Enterprise Architecture Body of Knowledge
Foundations of EA


Author: Eddie Wang

A principle is a general guideline for behavior in specific situations. The usefulness of principles is in their general orientation and perspective; they do not prescribe specific actions. A given principle applies in some contexts but not all contexts. Different principles may appear to conflict with each other, such as the principle of accessibility and the principle of security. Therefore, applying principles in the development of EA requires deliberation and often tradeoffs. The selection of principles to apply to a given EA is based on a combination of the general environment of the enterprise and the specifics of the goals and purpose of the EA. The application of appropriate principles facilitates grounding, balance, and positioning of an EA. Principles are sometimes given an order of primacy; when the application of two or more principles would result in conflicting decisions, the principle given primacy drives the decision.

Principles considered in developing an EA comprise several types. These may include Enterprise Principles, Architecture Principles, and Information Technology Principles, as well as Integrative Principles that tie these together. TOGAF provides another set of example Principle types that include: Business Principles, Data Principles, Application Principles, and Technology Principles. This topic area includes guidance and other references that will help the EA practitioner establish the proper principles upon which to develop a successful EA.

Regardless of what set of principles an organization settles on, the principles should act as a foundation of shared understanding that guides the use, management, and transformation of IT within your organization.

This topic area provides an EA practitioner access to guidance, case studies, and other references that demonstrate defining the scope of an EA, including appropriate level of detail.


  1. Architecture Principles: The Open Group Library. Accessible at: http://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf8-doc/arch/chap29.html
  2. Douglass, C., (2014) Enterprise Architecture Principles, Plymouth University, UK. Accessible at: http://blogs.plymouth.ac.uk/strategyandarchitecture/enterprise-architecture-with-plymouth-university/plymouth-university-architecture-repository-2/enterprise-architecture-principles/
Measuring the Impact of EA