What is a Framework?
This is a common question and one that has almost as many
answers (if not more!) as the eternal “What is EA?” question.
All Frameworks exist to improve the way something is done (i.e.
to increase the effectiveness and efficiency and to reduce the risk of failure).
In many respects they are an expression of “Best Practice”. They contain
different types of things depending upon the purpose of the framework - its
More specifically, Frameworks are composed of information
processes, practices, etc) and/or
Ontologies, Metamodels, Reference Models, Product Descriptions etc) and/or
Culture (e.g. People,
Culture, Values, Psychology, etc) and/or
Tools, Frameworks, etc)
There must be at least one thing in at least one of these
areas for it to be a framework.
In addition, a Framework may optionally also contain information
Context (How the Framework relates to the wider context of
the domain and therefore defines the domain of the framework)
Adoption (How the
Framework can be adopted)
of Adoption can be further defined in
How adoption will occur (EMMA)
How each of the MAC and E will be matured (MAGMA):
Motivation to change MAC or E
Actions to change MAC or E
Guidance to change MAC or E
Measures to change MAC or E
Assessment of the maturity of MAC or E
The Maturity model is effectively the entire Adoption
The Actions are effectively Evaluate, Analyse & Modify
The Guidance is effectively the entire framework.
Some frameworks contain all of the above (e.g POET and
Some frameworks contain some of the above (e.g TOGAF has No
information on Context, Culture or Adoption).
Some frameworks contain only one of the above (e.g. Zachman
is only an Ontology - an Artefact).
Many people take the view that a framework consists of only
Artefact - meta-models, meta-meta-models (ontology), reference models, etc.
This is a very engineering and IT myopic view.
However, this is plainly not true.
There are legal Frameworks, political Frameworks, cultural
Frameworks, analysis Frameworks, architectural Frameworks, management
Frameworks, business Frameworks, project management Frameworks, software
development Frameworks, governance Frameworks, modelling Frameworks, etc, etc,
etc. They may or may not have some information relating to meta-models or
meta-meta-models or ontologies etc, but they are all frameworks - even the ones
with no meta-model.
How do you define a framework?
What kinds of things would you
put in a Framework?
What Frameworks do you know
and what types of things do they contain?