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new and updated TOGAF tests August 24, 2012

Posted by Chris Eaton in Uncategorized.
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courtesy of Manuel de Toma -> Theopenarch.com

who makes architectural decisions and a TOGAF rebellion June 30, 2011

Posted by Chris Eaton in architecture, architecture method, methods.
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so i am a fan of the idea of architectural decisions – an architectural decision is the consideration of a problem which needs a soltion (most likely an it solution) and deciding and agreeing what to do

In my opinion, solving problems like this is the very essence of why architects exist because these problems do not often have obvious answers and there are multiple options to solving any particular given problem.

In the last month or so at work I have been looking at who decides which applications are strategic and which are not

I assumed this was a decision the Enterprise Architects made

Much to my suprise in over half of my organisation this decision is not made by people who call themselves architects at all. Instead this decision is owned by IT staff who have come from the business and now are in IT, and by Application Portfolio Managers / Application Managers.

Application Portfolio Management is a role not oft spoken of in the realms of architects but one everyone should be aware of. Application Managers typically own the operational running of a set of applications i.e. incidents, the projects, the cost and customer satisfaction of those applications. This this usually means they talk to the business very frequently about outages, incidents, projects, etc

Therefore adding on an accountability to determine whether an application is strategic or not is a very nature addition to this role. This is probably in consultation with architects but ultimately takes this decision away from the architect, if they every owned it in the first place

I have found this answer rather challenging

I had an assumption that architects would normally own this decision. They are typically technical experts with depth in one or more business domains. The most logical home for this decision

However, on reflection placing the accountability with an APM seems like a more natural home.
– they have a more holistic view of the application, its operational issues, projects in flight, customer satisfaction, cost
– they probably control the project and operational budget and can more easily make a more realistic determination about the ability of the organisation to make an investment or replacement of an existing application
– they do not need deep expertise, they can call on other expertise, most likely architects, to help with the decision but ultimately as the owner of a portfolio are the people who will have to deliver it. This gives a very healthy dose of reality and objectivity

if i put the TOGAF crop circle in front of an application manager, would they have the faintest clue what i was showing them or talking about?

the answer is almost certainly no

if i put the TOGAF crop circle in front of a business person, would they have the faintest clue what i was showing them or talking about?

absolutely not

so a togaf rebellion…

if I changed TOGAF to about analysis of requirements, design options, costs, benefits, value, implementation time, functionality, usability, and risks would they know what i was talking about?

yes they would

and so i am concluding that TOGAF is a method designed for architects by architects using an abstract and inaccessible language useful only to architects

in my opinion a new method is needed which business people can understand. They can understand that there are specific considerations to determining whether one IT solution versus another is better or not

im afraid terminology like Architecture contract, preliminary phase, and migration planning will never be part of a discussion with the business which i ever have

and perhaps thats why application managers are better placed to have accountability for architectural decisions than architects

is anyone interested in creating a method like the one i suggest, i cannot do it alone…

ITIL and Togaf, and a certification on the way November 22, 2010

Posted by Chris Eaton in Uncategorized.
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a couple of weeks ago i did a three day course on ITIL (the IT Infrastructure Library) culminating in the ITIL Foundation exam.

ITIL is a set of high level processes for managing IT from Strategy through delivery, to operations. With a focus more towards Operations than the Strategy end of the spectrum

If you havent heard about ITIL I would strongly encourage you to find out more. It is very quickly gaining traction as the standard for best practice in operating an IT estate.

The exam frankly was straightforeward and I am glad to say I passed (hooray!).

Before the course i was aware of the basic concepts and after attending the course i have a much better appreciation and interest, in ITIL. It is very coherent as a whole. For me, it is an interesting contrast to TOGAF.

ITIL has gone through a radical change from version 2 to version 3 where strong editorial governance has ensured that version 3 overcomes its heritage and makes a clean break from prior versions to successfully make a wholesale restructuring of its content. In all it makes a coherent whole and the individual books makes for a well integrated method spanning strategy to operations

Unlike TOGAF… which seems to have a very weak editorial practice and as a result it a hybrid of new, high quality content from Cap Gemini in version 9 intermingled with weak legacy content from prior editions. In particular it seems wedded to the ADM ‘crop circle’ with redundant phases like Opportunities and Solutions and Migration Planning and meekly justifying their existence.
Other esoteric concepts like the Enterprise Continuum persist (a phrase like this only belongs on Star Trek) when a stronger editorial hand would have done away with all of these concepts several editions ago

i am not sure where i am going with this 🙂 other than to praise ITIL and hope that the open group takes a strong editorial stance in version 10

useful article on TOGAF certification June 1, 2010

Posted by Chris Eaton in EA, Enterprise Architecture.
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useful article on where to find the base materials for TOGAF certification


nice TOGAF Overview May 22, 2010

Posted by Chris Eaton in togaf 9.
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TOGAF v9 Overview on Prezi

Three core skills of an enterprise architect April 27, 2010

Posted by Chris Eaton in architecture, EA, people.
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as ever the most stimulating questions come from the populus at large. In response to a question of what skills does an enterprise architect need by Lisa I posted this response

In my mind there are three core dimensions for the skills of an architect:

– Leadership ability
– Technical ability
– Business ability

For leadership – As you become more senior then leadership skills become more important, displacing deep specialist technical skills. Leadership is often defined as the ability to get things done through others which i think is a reasonable take on matters.
Leadership is more about knowing what to do and how to approach problems, achieve buy in and make them happen, than a deep understanding of a subject. Personally in terms of leadership i am very dependant on prior experience on successful projects to guide me as to what to do, and also role models – what would my role model do?

For technical ability – broadly (and matching togaf) you can categorise architects into:
– Application Architecture
– Data Architecture
– Infrastructure Architecture
– Business Architecture
and some might argue integration architecture as it’s own area because middleware is so prevalent and a particularly important area to have good architecture.

Within these domains it is important to have a good level of expertise and have some level of expertise in the others. An application architect with no understanding of data wouldnt be much use.

For Business ability – deep knowledge of a business area or areas and the related business processes is a must for delivering strong business centric solutions

TOGAF 9 Certification Scenario Questions October 7, 2009

Posted by Chris Eaton in togaf 9.
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following on from the example multiple choice questions here are two scenario questions.

I will endeavour to write a few more but these should give you a sense of the question format and what the exam is looking for in terms of the ranked answers

download the sample scenario questions

download the multiple choice questions

TOGAF 9 July 14, 2009

Posted by Chris Eaton in architecture, architecture method, artitecture, EA, IT Architecture, methodology, methods, people, Uncategorized.
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the last 2 days i have been attending a TOGAF  course run by cap gemini who have made the majority contribution to the latest version of TOGAF

The good

so i learnt that many of my criticisms of TOGAF 8 have been addressed. Specifically it adds:

The Architecture Content Framework which is a library of prior architectures to stimulate reuse and reuse of best practice rather than reinventing the wheel

A meta-model which includes specific artifacts which result from each of the phases i.e. what you should produce and when, this was absent from TOGAF 8

An architecture capability framework which recognised that good architectures result from consistently trained architects with a high level of education and experience. At the end of the day your architectures will only be as good as the people who developed them

TOGAF is now more obviously applicable to solution architecture, when previously i saw it much more in the enterprise/strategic architecture space

The bad

the vapourware of the enterprise continuum remains this is still poorly described and arguably redundant. The continuum was always poor conceived and in-specific now it is super seeded by the Architecture #Content Framework, It is a such a shame the open group cannot shed this kind of legacy and have much stronger editorial process.

The Architecture Development Method still does not split out data and application architecture, this is stil bucketed under Information System Architecture,. Other areas of the open group like the IT Architect Certification recognising that these are separate significant activities. Again it seems the open group is so wedded to the ADM crop circle diagram it cannot, or will not, move forward and improve on prior thinking

The ugly

well nothing was that ugly to be honest, togaf version 9 is is definitely a step forward

speak in a language others can understand October 8, 2008

Posted by Chris Eaton in communications, EA, people.
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I came across a very good article here named EA Demystified. One of the salient observations is the use of language which is only comprehensible to people familiar with EA. Actually, I have stopped introducing myself as an Enterprise Architect because I receive such blank looks, and even if someone has an appreciation of the term ‘enterprise architect’ they ask for a clarification since it can mean so many things.

TOGAF in particular needs a makeover in this space using terms like ‘Enterprise Continuum’ which fails completely to communicate what it is, and presents a complete barrier of understanding to any but those familar with TOGAF. This is a defnite communication fail.

Below is another example i came across today is in wikipedia in the entry for Enterprise Architecture – here . ‘One method, described in the popular TOGAF architectural framework, is to develop an Architectural Vision, which is a description of the business that represents a “target” or “future state” goal. ‘

Well, in my opinion someone completely misunderstood the use of ‘Architectural Vision’ in TOGAF which is about selling EA and obtaining Buy In from stakeholders to start and continue to support EA. In TOGAF Target Architecture is about future state architectures, not Architectural Vision but im not here to criticise the wikipedia entry, my critism is that TOGAF once again uses language which is unclear, open to interreptation by EA practitioners let alone the uninitated in EA.

so some very simple advice, use simple language in communications.

for the enquiring mind, i introduce myself as ‘working in IT Strategy’ , which i think is a reasonably comprehensible to the average joe and certainly recieves a much more warm reception than an Enterprise Architect. I hope one day I can say i am from the ‘Business and IT Strategy but my team is still seen largely in the technology space – for now..!

Whats the value of TOGAF certification? August 27, 2008

Posted by Chris Eaton in EA, mentoring.
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A mentee wrote to me with the following questions on whether TOGAF certification is worthwhile and where it might lead, here is my take on what he asked about…

  • How do I become TOGAF certified?
  • What kind of insight you will be able to give in terms of the Return on investment of TOGAF certification?
  • If I take the TOGAF exam right away what kind of opportunities should I look for and who are the potential employers?
  • At this stage what would my typical work profile be if I get a EA job?

How do I become TOGAF certified?

There are two routes to TOGAF certification, the first is simply to sit the exam, the second is to attend a TOGAF certified course which takes 4 or 5 days to go through all of the TOGAF material and results in certification and there is no exam.  I have TOGAF certification through the course. I have read that the exam is relatively straightforward but like all exams preparation is key and a decent knowledge of TOGAF is needed Take a look at the Open Group website for TOGAF Certification

What kind of insight you will be able to give in terms of the Return on investment of TOGAF certification?

For me TOGAF certification has been a great investment. I achieved certification by taking the certification approved course and I should add that the course was paid for by IBM. My own situation is about to change and I am about to leave IBM to work for another multinational based here in the United Kingdom. My new employer has checked my TOGAF certification credentials and I believe this gives an indication that they considered this very important. I also want to add that holding TOGAF certification alone is not likely to convince a potential employer that you can work as an Enterprise Architect. Some work experience in the Enterprise Architecture area is likely to be very desireable. This leads into the question how do I find my first EA role?  That is a great question, one not easily answered and perhaps the subject for a future post 🙂

If I take the TOGAF exam right away what kind of opportunities should I look for and who are the potential employers?

EA remains a relatively specialised field, it is likely that most work will be with larger organisations. In my mind Enterprise Architecture is very much about the optimisation of available IT spend to ensure that available investment money is directed to strategic IT systems rather than wasting money investing in short term or legacy systems. Larger organisations are more likely to have problems with these aspects of investment since often they have disparate IT offerings and duplicate systems resulting from a lack of coordination across companies and countries or because they are making acquisitions who have made their own IT which may or may not match the IT of the buyer.
In terms of potential employers there is tremendous interest in EA at the moment in all sorts of organisations. You can either look to work directly for organisations like banks, manufacturers, retailer etc, or look for work in an Enterprise Architecture consultancy. If you wanted to move into EA consultancy then most of the large consultancies have EA practices. I know IBM, HP, Cap Gemini all have EA practices and are recruiting at the moment and I am sure there are other smaller or specialised companies in the EA space.

At this stage what would my typical work profile be if I get a EA job?
This is a really good question. EA is very broad in its scope, and the EA means different things to different people and organisations. The major interest area tends to be creating strategic ‘to-be’ architectures which often (always?) includes looking at the as-is architecture and what exists today and making decisions on what the strategic architecture should look like in future. A huge part of EA in general is communicating and selling your ideas and vision.  The main area that I work in is the evaluation of IT offerings against the business processes and business requirements and selecting the strategic applications and middleware to meet those requirements. I would call this Enterprise Application Architect. In my mind there are four technology specialties which coincidently match how TOGAF splits EA into Business, Applications, Infrastructure and Data. In no particular order they are:

  • Enterprise Applications Architect, as described above this looks mainly at creating strategic architectures focussed on software, both applications and integrations
  • Enterprise Infrastructure Architect looking at hardware, networks, operating systems, server locations and capacity etc, and within this further specialization would be Security and Networking.
  • Enterprise Business Architects, looking specifically at business processes design and optimization
  • Enterprise Data Architects looking at data requirements, placement, maintenance and reporting

Deploying or improving governance processes like architecture review boards, IT spend planning and change management is also likely to be part of the work.

So in summary you could be doing anything in the EA space 🙂