7 Reasons I like ArchiMate

Anyone who knows me, knows I use ArchiMate a lot. I know its not perfect, but here are 7 Reasons why its my modelling language of preference.

I spoke about it briefly before in Architecture Languages and Frameworks. To get the full value from ArchiMate you really need to understand it. These are not ordered in any particular order; I am interested what other people think. Here goes:

1. It is a standard

It’s a widely used well documented vendor independent standard. Every element and relationship type is explicitly defined and as such enables improved communication between people across enterprise boundaries

2. It helps focus on value

You can easily define reusable viewpoints that are exactly what different stakeholders need and develop your catalog of viewpoints over time. For Example, if a Product manager decides they want a conceptual product architecture viewpoint, just to help everyone consistently understand products and services aligned to the technologies they use, we can define exactly which elements are allowed, and which relationships. This gives you consistent information that that stakeholder needs every time.

3. It covers many aspects of architecture

It can be used to model most things, some more naturally than others – It enables us to connect the physical world with technology, application, business, implementation & migration and the motivations behind them. I don’t know of any other modelling language that does that in such a balanced way. It covers all the IT aspects.

4. Its easy to draw

I am not a talented artist – But in a meeting with a white board, I can stretch to drawing some stick figures. Its easy to draw elements nicely with a whiteboard pen, and there’s nothing there more complex to draw than box and a few lines. (But not 7 red lines)

5. It aligns nicely to other standards

Its built by The Open Group, Creators of TOGAF and as such aligns with that standard really well. Its also fairly easy to align with the ITIL Architecture Processes.

It doesn’t advocate a way of working.

In addition it connects nicely to ISO 42010, the standard for architecture description. ISO 42010 talks about elements and relationships, and ArchiMate extends those concepts by creating standard element and relationship types that extend the vocabulary.

6. It helps structure your thinking

Because of strict definition of element types and the relationships between them, after becoming familiar with the language I found myself looking at architecture problems in a specific way – breaking down architecture concerns into these modular elements. As a consequence it becomes easier to start to create modular pieces of reusable architecture, which can help us create much more agile architecture, and give us more efficient usage of the resources we have.

7. Fantastic tools exist for modelling ArchiMate

There are many good tools out there for modelling ArchiMate- and when you model, it gives you the opportunity.to build a complex structure which enables us to leverage the benefits of understanding the connection between the layers. I will talk about that further in my next blog – but basically as the model grows so does the value we get from being able to look at it from different standard viewpoints.