Why I Like the Zachman Framework Architecture
The true measure of an idea’s elegance lies in its simplicity. By this test, the Zachman Framework Architecture is a masterpiece. Curiously, each proponent seems to conceive his own particular set of reasons for liking it. Not to detract from others, here are mine. They read like a litany for IRM.
- Because architecture is important. Significant investment in constructing
anything of substantial complexity or duration is made most wisely following a prior
blueprint. We know this to be true for skyscrapers, microchips, space shuttles,
and home remodeling; the Framework supports it for information systems.
- Because perspective is important. “Perspective” is a term sometimes
used for a row in the Framework. Clearly, the perspective relevant to the
user is not the same as the perspective relevant to the designer, which is not the
same as the perspective relevant to the builder, etc. This is a simple insight,
but sterling nonetheless.
- Because communication is important. The columns of the Framework
mandate the questions: what, how, where, who,
when, and why. This guidance is both clear and complete.
Perspectives (as above), plus what questions to ask, equals matrix for communication.
- Because data is important. Putting the question “what” (data)
on an equal footing with “how” (process) runs counter to those basic habits
of the industry that IRM professionals constantly battle. The Framework stands
out for that simple, yet courageous act.
- Because integration is important. The essence of integration is
unifying facts. This is as true for systems of methodologies (meta-systems)
as it is for systems of regular business information. Think of the Framework
as a comprehensive guide to unification (integration) of meta-facts. This
is subtle -- but elegance usually is.
- Because innovation is important. The Framework is not complete, especially the three new columns. But it permits us to grasp where completeness lies, and how to judge when we’ve achieved it. For me, this methodological bootstrapping is a final stroke of brilliance.
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