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EA - Radio - Episode 7 - Where do I start EA? - Part 2

In this episode we take a use case of banking user experience and see how enterprise architecture can bring in a transformation. 

Image by Dayne Topkin

Welcome to the enterprise architecture radio. In the previous episode we talked about where do we start doing enterprise architecture? If you have not listened to that episode yet, I strongly recommend you listen to that one before you continue with this one. And I keep the episodes about 10 minutes so you don't phase out and drift away somewhere in the middle. And while most of my episodes are going to be individual episodes, sometimes it is just too tough for me to pack everything into a single 10 minute episode. When that happens, I split the entire story into two episodes. Maybe someday I will feel that my episodes need to be slightly longer, especially once I start inviting guests to my podcast. And I will definitely listen to your feedback. Do you find it too short, too long, how do you like my content. Do feel free to provide that feedback. But until then, I will inform when an episode is a continuation of the previous episode. In fact, it would be a good idea to subscribe to the podcast itself, so that you don't miss any episodes. And by the way, unfortunately, this one is also going to have to be split further, because this episode is almost entirely going to be about the choice of an EA Framework and a contrast and comparison between various frameworks.

Anyway, so we were talking about how do we start doing enterprise architecture and I talked about preparatory activities in my previous episodes. Primarily we focused on three things. Budget and resources, an architecture board and a governance functions. There are a few more preparatory activities that we should work on before we start any architecture activities and we'll talk about those today.

How do you pick an enterprise architecture framework? If you ask me this should be an easy pick because there aren't too many enterprise architecture frameworks out there. Let's talk about that in a little more detail. First I would like to talk about Zachman Framework. John Zachman, also known as the father of enterprise architecture, the man who coined the term "Enterprise Architecture", created this framework in the 1960s. This framework is a 6 by 5 matrixed template, a 30 cell two dimensional taxonomy of architectural descriptions. Its a matrix that asks 6 fundamental questions. What, How, Where, Who, When and Why and provides answers from 5 different perspectives. The executive perspective, the business management perspective, the architect's perspective the engineer's perspective and the technician's perspective. And when you connect all these dots in all these cells, what you get is the enterprise perspective. It tries to build content that will describe the enterprise from different perspectives and different angels so you get a good view of where you are. The Zachman Framework is a metamodel. A model of a model that, unlike a methodology doesn't imply anything about things such as 


  • whether you do architecture or you simply build implementations

  • Whether architecture should be top down or bottom up or 

  • long term short term trade offs 

  • how much flexibility you want for producing composite models or enterprise implementations.


​Zachman believes that his framework is the core building blocks the ontology of enterprise architecture. To give you an example first we had alchemy where we observed that by mixing different chemicals or substances, in certain proportions we saw some form of chemical reaction that created a third kind of chemical or substance. But it wasn't an exact science until we discovered / created the elements chart or the periodic table. Now the dictionary definition of each element in the periodic chart is that an element is a substance that cannot be interconverted or broken down into simpler substances and re primary constituents of matter. Which means everything is made of elements and elements are not made of simpler substances. In essence they are the core building blocks of everything. Once we discovered this, it changed everything. When we say C8H9NO2, It is 8 atoms of Carbon, 9 atoms of hydrogen and 2 atoms of oxygen put together. And that's paracetamol. It is mathematical and it cannot go wrong. That's chemistry an exact science and the foundation of so many industries including pharmaceuticals that give us so many nice medicines to relieve our hangovers.

Similarly the cells in the Zachman framework are the core building blocks of everything enterprise architecture. They are the simplest substances in the enterprise architecture world. They cannot be broken down further and everything is made of them. Now what you do with these building blocks, how you put them together to form composites and views it completely depends on the architect. Zachman Framework provides the core building blocks of enterprise architecture. This is also called a content metamodel.

I am not going to talk much about Federated Enterprise Architecture Framework and Department of Defence Architecture Framework. They are antiquated, old and have their roots in ancient project management philosophies like Spewak's enterprise architecture planning methodology and IBM Business Systems Planning method. They haven't changed much since then and so I don't think they are very relevant today. Sure the Spewak and BPM methods have their merits, but as an enterprise architecture framework, I think there are other, better options.

Let's quickly also talk about the Pragmatic Enterprise Architecture Framework. While the name suggests that it is pragmatic and supposedly leanest among all frameworks, its not very structured. Pragmatic is overall a family of frameworks focusing on specific aspects. There is Pragmatic Enterprise Fundamentals Framework (PEFF), Pragmatic Operating Model of Enterprise Transformation (POET), Pragmatic Enterprise Architecture Framework (PEAF) and finally the Pragmatic Transformation Maturity Canvas (PTMC). It has its own ontology and some method. But if you really ask me it introduces a lot of new concepts around what needs to be done and how. And I feel it needs more work to mature it. Especially in the context of real world application.

Which brings us to the TOGAF framework. Now this is not just the most popular framework, it is also my favourite. And here's why. 

First of all most of the concepts that TOGAF has taken are from other frameworks that are already in place. Some of these concepts almost everyone in IT understands like risk management, change management, requirements management and so on and its iterative and incremental method of delivery resonates with agile methodologies and makes a lot of sense.

Second it is an evolving framework. There have been 9 major versions of the framework, 9.2 being the most current one. The Open Group looks at its practical applications in the real world and evolves based on that. It works with tool vendors and understands the needs of the industries and changes the framework accordingly. It works with its member organizations and practicing enterprise architects therein and has created a beautiful ecosystem of forum and consortia so that everyone can share experiences and codify best practices. From time to time it conducts and hosts events to bring the experience of the industry into its frameworks and methodologies and vice versa. TOGAF is not the only framework they have built. There are other frameworks around Public Cloud, AI / ML, Internet of Things, and so on. As the industry and technology evolves, so does the open group consortium.

Third it aligns with other frameworks. For example, you could very well use the Zachman Framework as a content metamodel along with TOGAF framework for everything else. It allows for that and has designed the framework in such a way that it is completely flexible.

Third it has a tools certifications program. It works with tools vendors to see how they can implement the TOGAF framework in their tools. This includes allowing the tools to pick Zachman Framework as a content metamodel. Or even customizing the content metamodel completely if you decided to build your own content metamodel. Or any other part of the framework for that matter. If you decided to change the terminology or the method, that's ok.

And finally, you as an open group member organization can contribute to the frameworks, methods and forums that open group offers. It is a vibrant live and busy ecosystem where there is always something developing. And that's why its my favourite framework so far.

It has 5 different parts to it. 


  1. The iterative and incremental method of enterprise architecture delivery

  2. the guidelines and techniques, which are like tips and tricks that you could use to improve your work as an EA, 

  3. is the Enterprise Continuum which is the architecture repository and its structure and classification, 

  4. Architecture Content Framework. Unlike Zachman Framework, TOGAF doesn't just focus on the core building blocks, it also focuses on composites that you can build in each phase of the Architecture Development Method. It also has its own content metamodel. I admit that Zachman Framework is a much more evolved content framework, but nevertheless the TOGAF Content Framework takes into account the fact that architects need help when it comes to what documents can be built in each phase of the ADM and provides that guidance. A baseline set of deliverables throughout the phases of the method

  5. And finally Architecture Capability Framework. This provides us guidance on how to build a team. In fact all that we are discussing today in this episode and the previous episode the kind of stuff that needs to be done to get started with EA is within the TOGAF Capability Framework.


Besides these 5 parts it also has the TOGAF Library in the TOGAF 9.2. It contains guidance around various things such as how to gather requirements, or what are value streams, and so on.

An extensive, framework that doesn't just provide us with the kind of information to be collected but also helps the architect in his day to day job. 

This episodes does sound a little like a marketing of TOGAF framework, but trust me. I am not doing it just to market their product. I am just saying that it is popular and my favourite framework for some very good reasons. But I am also saying that there aren't too many good frameworks out there and maybe if there is a framework out there that I am missing, then please let me know. Otherwise maybe there is some potential to build something in that space.

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