Objectives, steps, inputs and outputs.
Formally, this phase starts with the receipt of a request for architecture work from the sponsor in the organization which outlines such things as the strategy of the organization, business goals, high level description of what is to be achieved including time constraints etc. This document is a key source for deciding the scope of what is to be delivered down the road.
A key step in this phase consists of a stakeholder analysis which is essential in making sure that all the bases are covered. Doing this well will avoid a lot of issues down the road, as commitment and buy-in from key stakeholders tends to go a long way.
The definition / documentation of the vision itself may contain a first cut at a birds-eye view of the baseline and target architecture to be achieved by the current ADM cycle. At the very least, one must make sure that each of the domains (business, information systems, technology) are covered in this vision.
First of all, it must be understood that this phase is executed in close co-operating between the sponsor and the architecture team. We have seen only too many situations where this phased was implemented as a “paper monster” in which many versions of request and statement are pushed around. To prevent this we propose to follow a workshop approach and merge the request and statement documents. This will both increase understanding and buy-in of all parties involved.
A second best practice in this phase pertains to documentation. More and more organizations use a formal architecture modeling language such as ArchiMate or a profiled-version of UML. Even though we strongly recommend using a formal modeling approach in conjunction with TOGAF, starting too early with modeling will only hinder the creative process.
The “best” approach depends on preferences within the group. However, in our experience a 3-step approach works best: (1) the key sponsor (frequently a single individual develops an idea and outlines it in half a page of text; (2) the architecture team facilitates a series of workshops in which the idea is further developed, using various brainstorming techniques and back-of-the-napkin style diagrams; (3) the end result is documented in high level diagrams in the formalized diagramming technique (preferably ArchiMate) adopted by the organization.