Speaking of the TOGAF® Library

By Terry Blevins, Fellow of The Open Group, Enterprise Architect at Enterprise Wise LLC

I was delighted to attend another one of The Open Group TOGAF® User Group meetings. This one was held in London on April 18, 2018 with great interactions between users of the TOGAF Standard, experts, and staff of The Open Group. Attendees got that chance to Share experiences, be Enlightened by news, and Engage in the development process by expressing needs – i.e. to SEE TOGAF a little differently.

Of course, User Groups are neither the start, nor the end. There are bound to be follow-up actions that were inspired by the event. Some actions may produce changes to the TOGAF Standard in the process started decades ago. Some actions may be as simple as follow-up discussion on certain topics.  And hopefully some actions will be users taking advantage of what they learned in the event.

As a simple follow-up discussion, this blog, one of a few I plan, represents an action I took for myself. The subject of this blog is the TOGAF Library and the context is addressing areas on interest brought up in the User Group meeting.

During the User Group meeting there were some areas in the current TOGAF Specification identified as areas of interest and/or areas in need of further development. Areas such as the following:

  • Digital transformation: How does Enterprise Architecture (EA) add value?
  • Agility and EA: Where is it useful, where not?
  • EA in a non-governance environments (i.e. the Netflix model): Is EA needed?
  • Handling requirements: How does EA help?
  • Selling EA: How to convince decision makers to fund and use EA?
  • EA as a service: Is it possible? Is it useful?
Another great point made was that the TOGAF Standard must remain generic. Some of the topics brought up are not meant to be dealt with in the standard, but rather supplemental guidance.

For the most part, the initial response to these questions, and rightfully so, was that each of these areas of interest have been part of the discussion within The Open Group Architecture Forum. Some are being actively worked, such as Agility and Digital Transformation. Some have been identified as areas to be worked as resources become available, such as further work on requirements, governance, and EA value proposition. But of most importance was the follow-up answer that each one of these areas has either explicitly or implicitly been written about or recorded based on real user experiences. And these writings and recordings are available!

So I asked myself “Have each of these areas been addressed through either a guide, a webinar, a white paper, case study, or work in process on the standard?” Where would I check? Well I knew that these writings and recordings are elements of The Open Group Library, of which there is a special portion dedicated as the TOGAF Library. I looked!

Instead of going into a detailed analysis of all the content in all the documents (who has this time?), I downloaded metadata of the contents in the TOGAF Library and Enterprise Architecture Webinars from The Open Group Library. Then I asked myself two key questions for each of these items “Is it likely that this item implicitly or explicitly address the areas of interest?” And “Is it likely that this item is relevant to the areas of interest (i.e. would inform someone in the area)?”

Keeping in mind that I did this based on title and description of the item, rather than full review, the following were my counts per area of interest:

  • Digital transformation
    • 3 likely to address – 32 likely to inform
  • Agility and EA
    • 4 likely to address – 10 likely to inform
  • EA in a non-governance environments
    • 5 likely to address – 20 likely to inform
  • Handling requirements
    • 4 likely to address – 12 likely to inform
  • Selling EA
    • 10 likely to address – 21 likely to inform
  • EA as a service
    • 2 likely to address – 18 likely to inform

Given this, I feel confident that the experts who responded to the User Group attendee questions were providing a fair assessment! There is a great resource to tap and no one should wait for something to appear in the standard to do right by their organization. If you are stumped, then go to the library!

@theopengroup   http://www.opengroup.org

Terence Blevins, a Fellow of The Open Group, is owner of Enterprise Wise LLC and a semi-retired Enterprise Architect. He is currently a Director of The Open Group Governing Board and an active contributor to the Healthcare Forum within The Open Group.

Terry has been involved with the architecture discipline since the 1980s, much of which was done while he was Director of Strategic Architecture at NCR Corporation. Terence has been involved with The Open Group since 1996 when he first was introduced to The Open Group Architecture Forum. He was co-chair of the Architecture Forum and frequent contributor of content to the TOGAF® framework including the Business Scenario Method. Currently he is excited to help the Healthcare Forum work on Boundaryless Healthcare Information Flow.

Terry was Vice President and CIO of The Open Group where he contributed to The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™.

He holds undergraduate and Masters degrees in Mathematics from Youngstown State University. He is TOGAF 8 certified.