TOGAF Basic Concepts Cheat Sheet / FAQ


Here is a list of FAQ style questions and answers I’ve put together about the basic TOGAF concepts.

What is the TOGAF standard?

TOGAF stands for The Open Group Architectural Framework. It is a tool for assisting in the acceptance, production, use and maintenance of enterprise architectures.  It is based on an iterative process model.

What is an enterprise according to the TOGAF standard?

The standard defines an “enterprise” as any collection of organisations that have a common set of goals.  Within TOGAF this can be extended to include supply chain partners working with the business to achieve its goals.  For example, an online store using a third-party distribution centre to store and despatch its orders would include the distribution company within its enterprise.
What is enterprise architecture according to TOGAF?

The official TOGAF standard doesn’t give a short/concise definition of what they consider to be Enterprise Architecture. I have therefore written the following summary from the Exec Overview of TOGAF which is contained in Part 1 the official Introduction. This follows on from the definition of an Enterprise given above.

The purpose of Enterprise Architecture is to optimise across the enterprise the often fragmented legacy of processes (both manual and automated) into an integrated environment that is responsive to change and supportive of the delivery of the business strategy.

Why do I need enterprise architecture?

The effective management and use of information through IT is a key factor in successful leading businesses. An enterprise architecture addresses this requirement by providing a strategic context for the evolution of the IT system in response to the constantly changing needs of the business environment.

A good Enterprise Architecture achieves the right balance between IT efficiency and business innovation. It both allows business units to innovate while maintaining an integrated and cohesive IT strategy enabling the closest possible synergy across the extended enterprise.

What are the business benefits? 

A good Enterprise Architecture will contribute to the profitability of the business/organisation in the following ways:

  • A more efficient business operation
    • Lower business operating costs
    • A more agile business
    • Capabilities will be shared across the business
    • Lower change management costs
    • A more flexible workforce
    • Improved business productivity
  • More efficient IT operation:
    • Lower software development, support and maintenance costs
    • Increased portability of applications
    • Improved interoperability and easier system and network management
    • Improved ability to address critical enterprise -wide issues like security (and data protection)
    • Easier upgrade and exchange of system components
  • Better return on existing investments and reduced risk for future investments
    • Reduced complexity in the business and IT
    • Maximum ROI in existing business and IT infrastructure
    • The flexibility to make, buy or out source business and IT solutions
    • Reduced risk overall in new investments and their cost of ownership
  • Faster, simpler and cheaper procurement
    •  Buying decisions are simpler because the information governing procurement is readily available in a coherent plan
    • The procurement process is faster – this maximises procurement speed and flexibility without sacrificing architectural coherence
    • The ability to procure heterogeneous multi-vendor open systems
    • The ability to secure more economic capabilities.

What is “architecture” in the context of the TOGAF standard?

In TOGAF Architecture has two meanings depending on the context:

  1. Pre-implementation: A formal description of a system or detailed plan of the system at a component level to guide it implementation.
  2. Post-implementation: The structure of component, their inter-relationship and the principles and guidelines governing their design and its evolution over time.

What is an architecture framework?

An architecture framework is a foundational structure or set of structures that can be used for developing a broad range of different architectures. It should describe a method for designing a target state of the enterprise in terms of a set of building blocks and for showing how the blocks fit together. It should also contain a set of tools and provide a common vocabulary. It should also include a list of recommended standards and compliant products that can be used to implement the building blocks.
•Why do I need a framework for enterprise architecture?

In some sectors, there are regulatory requirements to follow Enterprise Architecture.  However whatever sector using an architecture framework will:

  1. speed up and simplify architecture development,
  2. ensure better if not complete coverage of the design solution
  3. make certain that the architecture selected allows for future growth and meet the needs of a changing business.Why is the TOGAF standard suitable as a framework for enterprise architecture?
  1. TOGAF has been developed through collaboration of more than 300 Architecture Forum member companies from some of the worlds largest companies.
  2. The TOGAF standard plays an important role in standardising and risk reduction of the architecture development process
  3. TOGAF provides a best practice framework for adding value, enabling organisations to build workable and economic solutions addressing their business needs.
  4. TOGAF results in the delivery of an architecture that is consistent, reflects the news of stakeholders, employs best practice and gives due consideration to current requirements and the perceived future needs of the business.

•What does the TOGAF standard contain?

The key to TOGAF is the method known as the ADM (Architecture Development Method).

The TOGAF standard has 7 sections:

  1. Part 1: The introduction: This details the TOGAF approach and defines the terms used throughout the standard.
  2. Part 2: The Architecture Development Method (ADM) – the step by step approach to developing an enterprise architecture.
  3. Part 3: Guidelines and techniques for use in the ADM
  4. Part 4: The Architecture Content Framework
  5. Part 5: Enterprise Continuum Tools – This part discusses taxonomies and tools to categorise and store the outputs of architecture activity within an enterprise.
  6. Part 6: The TOGAF Reference Models – There are two reference models – a) TOGAF Reference Model (TRF) and b) the Integrated Information Infrastructure Reference Model (III-RM)
  7. Part 7: The Architecture Capability Framework – This part describes the organisation, processes, skills, roles and responsibilities required to establish an architectural practice within an enterprise.

The diagram below produced by the Open Group shows how these sections interact with each other.

The ADM (Part 2) is the core. Part III then gives more detailed guidelines and techniques used by the ADM.

The ADM process produces content that needs to be stored in the Enterprise Architecture repository. The repository structure is documented in part 4, the ACF (Architecture Content Framework). This in turn classifies the content using the taxonomy from Part V, the Enterprise Continuum and Tools.  At the start of a project, the content repository will initially be loaded with one of the reference models described in part VI, the TOGAF Reference Models.

The ACF (Part VII) describes how to set up an architectural practice to operate the ADM.

•What are the different types of architecture that the TOGAF standard deals with?

  1. Business Architecture: The business strategy, governance, organisation and key business processes.
  2. Data Architecture: The structure of an organisations logical and physical data assets and data management resources.
  3. Application Architecture: A blueprint for the individual application systems to be deployed, their interactions and their relationships to the core business processes of the organisation.
  4. Technology Architecture: The software and hardware capabilities that are required to support the deployment of business, data and application services. This includes IT infrastructure, middleware, networks, comms, processing and standards.

What are the TOGAF ADM phase names and the purpose of each phase? •

  1. Preliminary Phase
  2. Phase A: Architecture Vision
  3. Phase B: Business Architecture
  4. Phase C: Information Systems Architecture
  5. Phase D: Technology Architecture
  6. Phase E: Opportunities and Solutions
  7. Phase F: Migration Planning
  8. Phase G: Implementation Governance
  9. Phase H: Architecture Change Management

Requirements Management: this is the process for managing architectural requirements throughout the ADM.

The iterative nature of the ADM and these phases is captured in  the ADM diagram produced by the Open Group.

What are the TOGAF deliverables, artefacts, and building blocks? •

The Architecture Content Framework uses the following three categories to describe the type of architectural work products:

  1. Deliverables: A work product that the project is contractually required to produce.
  2. Artefact: A work product this is just an aspect of the overall architecture. These are generally catalogues (lists of things), diagrams and matrices (showing the relationship between things). Examples include a requirements catalogue and Use Case diagrams.
  3. Building Blocks: These represent potentially re-usable components of business, IT or architectural capability. These can be combined with other building blocks to deliver architectural solutions.

There are two types of Building Blocks:

  1. ABB (Architecture Building Blocks) – these describe the required capability.
  2. SBB (Solution Building Blocks) – These represent components to be used to implement the required capability.

What is the TOGAF Enterprise Continuum?

Here is the definition from the TOGAF 9 Part V (Enterprise Continuum and Tools)

The Enterprise Continuum provides a view of the Architecture Repository that shows the evolution of these related architectures from generic to specific, from abstract to concrete and from logical to physical.

What is the TOGAF Architecture Repository?

This is a structure for storing all the outputs of the ADM. The major components within the structure of the repository are:

  1. Architecture Metamodel:
  2. Architecture Capability
  3. Architecture Landscape: What building blocks are in use in the organisation today.
  4. Standards Information Base (SIB): Standards internal and external that the architecture and solution must comply with.
  5. Reference Library: Contains guidelines, templates, patterns and other references materials that can be leveraged.
  6. Governance Log: A record of governance activities across the enterprise.

How to establish and operate an enterprise architecture capability? •

The TOGAF standard recommends that an Enterprise Architecture practice should be run like an other operational unit within a business and it should therefore be treated like a business.  On that basis the architectural practice will need to establish the following capabilities:

  • Financial Management
  • Performance Management
  • Service Management
  • Risk Management
  • Resource Management
  • Communication and Stakeholder Management
  • Quality Management
  • Supplier Management
  • Configuration Management
  • Environment Management
  • Architectural Goverenace – this being key and the benefits include:
    • Clarity of accountability and informed delegation of authority
    • Controlled risk management
    • Protection of the existing asset base through maximising re-use of existing architectural components
    • Proactive control, monitoring and management processes
    • Process, concept, and component re-use across all business units.
    • Value creation through monitoring, evaluation and feedback
    • Increased visibility supporting internal processes and external partners. A key example being visibility of decision making at lower levels in the business which could have far reaching strategic implications.
    • Great shareholder value; in particular enterprise architecture increasinly represents core IPR. There is evidence that the most profitable businesses have well governed enterprises.
    • Integrates with existing process and methodologies and complements functionality bu adding control capabilities.

How to use the TOGAF framework with other frameworks?

  • TOGAF is a generic framework intended to be used in a wide variety of environments.
  • TOGAF provides a flexible and extensible content framework that underpins a set of generic architectural deliverables
  • TOGAF can be used on its own or merged with other frameworks that are more specific to the operating environment.
  • In ALL cases it is expected that the architect will tailor TOGAF to integrate into the processes and organisation structure of the enterprise.
  • Tailoring may include integrating methods from ITIL, CMMI, COBIT, PRINCE2, PMBOK and MSP.
  • As TOGAF is a generic framework it also complements vertical specific frameworks such as security and e-Commence.

What is the TOGAF ADM cycle?•

The ADM diagram above is carefully drawn to try and make it clear that the ADM supports an iterative approach at three levels:

  1. Cycling around the ADM i.e. A to H several times.
  2. Between phases: For example from Technology Architecture back to Business Architecture.
  3. Around a single phase: For example iterating around a single phase as a technique for elaborating the architectural content.

What are the typical sets of steps within a phase?•
What is the versioning convention used for deliverables? •
What is its relationship to other parts of the TOGAF standard? •
What is the purpose of the supporting guidelines and techniques? •
What is the difference between guidelines and techniques? •
What are the key points of the ADM cycle?
•Why would I need to adapt the ADM to my enterprise? •
Why does the ADM process need to be governed? •
What are the major information areas covered by a governance repository?•
What are the reasons for scoping the architecture activity for my organisation?•
What are the possible dimensions for limiting the scope? •
Why is there a need for an integration framework that sits above individual architectures?

Feedback / Questions / Comments about this FAQ:

If you spot any errors, need any clarifications or have questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Some of my best blogs have been written as a result of questions from readers.


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