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The Enterprise Architect's Idea Pipeline

        posted by , August 14, 2012

The TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM) has become popular.

At least, everyone wants to say their using it. Although, many enterprise architecture teams don't actually use it much.

Which leads to the question — what (informal?) processes are EAs using? What are the alternatives to the ADM?

TOGAF ADM

The TOGAF ADM is a structured, iterative process for developing architectures.

Most EAs have seen the ADM crop circle hundreds of times.
TOGAF training

TOGAF ADM Weaknesses

There are several reasons that EA teams who profess to be TOGAF shops might not use the ADM:
  • Enterprise architecture tools can be TOGAF certified. Architects can be TOGAF certified. However, there isn't a certification for organizations. Many organizations send their architects on TOGAF training and buy a TOGAF compliant tool and leave it at that.
  • Real businesses don't run as smoothly as principles → vision → architecture → opportunities & solutions. Real businesses are just as likely to start at opportunities & solutions and work backwards.
  • Real architects don't sequentially architect business → application & data → technology. Many people are usually involved and everything happens roughly in parallel. Trying to impose an order on steps B,C&D doesn't add a lot of value.
  • How can change management be a step at the end of the architectural process when it's happening all the time?

The TOGAF ADM is a nice model of how things should work.

The ADM is useful when the EA team is working in relative isolation. However, it's impractical in many real business scenarios.

The Enterprise Architecture Pipeline

Many architects think of the architectural process as a loosely defined process that goes something like this: ideas → conceptual models → socialization & acceptance → logical models → execution models.

conceptual architecture

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