What is the TOGAF® Framework

The TOGAF Framework is an industry standard for developing, maintaining, and using enterprise architecture. Over 300 member companies of The Open Group's Architecture Forum develop it the TOGAF Framework.

The member companies produce the TOGAF Framework through a consensus process. The result is consistent, proven successful practices to develop an enterprise architecture team, develop an enterprise architecture, and describe an enterprise architecture.

TOGAF Framework Explained

The TOGAF Framework is not prescriptive. It will not tell you exactly how to develop and use an enterprise architecture at your organization. This is by design. Instead, it provides universal concepts that are configured for your organization.

The TOGAF Framework is modular, scalable, and configurable. It provides the universal scaffolding for the three important components of an enterprise architecture framework.

  1. how to document an architecture
    The TOGAF Content Framework is a conceptual model of all the documents used to describe and use an enterprise architecture. The TOGAF Content Framework goes further than the enterprise meta-model. Using an enterprise architecture requires material beyond architecture models. We almost always replace it with a content model optimized to a use case. We reach for Industry Content Frameworks.
  2. how to develop enterprise architecture
    The TOGAF ADM is a conceptual model for developing enterprise architecture. The TOGAF ADM is an information model that tells you how to gather the information and decisions. The basic concepts of the TOGAF Framework are translated into how-to-guidance in the TOGAF Series Practitioner's Guide.
  3. how to develop an enterprise architecture team
    The TOGAF EA Capability framework provides the conceptual models for an enterprise architecture team. Following the consistent approach, they make the framework actionable with TOGAF Series Leader's Guide. Consistent with the structure of the TOGAF Framework specialized documents like the Enterprise Architecture Capability Model keep extending the scaffolding.

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TOGAF Framework Diagram

TOGAF Framework Structure

TOGAF Framework Structure

By design, the TOGAF Framework is modular, scalable, and configurable. By design, the TOGAF framework is not prescriptive. This is the beauty and the grief of TOGAF. Often, new enterprise architects are troubled that it is a collection of models, concepts, and guides. They want cookbook. They want a cookbook optimized for their company. In fact, most critics of the TOGAF framework have completely missed that a modular collection of models, concepts and guides is the best approach for a comprehensive enterprise architecture framework.

We see that most critics have a configuration designed to solve their industry, or the specific enterprise architecture use case they work on. Then, when their specific use case is not directly supported, they argue the TOGAF framework is faulty. Frankly, when we read this, we wonder at the ability of the critic to develop useful enterprise architecture. They seem to have missed to point of using reference architectures and conceptual model. They have missed the point of using a framework.

They divided the TOGAF Framework into two major sections. First the TOGAF Standard. The established, stable best-practices and concepts. Essential scaffolding that enterprise architects can have confidence will help with the two reasons you should use the TOGAF Standard - faster development of enterprise architecture and better improvement of your organization.

The second part is the TOGAF Library. While standard must be proven, material in the library can be experimental, speculative, or applicable to a very narrow use case. The structure of the TOGAF Framework expects emerging practice, specialist use-cases, and experimentation.

The structure of the TOGAF Framework makes adoption and configuration easier. Standard concepts, stable guides, and specialist use cases. When you are configuring, keep the basic concept and look for how you will apply it.

TOGAF Framework Explained

Essential scaffolding is the best description of the TOGAF Framework. Universal concepts that exist for all enterprise architects, enterprise architecture teams, and enterprise architecture. There is not any question whether you need or will use the essential scaffolding concepts. You will use the essential scaffolding. The question is how you will translate the concept into practice.

TOGAF Standard Ecosystem

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TOGAF Framework Guides and Extensions

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TOGAF Framework Example

Every configuration of the TOGAF Framework is specific. Optimized for the organization, its industry, and problem. Optimized for their specific enterprise architecture use cases.

The most common use case our Enterprise Architecture Consulting handles is executing on portfolio change. Most clients struggle with coordinating change across the organization. Especially organizations that are undertaking digital transformation.

We configured the TOGAF Framework to meet this challenge.

First, we developed Navigate, a specialized enterprise meta-model. We optimized it to support portfolio and project decision-making.

Second, we adapted the TOGAF ADM. We call our consulting service using this Predictable Enterprise Architecture. The adaptions for Strategy, Portfolio, Project and Solution Delivery are in the Enterprise Architect's Guide to using the ADM.

Third, we developed specialized Enterprise Architecture Certification Training for enterprise architects to understand both the essential scaffolding of the TOGAF Framework and its application.

Fourth, we developed a set of enterprise architecture consulting workshops to standardize key activities for each enterprise architect to execute.

These TOGAF Framework examples are both commercial offerings and are freely available. In fact, we license all of our materials so anyone can use them commercially without charge.

We use the framework. It has improved the speed and quality of our enterprise architecture development. You should as well.

TOGAF Framework Development

The members of The Open Group's Architecture Forum develop the TOGAF Standard. The Open Group's staff facilitates the open standard consensus process. The process ensures every member can contribute. The process takes time to ensure every member can review the material, agreed that it fits for their organization, or make modifications. Over time, organizations as diverse as AMEX, IBM, Microsoft, Conexiam, Deloitte and E&Y have been involved in the development the TOGAF Framework. During our participation in the Architecture Forum, there have been over 300 member companies.

Conexiam's TOGAF Framework Contributions

We have had a significant hand in the development of the TOGAF Standard, version 9, 9.1, and 9.2. We have continued to be active in follow-on work. For many years, one of our senior consultants was chair of the Architecture Forum.

We focus most of our contribution on guidance on how to use the TOGAF Framework to deliver transformative enterprise architecture and be a better enterprise architect.

TOGAF Series Guide - Enterprise Architect Practitioner's Guide

TOGAF Series Guide - Enterprise Architecture Team Leader's Guide

Guide to Establishing an Enterprise Architecture Team in Government

Guide to Enterprise Architecture Governance Guide

Guide to using TOGAF Framework and other Reference Architectures in Digital Transformation

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