A number of years ago, I joined up with a small group of architects determined to create an EABOK (Enterprise Architecture Body of Knowledge).  We got off to a good start and I even bought the domain (eabok.org).  However, the Mitre Corporation (a federally funded research and development corporation) trademarked the name before we did, based on a white paper they had released in 2004.  I was out-lawyered.  So the name was theirs.  They wanted to do an EABOK as well.

Hoping to avoid creating a competing BOK, I joined the board of directors of the new Mitre EABOK effort.  Stuck with it for about two years but left after we disagreed on the direction of the effort.  I wanted a fairly light model with community developed content.  The Mitre EABOK effort, to the best of my awareness, has progressed very slowly.

Alas, along the way, our colleagues in Europe simply did the right thing and built a community-driven body of knowledge of their own.  It’s similar in many ways to the Mitre model — based on academic papers — but it is successful and most importantly, community driven.  Based on a Wiki, the European effort has no fixed taxonomy of topics.  Rather, they allow the topics to grow organically and to be managed entirely by software.  Many of the topics refer directly to research papers while some are more in the style of Wiki pages.  While some of the papers are not in English, quite a few are, so my English speaking friends can get a lot of value out of this site and hopefully can contribute as well.

The European EABOK is called the Enterprise Architecture Management Initiative or EAM Initiative.  You can find it here.  http://www.eam-initiative.org

The EAM Initiative is not a replacement for a framework like TOGAF.  The topics described are organic, so they do not cover all of the areas of Enterprise Architecture or even all the areas of IT architecture.  (I can make a very good argument that TOGAF doesn’t cover all the areas of EA either, but it does cover IT architecture rather well).  Nor are they written from a consistent ontology of terms.  In addition, they tend to be rather academic, which traces back to the roots of the team that created it.  That said, I consider this a high quality resource for practicing Enterprise Architects.

There is also a very useful pattern catalog from a related group at the Technical University of Munich in Germany.  While each of the techniques described in the pattern catalog are covered only very lightly, the document itself proscribes an excellent catalog of EA practices and can form the backbone of a serious course of study for anyone wishing to become a professional Enterprise Architect.  I honestly believe that a university degree program on EA could be built around this pattern catalog.

You can find the EA Pattern Catalog at this location.  You will have to register, for free, to download the catalog as a PDF.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

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