Free ArchiMate Overview PDF

For years, I’ve been distributing ArchiMate Overview PDFs, updated whenever I got around to adapting them after the ArchiMate standard was updated. Generally, the overview sheets are the first thing that is updated when I start to work with a new version of the standard. The current version is from ArchiMate 3.1.

The overview is distributed as full-vector (infinitely scalable, perfectly printable) PDF, in two versions: one in my preferred Mastering ArchiMate colours (colours that are like the absolute original ArchiMate colours, which I think support faster reading, learning and understanding), and one in ‘simple’ layered colours (most widely used these days as most tools use these by default). ArchiMate itself is technically colourless, by the way.

I actually published these 3.1 sheets first in Russian (including the announcement), you can read about it here: Обзор ArchiMate 3.1 PDF. That was more or less because I thought it would be funny to publish something entirely in a language other than English, as a riddle of sorts for everybody (except for those speaking Russian, obviously).

[Update 18 May 2022: A French translation has been published]
[Update 5 June 2022: A Portuguese translation has been added, the others have seen minor changes]

The 3.1 sheets have been expanded compared to the sheets before. The old sheets were two pages with just the metamodel, the new sheets have two more pages with all the elements and a short explanation for each. Note: this explanation is my explanation, not the official one from the standard. And I have an opinion about ArchiMate, so not all of them are neutral. E.g. I think some elements have become superfluous over the years as other, newer elements of ArchiMate cover their intended use better, e.g. Representation was there in ArchiMate 1, more or less to represent a physical printed document in the days that ArchMate was pure-IT, but these days, ArchiMate has a whole set of concepts for modelling physical stuff and Material could cover this perfectly. Most of the descriptions are neutral enough, though.

Sheet one shows the Core ArchiMate metamodel (the structure of the language, containing the basic stuff for describing any organisation’s ‘landscape’ in an actual model):

The post-its give some additional explanation about the diagram. Note: some positions are taken by a ‘multiple-element’ type (‘internal behaviour’ which can be a Function, a Process, or an Interaction), a single depiction is used to cover them all, but that single depiction is not a real ArchiMate element, it’s just graphical effect to simplify the diagram. Also, Collaborations have been completely left out (they’re not a very important concept and only seldom useful). As any element can Aggregate or Compose elements of the same type, these relations are also left out. The green relations are metamodel relations (a sort of class relations), you will not use these in a real model.

Sheet two shows the remaining parts of ArchiMate. First the Motivation Aspect:

Which are not about describing that landscape, but the why of it. I personally find that pretty useless (It is somewhat of a pretty old illusion that it helps to do that in a rigorous way) but others like it. I tend to use it to model stuff that is important for the organisation, such as Risk & Control for which it works pretty well. All the allowed Influence relations (rom any to any element) are not shown (but mentioned) except for a Stakeholder influencing (another) Stakeholder. Then the Strategy Layer:

Which also has a ‘combined depiction’ for the Strategy elements Capability and Value Stream as they behave exactly the same. Here too, some people like it, others find it not that important. Then the Composite elements:

which are handy. And finally the Implementation & Migration Elements:

That are supposed to model change (interestingly rather ‘planning-oriented’, so increasingly outdated in an Agile/DevOps world and not really useful anyway as modelling these rigorously has little added value, but the sheets are intended to be useful as a complete reference, e.g. during learning). The remaining two sheets contain all the various elements and a description for each, e.g. the business layer elements:

The simple-layered colours version looks like this (two examples):

Download links:

And for those who just enjoy their languages (don’t we all…)


PS. Many architects (I’m one of these) have something with ‘design’ and ‘aesthetics’, which often also shows itself when they work with the notion of ‘elegant’ designs (just like mathematicians like ‘elegant’ proofs, and physicists like ‘elegant’ theories). If you too are into those aspects of design, you might want to study the PDFs in detail (zoom in and look at line hops, how relations attach to elements, typography). And then maybe wonder: “how was this created?”. Maybe I write a post about that some day, in the meantime, look at this from the Portuguese translation.

Notice the triggers from the left, how they are jumped by the orange relations (they are not simply one line plotted over another, but the one ‘below’ actually has holes in it) and how they attach to the true outline of the event, not some ‘bounding box’ (the upper/lower most right relations have the same ‘perfect’ attachment). Neat, right? This took quite a bit of programming in two different languages to get right. Actually, the fact that that I can produce these translations now is a side-effect of what I had to set up to create these graphics in the first place.

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