What is TOGAF?

TOGAF is an architecture framework within the Enterprise architecture discipline. To para-phrase the definition of TOGAF from wikipedia.

“The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is a framework – a detailed method and a set of supporting tools – for developing an enterprise architecture. It may be used freely by any organization wishing to develop an enterprise architecture for use within that organization (see Conditions of Use).”

The main constituent parts of TOGAF are the Architecture Development Method (ADM), a set of guidelines and techniques that can be used in the process of applying the ADM, Architecture Content Framework, Enterprise Continuum & Tools, TOGAF Reference Models and Architecture Capability framework.

In short, the ADM is a process which can be used to generate and apply architectures. The Architecture Content Framework is a model and overview of typical architectural work products, including deliverables, artifacts and reusable Architecture Building Blocks. The Enterprise Continuum & Tools are tools and taxonomies that can be used to categorise and store the outputs of architecture activity within an enterprise. The TOGAF Reference Models are a selection of architectural reference models, including the TOGAF Foundation architecture and the Integrated Information Infrastructure Reference Model (III-RM). Finally, the Architecture Capability Framework details on the processes, skills, roles and responsibilities required to establish and operate an architecture practice within a organisation.

There are a plethora of resources available on the web that would be able to explain TOGAF and indeed the enterprise architecture discipline as a whole. Particularly, the following resources will help anyone new to these concepts.

An Enterprise Architecture Introduction

Enterprise Architecture as Strategy

Why TOGAF?

TOGAF is pretty much the defacto standard with respect to enterprise architecture. A large portion of the enterprises practising enterprise architecture utilise TOGAF and thus as an architect it is beneficial that you digest and understand TOGAF as an architecture framework. Even if you’re a software architect or a solutions architect, its highly likely from my experience you’ll need to understand TOGAF.

Certification

Certification can be achieved by taking two exams known as part 1 and part 2. Part 1 of the exam is known as the foundation, and is composed of a number of multiple choice questions based on the TOGAF framework. Part 2 of the exam which is known as the certified exam is comprised of 8 multiple choice questions which require you to apply the knowledge of the TOGAF framework.

Resources and Recommendations

To become certified, I recommend you buy the following book:

TOGAF 9 Foundation Exam Study Guide: For busy architects who need to learn TOGAF 9 quickly

This is an excellent book that:

  • Summarises TOGAF to a more digestible format than the framework documentation in its entirety.
  • Contains a large amount of practice questions that cover all subjects within TOGAF at a foundation level

Using this book I recommend you produce your own study notes so you can refer to these and use them as the basis for your revision.

Once you feel you have gained enough knowledge of the framework, I’d recommend you test yourself on the practice questions within the book above and also test yourself using the following exam simulators:

Exam Simulators

When I initially tested my knowledge using these simulators I hovered around the 50%-60% mark. I recommend you repeatedly practice your knowledge by retaking tests from both the simulators and practice questions, revising areas where you deem yourself the weakest. Closer to the exam I was passing at around 70% on part 1 and 60% on part two.

I’d say the exams within the simulators above are more difficult than the real exams. The simulator exams contain a lot of negative (NOT) questions and the actual exam contained hardly any. My advice to people taking the simulator exams is not to read too much into your score. Use the practice exams as a method of revising the terms and understand the main concepts you’ll pass.

Booking the exam

The exam can booked through all the major test providers. I personally booked my exam through Prometric. I have used Prometric before and I am comfortable with the interface and the process.

Identification

I took part 1 and 2 on the same day. When you arrive for the exam ensure you have two forms of ID, and be prepared to get searched for electronic devices/notes. I’ve taken Microsoft exams (I’m a certified solutions web developer) so I was expecting this… just be aware and let the adjudicators do their job and not question why they need to do it. The quicker you empty your pockets and have your ID’s ready the quicker you can start the test.

Testing Software and System

Once I commenced the test, I was surprised with the testing software The Open Group utilises. In comparison to the Microsoft testing software, the TOGAF exam software is much nicer and a better user interface. My main critique is with the testing systems themselves and not with the software. The testing system was an archaic machine with a maximum resolution of 1024×768. Couple this with having to refer to the TOGAF document within the second part of the exam, I found trying to look up items within the TOGAF documents difficult. This has been widely documented by other bloggers out there. My tips are make sure you know your way around the document (like has been mentioned) and also use key word search (this helped me a lot).

Part 1 Exam

I didn’t find the first exam too troublesome. My approach was to utilise the, iterative approach that has been mentioned within other blogs and it worked well for me. My ratio wa I knew 20, was sure on 10 and was unsure on the final 10 (which judging by my score was about right for my score).

Part 2 Exam

I found the second part of the exam to be more difficult than the first, as you’d expect. I utilised the entire hour. My ratio for part 2 was I knew the answers for 3 questions, was sure on 2 two further questions, didn’t know 3 questions. I concentrated on the 3 I didn’t know by using the TOGAF document which consumed a lot of my time. By the time I was relatively confident with my answers, it was around the 58 minutes mark.

My Results

In all honesty, I was adamant that I had passed part 1 and failed part 2. I was pleasantly surprised to find my score was:

Part 1 – 77%

Part 2 – 90%

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I was both surprised and relieved. I’d say follow the resources outlined within this blog and other blogs and you’ll be successful. My total time from idea to exam was around 3 months, with difficult work deadlines at the same time.

Hopefully, this post adds to the other contributors and provides a good resource to subsequent TOGAF exam takers.

That’s all for now…