In the ever-evolving world of enterprise architecture, it’s crucial for organizations to have a structured approach to managing their architectural assets and processes. The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) offers a comprehensive framework that includes Architecture Development Method (ADM) and Architecture Governance, which together provide a robust foundation for managing and governing architectural endeavors. In this article, we will delve into the significance of Architecture Governance in TOGAF and how it ensures effective management and compliance throughout the architecture development process.

Levels of Governance within the Enterprise: Understanding the Hierarchy

In the realm of enterprise architecture, governance plays a pivotal role in ensuring that architectural decisions align with an organization’s strategic objectives, policies, and standards. However, architecture governance doesn’t exist in isolation; it operates within a hierarchy of governance structures. This hierarchy encompasses various domains, each with its unique disciplines and processes. In this article, we will explore the different levels of governance within the enterprise and how they interact.

1. Corporate Governance:

At the pinnacle of the governance hierarchy lies corporate governance. It is the highest level of governance within an organization and encompasses the overarching framework of principles, rules, and practices that guide the entire enterprise. Corporate governance is responsible for the overall direction and management of the organization, ensuring that it operates ethically, responsibly, and in accordance with legal requirements.

This level of governance extends well beyond the scope of enterprise architecture frameworks like TOGAF. Instead, it addresses broader issues such as shareholder interests, strategic decision-making, financial transparency, and legal compliance. While corporate governance sets the tone for the entire organization, it also impacts architecture governance by defining the overall context and constraints within which architectural decisions must be made.

2. Technology Governance:

Beneath corporate governance, we find technology governance. This domain focuses on the management and control of technology-related activities within the organization. It encompasses policies, standards, and practices related to technology adoption, utilization, and innovation. Technology governance ensures that technology investments align with the organization’s strategic goals and that risks are appropriately managed.

Within the context of enterprise architecture, technology governance plays a critical role in guiding architectural choices related to technology platforms, tools, and solutions. It helps determine which technologies are suitable for the organization’s needs, ensuring that they are compatible with the broader corporate governance framework.

3. IT Governance:

One step further down the hierarchy is IT governance. This domain specifically addresses the management and control of information technology resources and activities. IT governance focuses on optimizing IT operations, enhancing IT service delivery, and managing IT-related risks.

In the realm of enterprise architecture, IT governance plays a crucial role in overseeing the implementation of architectural solutions and ensuring that they align with IT strategy and objectives. It also manages the allocation of IT resources, monitors project execution, and evaluates the performance of IT systems.

4. Architecture Governance:

Finally, at the level most closely related to enterprise architecture itself, we have architecture governance. This domain is responsible for the management and control of enterprise architectures and other architectural domains within the organization. It ensures that architectural decisions are made in alignment with the organization’s strategic direction, policies, and standards.

Architecture governance, as described in TOGAF and other enterprise architecture frameworks, provides the structure and processes for evaluating, approving, and overseeing architectural artifacts and decisions. It ensures that architecture development is consistent, compliant, and conducive to the organization’s objectives.

It’s important to note that each of these domains of governance may operate at multiple geographic levels within the organization—global, regional, and local. This adaptability allows for governance structures to be tailored to the specific needs and scope of different organizational units and geographic locations.

In conclusion, understanding the hierarchy of governance within the enterprise is essential for maintaining alignment between architectural decisions and the organization’s strategic goals. Corporate governance sets the overarching principles, while technology governance, IT governance, and architecture governance provide the necessary frameworks for managing and controlling technology, IT resources, and architectural assets within the organization. This layered approach to governance ensures that every aspect of the enterprise is coordinated and optimized for success.

The Role of ADM in Architecture Governance

The Architecture Development Method (ADM) is at the heart of TOGAF and serves as the cornerstone for managing the architecture development process. Whether adapted to the organization’s unique needs or used as documented within TOGAF, the ADM is a key process that must be managed just like any other architecture artifact. This means that the Architecture Board, a critical governance body within the framework, should ensure that the ADM is applied correctly across all phases of an architecture development iteration.

Why is this so important? Compliance with the ADM is fundamental to the governance of the architecture. It ensures that all necessary considerations are taken into account, and all required deliverables are produced throughout the architecture development process. In essence, it keeps the architectural work on track, aligning it with the organization’s strategic objectives and ensuring that the architecture remains both viable and relevant.

TOGAF ADM Architecture Governance

Within the context of The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), Architecture Governance is a critical component that ensures the successful development and evolution of enterprise architectures. It provides the structure and processes necessary to manage and control all aspects of architectural endeavors within an organization. In this article, we will focus on TOGAF’s Architecture Development Method (ADM) and how Phase G, dedicated to Implementation Governance, fits into the broader landscape of architecture governance.

The TOGAF ADM is a well-defined and widely accepted approach for creating and managing enterprise architectures. It consists of several phases, each with a specific focus and set of activities. Phase G, known as Implementation Governance, is particularly dedicated to ensuring the realization of the architecture through change projects. However, it’s crucial to understand that Implementation Governance is just one facet of the larger concept of architecture governance within TOGAF.

A Controlled Environment for Governance

The management of all architectural artifacts, governance, and related processes within TOGAF should be supported by a controlled environment. Typically, this controlled environment is based on one or more repositories that support versioned object and process control and status. These repositories play a crucial role in ensuring that architecture governance is not only effective but also traceable and accountable.

Within these repositories, several major information areas should be managed to support architecture governance effectively:

1. Reference Data: This includes collateral from the organization’s own repositories and the Enterprise Continuum, as well as external data sources such as COBIT and ITIL. Reference data is used for guidance and instruction during project implementation and provides the necessary details about governance procedures. It also helps ensure that the architecture aligns with established best practices and standards.

2. Process Status: This information area contains data regarding the state of governance processes. Examples of what it encompasses include outstanding compliance requests, dispensation requests, and compliance assessment investigations. Monitoring process status ensures that governance remains responsive to changing needs and issues.

3. Audit Information: Audit information is vital for recording completed governance process actions. It serves a dual purpose: first, it documents key decisions and the responsible personnel for any architecture project that has been sanctioned by the governance process. Second, it provides a valuable reference for future architectural and supporting process developments, offering guidance and precedence for upcoming endeavors.

Architecture Repository: The Home of Governance Artifacts

It’s important to note that the governance artifacts and processes themselves are part of the contents of the Architecture Repository. This repository, which is a central component of TOGAF, stores and manages architectural artifacts, including governance-related documentation and records. By housing governance artifacts within the repository, TOGAF ensures that they are easily accessible, version-controlled, and well-organized.


Architecture Governance in TOGAF is a systematic and structured approach to managing and governing architectural activities within an organization. It relies on the effective use of the ADM and a controlled environment supported by repositories to ensure compliance, traceability, and accountability throughout the architecture development process. By following the principles of Architecture Governance in TOGAF, organizations can align their architectural efforts with their strategic goals and adapt to evolving business needs more effectively.

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