Mr Zachman's Ontology


From the website ..."John A. Zachman is the originator of the “Framework for Enterprise Architecture” (The Zachman Framework™) which has received broad acceptance around the world as an integrative framework, an ontology for descriptive representations for Enterprises. Mr. Zachman is not only known for this work on Enterprise Architecture, but is also known for his early contributions to IBM’s Information Strategy methodology (Business Systems Planning) as well as to their Executive team planning techniques (Intensive Planning)."


Zachman had published three books, several articles [11] and forewords to more than a hundred books on related subjects. A selection:

Zachman Framework

From Wikipedia ..."The Zachman Framework is an enterprise ontology and is a fundamental structure for Enterprise Architecture which provides a formal and structured way of viewing and defining an enterprise. The ontology is a two-dimensional classification schema that reflects the intersection between two historical classifications. The first are primitive interrogatives: What, How, When, Who, Where, and Why. The second is derived from the philosophical concept of reification, the transformation of an abstract idea into an instantiation. The Zachman Framework reification transformations are: Identification, Definition, Representation, Specification, Configuration and Instantiation.

The Zachman Framework is not a methodology in that it does not imply any specific method or process for collecting, managing, or using the information that it describes.; rather, it is an ontology whereby a schema for organizing architectural artifacts (in other words, design documents, specifications, and models) is used to take into account both who the artifact targets (for example, business owner and builder) and what particular issue (for example, data and functionality) is being addressed.

The framework is named after its creator John Zachman, who first developed the concept in the 1980s at IBM. It has been updated several times since."

More information at

  • Available at FEAC Institute

Mike's Notes

  • I came across John A. Zachman 15 years ago while working on Pipi4 2003-2004.
  • He is the author of an ontology called Zachman Framework.
  • Another well-known ontology is the periodic table.
  • What he is saying is fundamentally sound.
  • It initially appears to oppose Agile, but it would complement it if done correctly.
  • It's a great description of the actual process that goes into building things that involve the social division of labour, such as the pyramids, the Taj Mahal, a battleship, an aircraft, a skyscraper, or a server farm.
  • Columns: What, How, When, Who, Where, and Why
  • Rows: Contextual, Conceptual, Logical, Physical, Detailed and Functioning
  • Training expensive
  • There is a lot of old archival material on the web especially copies of original material.


  • I did an exhaustive search and found a lot of written material and some video interviews on the web.
  • It is now stored in Work > Research Projects > Computer Architecture > John Zachman.

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