There is a profusion of frameworks in use in IT, and outside of those used in application development, most are little more than one individual having an attempt at writing down ‘common sense’. For the most part, these frameworks have been created via one of two reasons;For application in a specific organisation, either a company (Zachmann, IBM) or a group of similar minded individuals (TOGAF)
Since they stem from one individual, they are, as a result, are biased towards that particular individuals view of the world, at the time that it was written. As with any partisan material, there are those who disagree with it. And although the concepts remain largely the same, especially in architecture, the detail can vary.
There are 35 separate frameworks in this list, and that’s after having accounted for LEAD having variations for both government and defense. Count them! Admittedly some more common than others and LEAD having variations for , with 5 standing out.
Architecture defining why certain information is required and by whom, how it gets there, and who is responsible for doing it. Surely this is common sense.
With this in mind, it is hardly surprising that there are small industries built on defending the (often very small) fundamental differences between frameworks. Even enterprise architecture groups acknowledge that there is lots of overlap between frameworks.
Whilst having less options than architecture, it is still a daunting list at 17. There are even frameworks for frameworks (COBIT and Calder Moir) and the list below does not include some of the Agile scaling frameworks that are still a little light on the governance aspects (hmm!) that do not make this list.
IT Service CMM
Source: IT Governance
Interlude; What about standards? Are these really frameworks? Debateable! A standard MUST be adhered to if the organisation using it want to be considered as a supplier for other organisations. But are the consuming organisations still right to ask these questions? Or, are they just taking the easy option where the availability of ANY standard normalizes suppliers for comparison. Albeit that adherence to these standards alone cannot be the only variable whilst choosing a supplier.
When should you implement a framework?
We must bear in mind when choosing a framework, they are exactly that, a FRAMEWORK, they are not adhered to, or implemented, they are a model that is intended to be adapted. To concentrate on the framework for its own sake is wrong. In the process of doing your work you will (if you do it well) inevitably fall into doing the things that frameworks say to do, after all it is common sense.
I like the following recent quote by @CommsOKeeffe in Marginalia “If you start off with a framework of any sort, your energy goes into that rather than using your intuition, looking at how you are performing against your purpose, and ensuring that you always link back to the business and its needs.”
At best, they provide a common language with which people refer to the elements that they contain, but even then those same people are likely to only internally translate that ‘element’ into what they understand it to be, even though these frameworks go to extreme lengths to provide definitions of specific .
Discover what problems you have [as an organisation] and work out if you already know how to solve them — get your head out of the sand, cos you’ve been avoiding them. If you truly can’t, then employ a consultant to;
Be wary of frameworks supported by profit making companies.
It is not wrong to adapt frameworks to meet your own needs. Just look at how most of the above were born.
You know my view. What’s yours? To framework, or not to framework (or something inbetween)?