ArchiMate Relationships

ArchiMate Relationships

In the last article of this series, we provided an overview of ArchiMate Concepts that symbolized artifacts that make up TOGAF’s Architecture Framework. Each of the concepts has specific relationships to each other that represent flow, dependencies, realizations, and others. Relationships usually have specific pairings, but not always.

Consider the following diagram:

figure1The box symbols represent concepts and the connectors are the relationships. The diagram shows how the concepts are related: assignments, triggers, realizations, and used-by.

Relationship Definitions

Structural Core Relationships

Association: Models a relationship between objects that is not covered by another, more specific, relationship. Often used when the relationship is not known or is not relevant to a viewpoint.

figure2Access: Models the access of behavioral concepts to business or data objects.

figure3Used by: Models the use of services by processes, functions, or interactions and the access to interfaces by roles, components, or collaborations.

Free ArchiMate Downloads!figure4Realization: Links a logical entity with a more concrete entity that realizes it; that is, a logical representation of a real object (a data object is real; a report is the logical entity that is realized by the data object).

figure5Assignment: Links the units of behavior with active elements (e.g., roles, components) that perform them, or roles with actors that fulfill them.

figure6Aggregation: Indicates that an object groups a number of other objects. Objects can be aggregated to more than one aggregating object. figure7Composition: Indicates that an object is composed of one or more other objects. The latter objects can only be part of one composition.

figure8Dynamic Core Relationships

Flow: Describer the exchange or transfer of, for example, information or value between processes, function, interactions, and events.

figure9Trigger: Describes the temporal or causal relationships between processes, functions, interactions, and events.

figure10Other Core Relationships

Grouping: Indicates that objects of the same or different types belong together based on some common characteristics.

figure11Junction: Used to connect relationships of the same type.

figure12Specialization: Indicates that an object is a specialization of another object.

figure13Motivation Extension Relationships

Motivation relationships deal with interaction/dependencies between motivation concepts such as drivers, goals, principles, etc. Two of the relationships are similar to Core relationships but have different connotations: Aggregation and Realization. The influence relationship is unique to Motivation.

Aggregation: Models the division of some intention into multiple intentions (arrowhead points to the more general, undivided intention).

figure14Realization: Models that some end is realized by some means.

figure15Influence: Models that some motivational element has a positive or negative influence on the realization of another motivational element.

figure16Next time…

For the next blog entry, we will demonstrate how Concepts and Relationships are combined to create Viewpoints and other visualizations.

This blog includes extracts of the ArchiMate 2.0 Specification, Copyright © 2009-2012 The Open Group. ArchiMate® is a registered trademark of The Open Group. For the original material please refer to this page.

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Steve is a leading practitioner lecturer, educator, and trainer in Enterprise Architecture (EA), with a number of roles in the global strategic transformation community. The Founder and CEO of EA Principals. Steve is one of the leading 10 TOGAF trainers in the world, having trained about 1750 people himself. He is author of the book, “Organization Theory and Transformation of Large, Complex Organizations." Steve designed ArchiMate 2.0 Certification and TOGAF Certification e-learning in conjunction with Good e-Learning and trains groups around the world.
  • Rick Gray

    Unfortunately, Steve, you seem to have requoted (or at best paraphrased) the ArchiMate Specification rather than providing fuller explanations. For example, why or when would you use one relationship type over another when both could be applicable (e.g. triggering versus flow)? I think that it depends on the context/viewpoint being modelled, but that is what I had hoped to find out from this blog. Some examples of use of the various relationship types would go a long way to exposing the subtleties between them.