The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is a popular framework for enterprise architecture. It provides a structured approach for designing, planning, implementing, and managing enterprise architecture. One of the key components of TOGAF is the Architecture Content Framework, which describes the types of architectural work products that should be produced during the development of an enterprise architecture. In this article, we will explore the key concepts of the Architecture Content Framework, including building blocks, artifacts, and deliverables, and how they relate to the TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM).
As mentioned before, the Architecture Content Framework is a component of the TOGAF standard that provides a structure for organizing and classifying the various types of architectural work products used within an enterprise architecture. The framework divides architectural work products into three categories:
In TOGAF, a deliverable is a specific type of work product that is formally reviewed, agreed upon, and signed off by stakeholders. Deliverables are typically contractually specified, meaning that they are defined and agreed upon in a contract or agreement between the enterprise and its stakeholders.
Deliverables are an important output of projects within the enterprise architecture framework. They represent the tangible results of the project, such as documents, reports, or other artifacts that provide insight into the architecture landscape at a specific point in time. These deliverables can be used to communicate the project’s progress, ensure that stakeholders are aligned, and support decision-making throughout the project’s lifecycle.
Once a project is completed, any deliverables that are in documentation form will typically be archived or stored in an Architecture Repository. The Architecture Repository serves as a reference model, standard, or snapshot of the architecture landscape at a specific point in time. This can be useful for future projects or initiatives, as it provides a historical record of the organization’s architecture and the decisions that were made along the way.
Examples of deliverables within the TOGAF framework might include:
- an Architecture Vision document,
- a Business Architecture document, or
- a Data Architecture document.
Each of these deliverables represents a specific aspect of the enterprise architecture and provides valuable insight into the organization’s current state and its goals for the future.
In TOGAF, artifacts are defined as architectural work products that describe a specific aspect of the architecture. These can take the form of lists, matrices, diagrams, or other types of documentation that provide insight into different aspects of the architecture landscape.
Artifacts can be classified into three types: catalogs, matrices, and diagrams.
- Catalogs are lists of related items, such as a list of business capabilities or a list of technology components.
- Matrices show relationships between different elements, such as a matrix that shows how business capabilities relate to business processes.
- Diagrams are visual representations of architecture elements, such as a diagram of a system or a process flow diagram.
Artifacts are often contained within deliverables, which are formally reviewed, agreed upon, and signed off by stakeholders. For example, a Business Architecture document may contain a catalog of business capabilities, a matrix showing the relationships between those capabilities and the business processes that support them, and a diagram of the high-level business architecture.
In addition to being contained within deliverables, artifacts can also be stored in an Architecture Repository for future reference. The Architecture Repository serves as a central location for storing and managing all of the artifacts and other resources that are used in the enterprise architecture framework. This can include everything from architecture principles and standards to reference models and templates.
Overall, artifacts are an important part of the TOGAF framework, as they provide a tangible way to document and communicate different aspects of the architecture landscape. By creating and maintaining high-quality artifacts, organizations can improve their ability to manage and optimize their enterprise architecture over time.
Building Blocks are components of enterprise capability that can be combined with other building blocks to deliver architectures and solutions. They can be defined at different levels of detail, depending on the stage of architecture development. For example, in the early stages of development, a building block may be a high-level description or outline of a concept, while in later stages, it may be more fully specified with accompanying artifacts.
Architecture Building Blocks (ABBs) are building blocks that describe the required capability of an enterprise architecture. They are used to shape the specification of Solution Building Blocks (SBBs) that will be used to implement that capability. ABBs are typically higher-level building blocks that are more abstract in nature and provide an overall structure for the architecture.
Solution Building Blocks (SBBs), on the other hand, are the components that will be used to implement the required capability. SBBs are lower-level building blocks that are more specific and concrete in nature. They can be used to realize the architectures and solutions of the enterprise, and are typically supported by complementary artifacts such as diagrams, models, or specifications.
To give an example, suppose an enterprise wants to develop a customer services capability. The Architecture Building Block might be a high-level description of the customer services capability, while the Solution Building Blocks could include specific components such as customer data management software, a customer service process, and a customer-facing application. These SBBs could be further decomposed into even more detailed building blocks, such as specific software modules or individual steps in the customer service process.
By using these three categories to describe the different types of architectural work products, the Architecture Content Framework provides a comprehensive approach to organizing and managing enterprise architecture work products.