What’s the Deal with TOGAF Objectives, Approaches, and Steps?

What’s the Deal with TOGAF Objectives, Approaches, and Steps?

Got an interesting question in my TOGAF Part 1 course, and I thought I would share it and my answer.

Hi Scott, Thank you for the awesome videos. It’s making life lot easier and can’t imagine how you can really make the boring subject so interesting, hats-off! Here goes my question: if I am understanding objectives correctly for preliminary phase as defining the architecture capability and establishing it by trainings or hiring and onboarding the whole team of enterprise architects. If those are the objectives, the approach should layout a roadmap of how to achieve those and the steps should detail the roadmap from beginning to end towards meeting those objectives. But here I see it totally unrelated. Objectives are only on Architecture Capability where as approach talks something entirely different and steps are even unrelated to approach and objectives. Appreciate if you could clarify. I might be totally wrong, just explained what’s running in my mind currently. Thanks G

And here’s my answer:

Hi G, it’s a good question. ​ I wasn’t there when the spec was written, but I’ve seen behind the scenes now as there are hundreds of people contributing to the next version of the spec, and everyone has opinions. 🙂

The spec summarizes the preliminary phase as the “where, what, why, who, and how we do architecture”.​

Yes, the objectives simplify this as determining and defining the architecture capability, but really it’s doing all the things that need to be in place before you even think about the problems of the enterprise and how to solve them.

So the approach is everything from defining the enterprise, gathering the key drivers , defining principles, etc.

So ultimately, yes, the objectives are too simplistic to all the things you need to do. But if you look at it from the “where, what, why, who, and how we do architecture” approach, hopefully you can see those elements in each of the approach and steps.​


It’s a good question. Why doesn’t the objectives match one-for-one with the approach and the steps? How is it that there are all sorts of activities in the approaches and steps that aren’t even mentioned as objectives?

I don’t know why exactly. But I guess we have to look at the objective more generally. The preliminary phase, in this case, is meant to set up the architecture team for success. Not just hiring and training, but principles, definitions, and other key decisions. From that view, it makes sense.