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 the Evaluate, Analyse &
Modify of EMMA
And the Guidance is effectively the entire framework.
Some frameworks only contain one of the above (e.g. Zachman
is only an Ontology - an Artefact).
Some frameworks contain some of the above (e.g. TOGAF has No
information on Context, Culture or Adoption.
And some frameworks contain all of the above (e.g. POET and
Many people take the view that a framework consists only of Artefact
information, e.g. meta-models, ontologies, reference models, etc. This tends to
be a very engineering and IT myopic view. This view is plainly not true.
Frameworks can contain all of the things that EMMA, MACE and MAGMA define, for
example, 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.