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I can read the website blurb and be impressed by the alleged benefits, but I haven't worked anywhere or with anyone who followed the TOGAF (or any alternative) architecture framework.

Our organisation has declared itself dedicated to moving from what is currently a fairly shambolic design & development model towards something approaching a modern structured process.

Things like TOGAF have been mentioned as helping achieve a world-class enterprise development environment (!) but I'm convinced that no-one here really understands the real-world benefits that wholesale adoption might bring and, perhaps more importantly, the effort/pain required to achieve the same.

Do you have experience in using TOGAF or similar to wrestle control in an organisation? Do you think that use of the framework brought any benefit?

Edit: For clarification TOGAF is "The Open Group Architecture Framework", a detailed method and set of tools for developing an enterprise architecture. See: http://www.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf8-doc/arch/

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I don't have any TOGAF experience, so I'll answer in this comment instead. After reading the link, TOGAF looks very complex and highly academic. I suspect you'll never make it through the change. You are in a "shambolic development model" and that is bad, but why go to the other extreme opposite (which is just as bad)? Aim a little lower. Find a nice middle ground instead which works for you. –  Martin Wickman Dec 17 '10 at 12:14
Thanks to @Jon_Hopkins for the TOGAF definition –  Lunatik Dec 20 '10 at 9:08
Lookingatthe TOGAF website for 10 seconds reminds me too much of stuff like HL7, CDA and other absurd specifications that are an enormous hassle. –  whatsisname Dec 5 '12 at 4:09
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4 Answers

I've looked at TOGAF and my company uses other architectural frameworks but I haven't seen that one in use. I would say that these don't give you much "out of the box". But, if you use them to help structure your thinking around your system architectures, and adapt it to the particulars of your organization, it can be helpful.

Think about it like this. It is really hard to start from a blank page and say "let's write up our organization's architectural framework". Starting from TOGAF might be easier than starting from a blank page.

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+1 - TOGAF is a better starting point than any other shambolic design and development model. –  Mike H Jul 11 '11 at 3:30
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When you see a good move, look for a better one.
~Emanuel Lasker~

A fool and his money are soon parted.
~Thomas Tusser~

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This is a very obtuse way of answering the question, if it even is an answer. Downvoted. –  RationalGeek Dec 20 '10 at 14:12
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It's worthwhile doing. If you want to talk the same "language" as all the enterprise bigwig architects, you need to know TOGAF and PRINCE2.

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-1: This is not answer and I think a certification is the last think that would be useful in their situation. –  Jan Hudec Dec 5 '12 at 9:06
Please take a minute to read our guidelines on self promotion. I've removed the link from your answer for now, feel free to put it back in if you clearly disclose your affiliation with the site. –  Yannis Rizos Dec 5 '12 at 9:40
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Well, I have seen a couple of companies that were trying to adopt methodologies/frameworks similar to TOGAF (but not TOGAF) and in all of these cases I just witnessed failures.

As long as I have seen, there are at least three reasons for such failures:

  1. These metodologies/frameworks were so complicated that required a team by themself to be managed/adopted/implemented. The company ended up in doing only that. No time/people left for the real job. Even worse: this stuff interfered heavily with the day-to-day work.

  2. These metodologies/frameworks do not actually try to make the enterprise architecture and its business processes more manageable or more reliable. They just try to organize them (in a very academic way). This makes the whole thing more understandable/palatable from the (external) point of view of the management/business people but do not make it any better for the people who do the real work.

  3. These metodologies/frameworks take for granted that the management/business people know what they want to produce/provide beforehand. This is often not true. Making a marketable product/service is often a matter of experimenting and changing. The real nature of the product/service being produced/provided is really known only at the end of a long R&D process, not at the beginning. Trying to formalize/organize such an explorative process is just plain unrealistic.

As jkhollhepp said, If you have to re-organize a complicated architecture, it could be very hard to start from a blank page. In this case, using TOGAF or a similar framework as a starting point can be helpful. Despite this, I have the feeling that you should use TOGAF as a theoretical/conceptual model only. Any attempt to actually use it should be avoided until someone is able to demonstrate that it is actally required or unavoidable.

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