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IBM Enterprise Architecture Method June 25, 2008

Posted by Chris Eaton in EA, IT Architecture, methodology, methods.
Tags: , , , ,

I recently volunteered myself to work on some updates to the IBM Enterprise Architecture method, this is an IBM methodology for developing and maintaining an enterprise architecture. I am glad i put myself forward it has given me access to some of the bigger and brighter minds who have led the establishment of this framework, work products and deliverables. It is also a great learning exercise.

Curiously the IBM EA method does seem well advertised. In some ways it has similarities to TOGAF and in many ways goes beyond TOGAF. In my view TOGAF is limited in that it tells you what to do, but not really how to do it, it is not prescriptive at all in how to go about a developing an artifact or work product. The IBM EA method is very much both what to do, and how to do it.

The Enterprise Architecture development and governance processes are very similar in both frameworks, but the key difference is that the deliverables and work products in the IBM method are well defined, supported by many examples from prior engagements with customers. The work products also tie together with the work products at a solution level architecture. In my opinion TOGAF does little to describe how to ‘do’ architecture, but in the IBM methodology this is a major strength with maturity supporting coursework and intellectual capital from many, many EA engagement. I suppose TOGAF is ‘only’ a framework and the IBM EA goes beyond saying how to fill in the frame.

Oddly I cannot find a public reference to the IBM EA method anywhere on the IBM website (or indeed anywhere!) which is an enormous shame since the IBM EA method and the associated assets are clearly a differentiator for IBM in the EA space



1. Abu Talal - September 10, 2008

We use this method for our Enterprise Architecture at CFR, and I would agree with you that it’s strange it is so sparsely commented upon,

Abu Talal

2. Peter Bell - October 31, 2008
3. chriseaton - October 31, 2008

Peter, hmm, i really want to say it is, but it doesnt appear to be the EA method which is taught to architects in IBM. I searched again to try an find any reference but bizarrely i still cant find anything.

I had a quick look through the material which seems to be about using the telelogic tooling or SOA governance

4. Roger James - December 17, 2008

I have a suspicion that this is a commercial decision by IBM. Put very crudely, anyone outside of IBM can only gain knowledge of thier EA method by buying consultancy from IBM. IBM is of course entitled to pursue this path but it is a pity and I fear in the long-term rather short-sighted.

5. Fred Collins - January 27, 2009

Ian Charters is working on a Redbook which should address this. Also, I wrote a book chapter that goes rather deeply into the IBM EA Method. That should be published in 2009. I personally think we should place the method into the public domain.

6. Brian Hopkins - November 4, 2009

Hi Chris and Fred. I’ve been asking around to see if IBM had an EA Framework, nobody seems to know. We are IBM customers and would like to talk to someone about this. Cheers.

chriseaton - November 4, 2009

try Ian Charters he is the mind behind the IBM EA
the public IBM employee directory on ibm.com lists his details as follows:

Email: ian_charters@uk.ibm.com
Telephone: 44-113-390-1608
Location: United Kingdom

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