Time to rename it?
There is an interesting discussion on the Zachman Framework LinkedIn group, about the practical use and tool support for the Zachman Framework. I’ve put up a couple of comments because
- the Zachman Framework is not a good basis for a practical EA use or tool support, and
- it is about time that it was renamed as the Zachman Ontology as it is not a framework in the correct EA use of the term.
Here are some of my key points:
The comparison of the Zachman Framework to the Periodic Table is very apt – they are both useful references:
- You can learn a lot from the Zachman Framework (although there are better ways to explain the concepts), but it is not intended to be the interface to an EA tool.
- To create practical architecture management tools or software support you need to deconstruct the elements (or atoms) described in the Zachman’s ontology and re-combine them as a set of simple, more practical diagrams, matrices or frameworks – commonly known as Multiple Integrated Architecture Frameworks (MIAFs).
- These simpler frameworks would be a better starting point as the basis for software support!
The Zachman “Framework” is an Ontology:
- John Zachman makes this clear in his presentations when he says that:
“The Zachman Framework schema technically is an ontology – a theory of the existence of a structured set of essential components of an object for which explicit expression is necessary (is mandatory?) for designing, operating and changing the object”.
- John also says:
“The Zachman Framework is NOT a methodology for creating the implementation (an instantiation) of the object”.
- The best definition of a framework is in the ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 standard, which says that
“An architecture framework establishes a common practice for using, creating, interpreting, and analyzing architecture descriptions within a particular domain of application or stakeholder community. ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 formalizes a framework as a set of predefined, interconnected viewpoints.”
So maybe it is time to refer to the Zachman “Framework” correctly as the Zachman Ontology?
By doing that we can make a clear distinction between ontology, methodology and framework!