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TOGAF Version 9 came out with a bang on February 2, 2009. Although the core of TOGAF -- the Architecture Development Method (ADM) -- remains the same, there are many changes within the framework making TOGAF even more modular and providing further standardization, guidance, and support around how the framework is applied in practice.

Key enhancements include the addition of the newly defined Architecture Content Framework making TOGAF into a truly standalone framework and a detailed set of guidelines and techniques for applying the ADM in a number of real-world scenarios. Another major change is that TOGAF 9 has eliminated the Resource Base transitioning much of it to the newly introduced Architecture Capability Framework. Portions of the Resource Base have also been moved to the relevant TOGAF sections. For example, the complete discussion on Business Scenarios, which was formally part of the Resource Base, is now its own chapter in Section III: ADM Guidelines and Techniques of the TOGAF 9 specification.

In this article, I will focus on one particular enhancement to the TOGAF 9 framework -- the formalization of iterative application of the ADM (and hence TOGAF).

The concept of "iteration"

The basic definition of an iteration in computer science is the process of executing the same set of instructions a given number of times or until a specified result is obtained. The concept of an iterative approach in project management or software development is not new and is prevalent in most modern day methodologies associated with those fields. Iterative approaches are touted with many benefits such as better adaptation to changing requirements, more manageable change control, higher quality deliverables, increased probability of on-time and on-budget completion, and better risk management. All of these benefits ultimately lead to the fundamental goal of a successful endeavor and thus higher customer satisfaction.

The TOGAF specification cites similar reasons for wanting to apply iterations as part of a TOGAF-based enterprise architecture initiative. Enterprise architecture by its very nature (and as any veteran architect will vouch for) is a complex undertaking that involves much uncertainty. A good deal of this uncertainty can be alleviated by an iterative approach that reduces risk by facilitating extensive proof-of-concepts and prototypes that allow the architecture to be proved in a trial environment. In addition to these very important benefits, an iterative approach to applying ADM allows an organization to better adapt and integrate the ADM with other key IT and management processes, tollgates, and checkpoints.


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