By Chris Armstrong, Armstrong Process Group
In today’s environment of competing priorities and constrained resources, companies and government agencies are in even greater need to understand how to balance those priorities, leverage existing investments and align their critical resources to realize their business strategy. Sound appealing? It turns out that this is the fundamental goal of establishing an Enterprise Architecture (EA) capability. In fact, we have seen some of our clients position EA as the Enterprise Decision Support capability – that is, providing an architecture-grounded, fact-based approach to making business and IT decisions.
Many government agencies and contractors have been playing the EA game for some time — often in the context of mandatory compliance with architecture frameworks, such as the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) and the Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF). These frameworks often focus significantly on taxonomies and reference models that organizations are required to use when describing their current state and their vision of a future state. We’re seeing a new breed of organizations that are looking past contractual compliance and want to exploit the business transformation dimension of EA.
In the Department of Defense (DoD) world, this is in part due to the new “capability driven” aspect of DoDAF version 2.0, where an organization aligns its architecture to a set of capabilities that are relevant to its mission. The addition of the Capability Viewpoint (CV) in DoDAF 2 enables organizations to describe their capability requirements and how their organization supports and delivers those capabilities. The CV also provides models for representing capability gaps and how new capabilities are going to be deployed over time and managed in the context of an overall capability portfolio.
Another critical difference in DoDAF 2 is the principle of “fit-for-purpose,” which allows organizations to select which architecture viewpoints and models to develop based on mission/program requirements and organizational context. One fundamental consequence of this is that an organization is no longer required to create all the models for each DoDAF viewpoint. They are to select the models and viewpoints that are relevant to developing and deploying their new, evolved capabilities.
While DoDAF 2 does provide some brief guidance on how to build architecture descriptions and subsequently leverage them for capability deployment and management, many organizations are seeking a more well-defined set of techniques and methods based on industry standard best practices.
This is where the effectiveness of DoDAF 2 can be significantly enhanced by integrating it with The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF®) version 9.1, in particular the TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM). The ADM not only describes how to develop descriptions of the baseline and target architectures, but also provides considerable guidance on how to establish an EA capability and performing architecture roadmapping and migration planning. Most important, the TOGAF ADM describes how to drive the realization of the target architecture through integration with the systems engineering and solution delivery lifecycles. Lastly, TOGAF describes how to sustain an EA capability through the operation of a governance framework to manage the evolution of the architecture. In a nutshell, DoDAF 2 provides a common vocabulary for architecture content, while TOGAF provides a common vocabulary for developing and using that content.
I hope that those of you in the Washington, D.C. area will join me at The Open Group conference next week, where we’ll continue the discussion of how to deliver DoDAF capabilities using TOGAF. For those of you who can’t make it, I’m pleased to announce that The Open Group will also be delivering a Livestream of my presentation (free of charge) on Monday, July 16 at 2:45 p.m. ET.
Hope to see you there!
Chris Armstrong, president of Armstrong Process Group, Inc., is an internationally recognized thought leader in Enterprise Architecture, formal modeling, process improvement, systems and software engineering, requirements management, and iterative and agile development. Chris represents APG at The Open Group, the Object Management Group and the Eclipse Foundation.