TOGAF(TM) Camp Amsterdam

  • Evaluating TOGAF in Practice

TOGAF-Camp “Evaluation of TOGAF”

The focus of this TOGAF-Camp group was on the evaluation of TOGAF use in practice. The group consisted of: 1. Abdul Rahman Hamkar, IDS Scheer, DE 2. Don Kavanagh, Capita, UK 3. Erik Proper, Public Research Centre – Henri Tudor, LU 4. Kai Uwe Schwarzwälder, IDS Scheer, DE 5. Kas Timsi, TNT Post, NL 6. Marcus Kunde, SMA, DE 7. Niek Weustink, TNT Post, NL 8. Walter Stahlecker, The Open Group

Discussion leader & reporting: Erik Proper, Public Research Centre – Henri Tudor, LU

During the discussions, the focus quite swiftly moved from the question of “how to evaluate the use of TOGAF in practice”, to the sharing of experiences/concerns with the application of TOGAF in practice. Separate from the fact that the group did not provide suggestions on how to more rigorously and broadly evaluate the use of TOGAF in practice, the discussions and outcomes suggest there to be a clear need to create some form of a feedback loop from actual practical use “on the work floor” back to improvements/clarifications of the TOGAF body of know-ledge.

In evaluating TOGAF, an immediate first question is: what is TOGAF? Is it a method, is it rather a method library, or a situational method? The view shared within the group was more of a method library than a once-size-fits-all method. In the experiences in practical situations, one typically performs “cherry picking” on the body of knowledge represented by TOGAF. In other words, the use of “cherries” such as the ADM, Business Scenario’s, Statement of Architecture Work, Principles, et cetera, rather than applying the method “as is”.

This generated additional questions that the group would like to see answered, and may be useful in evaluating TOGAF’s use in practice: 1. What cherries are picked in practice? 2. How to select the cherries? What is the value of a given cherry? Answering these questions, in a specific situation, also requires a clear understanding of the purpose with which an organization wants to create an enterprise architecture. The value of a cherry depends on factors such as the pur-pose for creating the enterprise architecture, the maturity of the organi-zation in creating and using architectures, et cetera. 3. What is the landscape of cherries? What tools, techniques, approaches, et cetera, can be found in TOGAF? The cherries seem not to be presented “as such”. 4. How to adapt and use the cherries in a specific situation? The “as-is” parts of the TOGAF body of knowledge typically require some tuning to the situation at hand. How to do this? Furthermore, how can TOGAF be used best with other general standards such as ITIL, UP, ISPL, but also industry specific standards such as HL7, et cetera. 5. What are the requirements from TOGAF (and the embedded cherries) on the organisation in terms of processes, maturity, management support, et ce-tera? 6. When should organisations not use TOGAF? What should be done when TOGAF is not applicable? Note: in a later discussion with Dave Hornford (current chair of the Architecture Forum), it was mentioned that one is considering working on a light weight version of TOGAF geared towards SMEs.

Intermezzo: The field of situational method engineering typically refers to the above mentioned “cherries” as method fragments, while practical situations at hand are classified in terms of situational factors, which are then used to select and tune relevant method fragments to compose a situational method that fits the needs at hand. Collectively, the method fragments, situational factors, and the heuristics for selection and tuning, comprise a method library. Ample experience exists in creating and using method li-braries in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, a need was identified for more elaborate “configurations” or “scenarios” for/of the use of TOGAF in typical situations. For example, three ex-ample configurations answering the needs for three different architecture ma-turity levels. In addition, the question was raised to have strategies for “growing architecture maturity” in an organisation, in other words, ways to move from one configuration to another.

Finally, it would also be regarded useful if there would be some forum (in the sense of human beings talking to each other face-to-face) where experiences in the use of TOGAF can be shared and discussed.


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