Big Design Up Front (BDUF)

For those of you that don’t know what BDUF is, it’s expending a tremendous amount of effort prior to (sometimes during) a project to nail down firm requirements. The belief is that firm requirements will ensure the project is completed on time and on schedule. The problem with that theory is that the requirements will likely change on day one of the project. This is normal for software development projects because most software development projects are not repeatable. It’s not at all like building a bridge where you can rely on historical information to predict the nature of the project.

So it amazes me that after numerous failed projects, many organizations still believe that BDUF is necessary. Some organizations have even convinced themselves that they don’t do BDUF but in reality they do. For example, they may not start with BDUF prior to the project start but soon after they start introducing exploration features where the outcome is a ton of documentation. It is BDUF, just hidden.

I’m not saying everyone needs to switch to Agile (although I wish they would). I’m just saying that BDUF provides little to no value to why waste time/effort/money doing it. The best time to do design work is just before you’re about to implement it because that’s when you have the most information. Why do the design work when you have the least amount of information (i.e. prior to the project)?

TOGAF 9.1 Certified


The 2nd part of the TOGAF certification is much different than the 1st exam.  While it’s still multiple choice, there are only 8 scenario based questions.  Furthermore, the answers are weighted so that you can receive partial credit for an incorrect response.

A pass is 60%.

My approach:

I took a similar approach as I did for the 1st exam:

I read the study guide twice and I reviewed it about 5 times after that.


I spent a total of 1 week studying.



Final Thoughts:

While there is a sense of accomplishment in attaining this certification, it is difficult to express an opinion about TOGAF in general without having seen it first hand.

TOGAF 9.1 Foundation


The foundation exam is part 1 (of 2) that is required to obtain the TOGAF certification.

There are no pre-requisites and there are no requirements to uphold the certification.  TOGAF is all about establishing an enterprise architecture practice.


The exam is based on the TOGAF study guide.  The foundation guide is not overly lengthy.

The exam is administered through Prometric so you have to attend a nearby testing centre to take the exam.

There are 40 questions and you have 1 hour.  A pass is 55%.

My approach:

I read the study guide twice and I reviewed it about 5 times after that.

I focused on the areas that are highly covered in the exam.  The study guide indicates how many questions are applied to each section.

As long as you have a thorough understanding of ADM, you should be fine.

I spent a total of 1 week studying for this exam.



Final Thoughts:

Each exam is 320 USD.  That may be a consideration before attempting this certification.

I’ll post another blog on the results of part 2 (TOGAF 9.1 Certified):


CITA-F (Certified Information Technology Architect – Foundation)


For those of you that aren’t familiar with this one, this is IASA’s foundation IT architect certification.  There are 3 more levels after this.

To uphold the certification you must complete CEUs.

There is a Canadian chapter in Toronto.

The exam is based on IASA’s ITABoK.  It’s a pretty good read even if you’re not pursuing a certification.

The exam is online and open book, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

There are 75 questions and you have 2.5 hours.  A pass is 70%.

My approach:

I read the ITABoK twice.

I did try to find online tools for exam preparation but I couldn’t find any.

IASA does offer a preparation course but I chose not to go that route.



Final Thoughts:

At this point I’m not sure if I’ll pursue the other 3 levels.  The courses and exam fees get fairly pricey.  I’ll re-evaluate in a few months once I have a better feel for IASA.