team point out, the Leader’s Guide was written for a senior leader, comfortable translating abstract management concepts into practice. Right to my face: ‘Dave, you were writing to yourself.’ Their examples:
- how do you use the econometric model the Leader’s Guide speaks about?
I thought it was obvious. Now I know it isn’t.
- how do you design a set of concerns and match them with necessary minimum architecture description like The Leader’s Guide advises?
We donated the Navigate Viewpoint/Concern starting point from our EA Capability Atlas, and posted developing a viewpoint library, and a sample Viewpoint Library.
It is the exact table I use. What more do you need? Now I know, you want to know how to identify mandatory concerns, key stakeholders and how to represent candidates in terms of concerns.
Our next step is more direct situation specific guidance. We’re going to provide it in three ways:
- publishing more pieces of our toolkit.
Sometimes as snippets, like Essential Enterprise Architecture Governance, which was expanded in the Governors’ guide.
More snippets include our Agile & EA use cases, which are briefly referenced in the CSC agile enterprise architecture case study.
Sometimes as free versions of our hands-on training. This spring we provided a free version of our EA and Governance , Risk and Compliance (EA & GRC) course. Go ahead, take it.
- donating more specific guidance documents,
This includes a Public Sector initiative customization of the Leader’s Guide.
We are working on a version of the Practitioners’ guide specifically written for new architects.
- highlighting crash & burns stories in the Enterprise Architecture Graveyard .
We all know too many EA teams are low functioning. Literally hanging on by their fingernails. If you see these practices, stop! Stop now! Do your part to professionalize enterprise architecture.
Your Next StepsIf you are in a hurry to get useful architecture-driven change,
- engage Conexiam to perform an EA Capability Workshop, levering the Navigate EA Capability Atlas
- engage Conexiam with a Predictable Enterprise Architecture engagement and a supporting Pilot engagement
- engage our training program, EA with TOGAF and Navigate,
- backed by TOGAF, the video to support TOGAF Certification.
- Sign up for our newsletter
- Download the World Class Enterprise Architecture series
- Read the Architecture Graveyard series
- Engage in the conversation
- Sign-up for our distance education training, TOGAF, the video, IT4IT, the video, and take the free EA and Governance , Risk and Compliance course,
- Download the World Class Enterprise Architecture series
- read the Architecture Graveyard chucking like it was a Mr Bean’s Christmas Special, and not what you saw this morning while you lived another Dilbert cartoon.
Join the conversation. Make the world a better place.