First I have to declare that while I’ve never worked with Phil I have worked in the same organization and I do know him. So with any conflict of interest covered off we can now get down to business.
There are lots of books that will offer either directly or discursively a reference architecture. But typically these focus either a particular technology or problem domain. This book is different its focus is EA as it says in the early pages it is an aid to learning how to do EA.
Despite what the Open Group would have you believe there are many architectural methodologies around and in my humble opinion one of the best is Scott Bernard’s EA3 Framework. (Reviewed on this site).
One of the problems that confronts, particularly inexperienced architects, is tackling the chosen framework. What techniques need to be applied? Where should the effort be concentrated? And often, after not very long, why are we doing this bit? It’s about this time that having lost their way that projects typically reach crisis point.
What this book does is give you nine succinct sections, one for each layer of the model. Each section is an about twenty pages of good hard executable advice. Many of the questions could be and have been argued ad nauseam leading projects into the analysis paralysis that is the fate of so many projects. For example “Don’t labour on the shared enterprise and business services”, in two paragraphs the book puts the issue to bed and that’s typical of its no nonsense approach. One feature I like is that the Conclusion and Summary chapter is only one page.
Following the nine sections are a series of appendices that include an audit model, lists of questions and examples and some suggested reading. Unlike many appendix which are kind of the author’s bottom desk draw there is some real gold in these particularly for the new architect.
While this book is written with a particular methodology in mind and that in itself limits its applicability that should not be used as an excuse for ignoring it. This is a book for Enterprise Architects with a lot of hard won wisdom in it that will earn its place on your bookshelf. Highly recommended, for all sorts of reasons.
Woodworth, P.A. 2013, A Reference Architecture for Enterprise Architecture, Phil Woodworth, Sydney