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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 domain.

More specifically, Frameworks are composed of information relating to:

¨      Methods (e.g. processes, practices, etc) and/or

¨      Artefacts (e.g. Ontologies, Metamodels, Reference Models, Product Descriptions etc) and/or

¨      Culture (e.g. People, Culture, Values, Psychology, etc) and/or

¨      Environment (e.g. 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 relating to:

¨      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)

The composition of Adoption can be further defined in terms of:

·         How adoption will occur (EMMA)

·         How each of the MAC and E will be matured (MAGMA):

o   the Motivation to change MAC or E

o   the Actions to change MAC or E

o   the Guidance to change MAC or E

o   the Measures to change MAC or E

o   the Assessment of the maturity of MAC or E

The Maturity model is effectively the entire Adoption section.

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 PEAF).

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?


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