Rationalizing Architecture Practice; The TOGAF Approach

December 2015

Traditionally, IT portfolios are managed by proprietary practices, evolved through past experience and shaped by rapid business needs and opportunities. Decision makers develop IT vision from experience, business culture, technology advancements, etc. and make investment decisions accordingly. Learn from experience iteration feeds this process continually. This approach has been workable on many occasions as long is it can be kept under control with help of talented professionals and matured governance practices.

Architecture functions bring well defined structures to this routine and the TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM) provides a repeatable process to develop and maintain architectures. Activities are carried out within an iterative cycle of continuous architecture definition and realization. Nevertheless, executing a comprehensive ADM cycle requires extensive resources with participation of various organizational units and stakeholders. This is considerable amount of investment that needs to be justified properly and may not be feasible due to organization specific factors.

TOGAF is well aware of this fact and allows tailoring of the framework to the circumstances of the individual organization or project. Scope of architecture activity may be limited and formality may be reduced without impairing the spirit of architecture. TOGAF also groups ADM phases within iteration cycles to direct focus to particular activities to achieve a specific purpose. These iteration cycles are named in line with the concentration of the activities involved and the desired outcomes to be achieved.