Archive for category Enterprise Architecture Book Reviews

Mastering ArchiMate

Wierda

This is not your usual architecture book as its title suggests it is about modelling using the ArchiMate notation. The author doesn’t promote any particular tool and concentrates on the notation, which recently underwent a major revision.

Whether you are new to ArchiMate or have been using it for some time I think you’ll find this book useful. It starts with the foundational ideas of ArchiMate explaining the basic Elements and Relations: 3 x 3 x 3 rule. That’s the three rows of the meta-model, the Business and Information layer, the Application and Data and the Technology layers. These are subdivided into the Active Structure, the Behaviour and the Passive Structure. The trinity is completed by three types of relations Structural, Dynamic and “Other”. The discussion is accompanied by a multitude of concise examples and you could do a lot worse than drawing these examples up as you go along.

With the basics out of the way the text moves on to the more arcane elements like Interactions and Collaborations again providing lots of examples. With the core elements taken care of chapter three looks at Derived Relations and some pit falls for new players (Chapter 4).

Chapter six is all about style and patterns, the things that make the views easier to read. If you are new to modelling this is useful stuff, it’s the kinds of things that you’d rather not have to learn through your own mistakes. I’d suggest that you might even consider including some of the Anti-Patterns in your modelling standards.

The Advanced Subjects section is particularly interesting. Arguably, there is no right or wrong way of doing things, ArchiMate is a notation like English and there’s always someone who can write better than you. So, I’m interested in the ways that people choose to model particular scenarios and Wierda provides a couple of examples that I’ve never had to consider, data entry for example. But I must confess feeling a little let down by the section on ESBs. Given the prevalence of buses these days I think that his examples are frankly a bit laboured and perhaps a bit self indulgent. After all the purpose of modelling is to drive out ambiguity not obscure the issue in notation. I think this section is definitely a C –. I simply can’t believe that he couldn’t do better!

However, over all you have to give this work two thumbs up. If you’re modelling with ArchiMate get a copy. If you are not, get with the programme, buy a copy and start modelling.

Wierda, Gerben 2014, Mastering ArchiMate Edition II, P & A, The Netherlands
ISBN: 978-90-819840-4-1

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ArchiMate 2.1 Specifiction

 

TOGAF

 

I have to declare my position. It will probably come as no surprise to those who read this site that I’m not exactly a fan of  TOGAF. But, I have to say one of the best things they have ever done is support ArchiMate.  I am a big fan of ArchiMate and use and promote it virtually every working day.  So when I found out that a new version had been released I had to have it. So,  in a way this is as much a review of ArchiMate than of the book.

If you don’t use the ArchiMate notation you need to get with the programme,  anything else  is like drawing in mud with a stick, messy and imprecise. First, a bit of a warning,  there seems to have been a bit of a false start with version 2 of the specification and it seems that version 2 was short lived, perhaps only a few months. So, be warned there are still version 2.0 publications lurking around.

If you are familiar with ArchiMate I think you’ll be pleased with the new specification’s work on the language structure. Things have been clarified, aligned with the TOGAF crop circle and two new language extensions added, Implementation and Migration,  and Motivation.  Another, long overdue, and very useful addition  is figure 59 on page 102. The Classification of Enterprise Architecture Viewpoints is a clever hexagonal model that identifies the use and target audiences of each viewpoint. Personally, I think this model should have featured much earlier in the work, but no matter at least its there and I think that new users in particular will find it useful.

As for the book, it’s soft back and I don’t think that’s a good idea for a working document.  Mine is already showing the early signs of disintegration, despite considerable care being taken. Generally speaking the layout is clean and utilitarian and at less that 200 pages a pretty fair achievement. There are appropriately brief explanations of theoretically related topics like frameworks, which are useful for the novice in particular. But, I have to say that the book would look better if the text were aligned on both margins and I have come across the occasional odd sounding sentence. But, these are small asides.

If you are considering buying this book, and I really think all architects should, you’ll be interested to know that there is also a really useful Pocket Guide to ArchiMate, that I suspect may turn out to be more survivable, that you can get delivered to your door for about $25.

Highly recommended.

The Open Group,  ArchiMate 2.1 Specification, The Open Group Series, Van Haren Publishing, Zaltbommel

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A Down to Earth Guide to SDLC Project Management

DowntoEarth

While this book is not an architecture book, I’ve always maintained that architects need to be across the entire project delivery life cycle. So I think it’s relevant.

I’ll start with the book’s shortcomings,  but don’t let them put you off, as it does have something to offer. To be frank,  the style is a little rough, perhaps naive would be a better word, but there’s nothing here that a good copy editor couldn’t sort out.  Personally, I’m not a fan of the “Dummies Guide” style of cartoons that the author uses, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s perhaps particularly true when the writing’s not that good. Well, that’s enough bagging, and to miss-use another well worn saying, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Or good ideas by their presentation.

This book is the very thoughtful work of, a clearly very bright person, who was thrown in the deep end. Placed in that unenviable position rather than just panicking, he embarked on a a crash course education in project management and the result is this book.

It’s clearly  intended for people in similar circumstances and, when you accept that that is the origin of its shortcomings, it works very well. The author trots through the usual stuff, with an often surprising and refreshing combination of naivete and intelligent insight, and that’s what saves the book. It keeps throwing up little variations on the usual.

The author fearlessly tackles the tricky questions. Take for example, a question that stumps many experienced project managers. How do you reconcile the inclination to a waterfall view of the world, that project managers have, with an agile software development methodologies? While the book’ s views are sometimes a little unorthodox, they are typically thought through and well argued.

This is an ideal book for PMs just starting out and as a refresher for experienced PMs and Architects.

The book will undoubtedly, irritate some people, they shouldn’t buy it. But, I have to say that I bought and I think its worth its space on the book shelf. It’s a little, irreverent and a little disruptive, to the usual project management discourse and I like that.

Boyde, Joshua 2013, A Down to Earth Guide to SDLC Project Management

 

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A Reference Architecture for Enterprise Architecture

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First I have to declare that while I’ve never worked with Phil I have worked in the same organization and I do know him. So with any conflict of interest covered off we can now get down to business.

There are lots of books that will offer either directly or discursively a reference architecture. But typically these focus either a particular technology or problem domain. This book is different its focus is EA as it says in the early pages it is an aid to learning how to do EA.

Despite what the Open Group would have you believe there are many architectural methodologies around and in my humble opinion one of the best is Scott Bernard’s EA3 Framework. (Reviewed on this site).

One of the problems that confronts,  particularly inexperienced architects, is tackling the chosen framework. What techniques need to be applied? Where should the effort be concentrated? And often, after not very long, why are we doing this bit? It’s about this time that having lost their way that projects typically reach crisis point.

What this book does is give you nine succinct sections, one for each layer of the model. Each section is an about twenty pages of good hard executable advice. Many of the questions could be and have been argued ad nauseam  leading projects into the analysis paralysis that is the fate of so many projects. For example “Don’t labour on the shared enterprise and business services”, in two paragraphs the book  puts the issue to bed and that’s typical of its no nonsense approach. One feature I like is that the Conclusion and Summary chapter is only one page.

Following the nine sections are a series of appendices that include an audit model, lists of questions and examples and some suggested reading. Unlike many appendix which are kind of the author’s bottom desk draw there is some real gold in these particularly for the new architect.

While this book is written with a particular methodology in mind and that in itself limits its applicability that should not be used as an excuse for ignoring it. This is a book for Enterprise Architects with a lot of hard won wisdom in it that will earn its place on your bookshelf. Highly recommended, for all sorts of reasons.

Woodworth, P.A. 2013, A Reference Architecture for Enterprise Architecture, Phil Woodworth, Sydney

ISBN: 9780646595276

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How To Measure Anything

How To Measure Anything

 

Intangible value and Enterprise Architecture are two kindred topics. Accountants would have us believe that if you can’t value something it has no value. Which is kind of hypercritical when you consider that the biggest number on a balance sheet is usually depreciation and that’s a guess! Anyway if you find yourself in the predicament of having to assess the value of the seemingly unknowable  then this book might just be the help you need.

There’s nothing radical in this book, you have probably seen it all before. But here it is all thoughtfully put together in a single volume with some telling questions, that need to be asked before you start measuring and topped off with a bit of method. I do like a good method.

The book consists of four sections Measurement, Before You Measure, Measurement Methods and Beyond the Basics which contain fourteen chapters in about 260 pages. The topics cover the purpose and meaning of measurement, the amount of measuring you should do, the type of measuring, risk, Monte Carlo simulation through to information  economics.

I’m by no means an expert in this field, but then neither is the average architect. So I’d suggest that while this technically isn’t an architecture book it does cover a relevant and often tricky topic and so is a useful addition to the arsenal. Particularly if you get into one of those what’s the value of architecture bun fights.

Hubbard, Douglas W. 2007, How To Measure Anything Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business, John Wiley  & Sons Inc, Hoboken, New Jersey

ISBN: 978-0-470-11012-6

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Documenting Software Architectures

“There is no significant meaning to the arrows between the boxes”.  Ain’t that the truth! Perhaps more readily than any other profession IT architects reach for the whiteboard marker to try and explain themselves. It’s amazing given our limited symbolic repertoire, typically  boxes, arrows, clouds and stick men that we so often fail to drive out the ambiguity. Only recently I was reminded of this  when a colleague surprised me with his interpretation of a “read” arrow! Does the component read the data or does the data flow from the source to the component?

Perhaps the emergence of Archimate  has reduced the significance of this work, which is now quite old, but it is undeniable that documentation is still a challenge in many organizations and that’s not just limited to getting the budget to do it.

The book opens with a chapter on the role of architecture before covering off the basics, viewtypes,  styles and symbols, which it supports with seven pretty useful rules of documentation. That are worth repeating here.  Write from the readers point of view, avoid repetition, avoid ambiguity, easier said than done. Use standard organization, record rationale, keep the documentation current and review for fitness of purpose.

The book then pursues a three viewtype model. Module, Component and Connector and Allocation with extensive chapters on each.  These it supports with a chapter on “Advanced Concepts” which tackles the thorny questions of  how do you know when a description is complete, what to do about variability and dynamism and creating a new style. This is followed up with chapters on  View Selection, Documentation Behavior, Building the Documentation Package, before closing with a look at artifacts from RUP, Siemens 4 Views, C4ISR, ANSI /IEEE standards and RM-ODP.

Documentation is an important, but often neglected aspect of architecture. Reading this book will certainly get you thinking about it, even if you don’t agree completely there’s some thought provoking content.

Clements, Paul, Bachmann, Felix, Bass, Len, Garlan, David, Ivers, James, Little, Reed, Nord, Robert and Stafford, Judith 2003, Documenting Software Architecture Views and Beyond, Addison-Wesley, Boston

 

ISBN 0-21-70372-6

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The Zoom Factor

Typically the EA books I review are a summary of the author’s heuristic experiences; they provide viewpoints, models and tools for managing the challenges of EA. Fewer authors opt for an holistic approach; perhaps these books are best described as being about “approaches to EA” rather than methodological detail.

Zoom Effect is unique in the way it places the reader at the centre of a discussion about developing the Platonic (in the philosophical sense of ideal form) master architect. While the book could have  slipped every easily into being just another light weight methodology book the author has successfully fused perspectives, personalized the topic and sharpened our focus by engaging our self interest, a clever twist. The Zoom Effect is an EA book dedicated to developing you and accelerating your career and that’s different!

The book is divided into five sections: Set Your Foundation, The Process Driven Architect, Realize Your Soft Skills, Propel Your Perspective and Achieving Architectural Altitude. As you might gather from the titles this book’s aim is to apply an Architecture Development Methodology to your career. The five sections containing twenty one chapters with around ninety topics are covered in a little over 320 thematically organized pages supported by checklists and self assessments to keep you focused and on track.

As one might imagine with only three or so pages to each topic there’s very little actual method in this book. But that’s not the point; there is a lot of clear thinking and straight talking delivered in a very matter of fact and easy to read style. Where the book goes a little too methodological it can be disappointing; the Gap Analysis topic for example isn’t going to set the world on fire. But, it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t detract from the book’s value, which is in its promotion of the ethos and ethics of architecture rather than the mechanics of method.

The book succinctly; and in my opinion rather refreshingly, calls out the shortcomings of TOGAF and perhaps, all formal methodologies for that matter; without disrupting the narrative that being a good architect is the sum of many tacit skills and it does this without becoming limp. The Zoom Effect is kind of Zen meets the Zachman Framework.

Anyone who spends time on architectural forums and has noticed that there’s always questions about education on them will instantly know that there’s a place for this book. This is a book that’s time has come. Even if you are a well established architect it’s well worth reading.

This is a book that you can start your library with, but it would be unfair to label it as an introduction or an architectural text book, it’s so much more than that. If you are looking specific advice on how to progress your career I don’t think that you’ll do better than this, highly recommended.

Evans, Sharon E. 2010, Zoom Factor for the Enterprise Architect, Firefli Media, Winnipeg

ISBN: 978-0-9812609-0-7

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Enterprise Architecture for Integration

I’ve wanted to get my hands on a copy of this book for a numbers of years and it didn’t disappoint me. Written by one of the doges of EA this 500 page tomb will have no doubt attracted more than its fair share of detractors.

In this world of short attention spans almost anybody who pays more than a passing nod to Zachman seems to be immediately labeled as either too academic or simply too methodologically heavy.  If you’re of this ilk then this is not the book for you. However, if completeness and rigor are the heart of your philosophy then this is a book for you.

The book opens with the obligatory evolution of EA chapter, trotting out the usual stuff you’d expect. And then it shifts focus to Finkelstein’s real passion in a chapter entitled Using Enterprise Architecture for Enterprise Integration. It is in his treatment of data and meta data in particular that this book makes its contribution. Data as the fine grain of integration is its underlying theme. Perhaps not surprising for Finkelstein.

Part one literally covers off the business end of EA with chapters on Strategy Maps and Balanced Score Cards and business planning.

Part two discusses methodologies, SDLC, EA and Governance are all covered. It also takes a look at DoDAF, Modelling, Alignment and Business Normalization and even screen design. But its real contribution for me is the “Business Driven Data Mapping for Integrated Data” chapter.

Part three is a reasonable, but perhaps half hearted technology overview, but by now the book has made its point. But, there is an interesting after thought about the semantics of messaging that is worth your consideration.

On the casual to rigorous scale this book is definitely off towards the rigorous end and this will not make it popular with those who have yet to suffer sufficient pain to realise that there is no substitute for rigor.

A book for the technicians, highly recommended.

Finkelstein, Clive 2006, Enterprise Architecture for Integration, Artech House, Boston.

ISBN 1-58053-713-8

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Information Systems Transformation

This book consists of a little theory which is a touch on the light weight side and a good 300 pages (out of about 420) on ten cases studies. The theory is concise and pithy asking the right sorts of questions to set the context for a transformation project. Given the nature of such projects and their often unique circumstances I don’t think it’s fair to expect much more in this department. The sheer diversity of transformation projects makes it difficult to develop any theory or even  generalize patterns.

The real strength of this work is its case studies they cover a very wide gambit. There are air traffic control systems, higher education systems, military systems and a bit of good old COBOL re engineering.  The case studies include MUMPS, COTS and a 4GL project, in all they’re a pretty eclectic collection which highlight the complexity of this problem space.

If you are involved in a transformation project I’d suggest that you read this book as part of your preparation, you are unlikely to find a perfect fit. However, the depth and variety of these case studies will undoubtedly provoke  some thoughts and prime you with some good questions.

This is a book for the architect leading the transformation. He’ll have to extract the relevant lessons for the planned transformation from the case studies; there’s no cookie cutter here and there are many things to consider.

This is a good book, whose time is now. While it perhaps has only a limited audience it is undoubtedly a useful tomb. It’s surprising how little good literature there is on transformation.

Ulrich, William M., Newcomb, Philp H. 2010, Information Systems Transformation,Morgan Kaufman, Burlington.

ISBN 978-0-12-374913-0

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Making EIM Work for Business


I’ve noticed that over time the importance that architectural methods ascribe to data seems to shift. For some authors data is  just the stuff that gets processed for others it is the center of the universe.  Needless to say both approaches have consequences.

This is a methodology book, but with a twist. What it proposes is a complete architectural methodology specifically developed with Enterprise Information Management in mind. One I think that could be adopted without compromising for example your integration architecture.

It blends elements of SDLC and architectural concepts like maturity models, frameworks, principles and road maps into a cohesive whole.  It includes sections that are typically thought of as being in the realm of the data architect like Enterprise Taxonomy and topics that one would usually consider enterprise issues like governance.

The book is little over 500 pages in 30 chapters . The first few chapters introduce the usual issues around data, is it an asset? Is it fuel? And sets some definitions. Then if moves on to explore the challenges of EIM. These chapters are effective without being too academic and would serve as a good primer for anyone trying to come to grips with the topic from a management or strategy perspective. Only chapter eight is a  bit of a disappointment at three and half pages “The Economic Conundrum of Information” does its best, but does manage one little gem “Remember there is is not a single CEO who will tell you information is NOT a critical asset …”

These chapters are followed by a ten or so chapters some 300 pages of detailed methodology with numerous examples and loads of good questions that you will have to ask your clients. It will take some time to internalize this methodology and the author acknowledges this by devoting chapters to sustaining and aligning EIM.

While this book might be criticized by the hard core data architect as not technical enough there is no escaping its usefulness as both a pragmatic methodology and a means of educating and aligning the business in particular. This is a book for Chief Architects, Data Architects, C level executives and any well read architect. Recommended!

Ladley, John  2010,  Making EIM Work for Business, Mogan Kaufmann, Burlington.

ISBN 978-0-12-375695-4

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