Two benefits flow from the imposition of a standard framework in general and from DODAF in particular: completeness and consistency.To appreciate why DODAF is worth the effort, imagine the task of comparing documents that describe several different automobiles. One might categorize the tires as "rotating equipment," one might call them "performance and handling enhancement devices," and a third might call them "safety subsystems." These different treatments might lead designers and auditors to examine different standards documents for applicable requirements; they might make it difficult even to assure that tires were included with every vehicle under consideration. By separating statements of function (operational view) from descriptions of mechanism (systems view), as well as from the statement of applicable general requirements (technical standards view), an architectural framework makes it easier to compare different approaches to a problem.One of the important improvements in DODAF, compared with its C4ISR predecessor, is that DODAF is intended to shift the focus from collections of documents to repositories of data items as the architecture of what an organization knows. When "data, not documents" becomes the mantra for modernized workflow and digital asset management systems, this reduces redundant effort, eliminates opportunities for inconsistency, and leads to more streamlined processes. Many toolmakers and application developers are finding XML an excellent technology for implementing this approach. For example, Popkin Software & Systems Inc. maps the System Architect Repository component of its System Architect modeling tool kit directly to the DODAF AV-2 Integrated Dictionary product. Popkin uses generation and comparison of XML structures in its SA Compare tool that documents the differences among multiple AV-2 products. The C4ISR option for System Architect is Popkins current offering for DODAF compliance, with its diverse diagramming strengths providing good support for the various graphic styles that are needed for DODAF deliverables. eWEEK Labs reviewed Version 10 of System Architect in September. Click here to read the review of System Architect Version 10. Extensive DODAF support is offered in Telelogic Enterprise Architect for DODAF, introduced in October by Telelogic AB. The companys DODAF solution combines requirements management with its DOORS (Dynamic Object-Oriented Requirements System), modeling with its Tau/Architect, and change management with its Synergy tool (formerly produced by Continuus Software Corp. before Telelogic acquired that company in late 2000). The modeling capabilities of Telelogics suite are especially well-integrated. Also forthcoming next month will be DODAF support from top-tier architecture toolmaker Computas AS. Version 3.6 of the companys Metis modeling product is on the radar at eWEEK Labs for review early this year. Other toolmakers are treating DODAF as a foundation for next-generation approaches to the integration of modeling and management. At the beginning of last month, Wizdom Systems Inc. announced plans to extend the static, snapshot-in-time models of a DODAF-based project description into dynamic management tools that also include process cost, process duration, and process quality impact identification and measurement. One particular DODAF product, the OV-5 Operations Activity Model, could become the core of such a capability in future Wizdom tools in a time frame yet to be detailed. Other developer-oriented tools are building bridges between DODAF and more familiar and broadly supported notations and methodologies, such as UML (Unified Modeling Language). I-Logix Inc. delivered at the end of November its Rhapsody DODAF Pack using UML 2.0 as a standard notation. This enables automated consistency checking and even automatic generation of many key DODAF products, including the top-level products for all the DODAF views. Its common to find DODAF products and services categorized as military or defense-related offerings, but it would be a mistake to relegate DODAF mastery to that kind of narrow niche of the enterprise IT skill set. With homeland security and related mandates and priorities steering much of IT investment in the near future, the "DODAF effect" could have a broad impact on enterprise systems development. Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at email@example.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis of technologys impact on government and politics.
It also, crucially, eases the task of integrating several systems into a larger composite system, maximizing the chance that incompatible approaches will be discovered while its least expensive to reconcile them.