13 years, 8 months ago

John Zachman is Dead, Long Live John Zachman

Link: https://blogs.gartner.com/philip-allega/2010/09/01/john-zachman-is-dead-long-live-john-zachman/

Typically, the world of EA is boring.  All bets are off as John Zachman goes to court and questions are raised about the near term and long term effects to the commercialization of EA Frameworks and the EA certification marketplace.  It’s still early days, but challenges from the “father of EA” require consideration.

Before I share some of the long-winded background analysis, let me get right to the point:

At first glance, it appears that John A Zachman is closing up shop and about to retire, having severed his business partnerships, and appearances are that his son, John P Zachman, will take over the IP trademarks and, as alleged by a former business partner Stan Locke, seek to place the Zachman IP within a COTS package.

A second, and more penetrating glance, into the actual lawsuit itself reveals alleged deceptive practices by the defendant, Stan Locke, and claims of serious and reprehensible actions that are alleged to damage the brand of Zachman.

The capitulation by the defendant in a surprising lawsuit, Stan Locke, will not resolve the concerns or Zachman brand ownership concerns as the damage has already occurred.  This, in turn, raises questions about how the Zachman brand will  regain control after relinquishing that control for so long.

First off, John Zachman, and the Zachman brand, is not yet dead.  The phrase used in the title of this blog is legendary for its indication of the passing of hereditary rights from one generation to the next, mostly in the case of royalty.  Part of its inspiration is based upon allegations from Stan Locke and part of it is based upon the potential ressurection of the Zachman brand.  I am using this both to entice readership and explain the appearances of what’s happening at this time.


  • At this moment, it appears that NO ONE, until the data is transferred into the hands of the trademark owners, is Zachman CertifiedTM anymore
  • John A Zachman has fully separated himself from his business partnerships
  • Stan Locke is going  out of business and plans to retire with immediate effect, accepting a judgement in absentia
  • John Zachman is the sole owner of US trademarks to “Zachman” and “Zachman International”
  • There are some severely nasty allegations within the lawsuit filed in the California District Court


  • Framework vendors and commercial certification authorities may be in the early days of economic commoditization
  • Nothing, at this point in time, stands in the way of the unravelling of any business partnership or consortium
  • This further weakens the perceived value of marketplace certification in EA Frameworks
  • All “certified” enterprise architects, or those seeking certification, should take a close look at the foundations of their certifying authority

This is noise and distraction, as Gartner pointed out in Gartner’s Enterprise Architecture Hype Cycle, 2010 (note: link for Gartner clients only), noting that we find that clients leverage multiple frameworks for inspiration – not as a rigid process.  But, as shown in our hype cycle, those engaged in EA have been quite enamored with the hype around EA certification and EA Frameworks for some time.  The dangers from the allure of hype become all too clear as we all watch the results of this event unfold.

As everyone can see, the battle over EA frameworks is predicted to take more than 10 years to sort out, much of it due to the commercialization of that particular aspect of the overall marketplace.  Given this analysis, it’s important to remember:

  • Keep a pragmatic focus on your EA efforts and don’t get distracted by the rumblings, and posturings, of one framework proponent versus another
  • Realize that any particular EA framework should provide a consistent organizing structure for enterprise architectural concepts and should not simply be followed as a rigid process or set of rules.
  • Choose source frameworks quickly, recognizing which one is primary as an input to the development and categorization of your EA artifact and your EA program.
  • Modify and enhance the framework, as required, to support your EA program.
  • Do not attempt to follow a single framework rigidly. Its job is to provide a consistent organizing structure for enterprise architectural concepts, and it should be used pragmatically.


A vendor in the industry shared the link from Zachman International that exposes the dirty laundry (as it appears written by Stan Locke or his representatives) concerning a suit filed in the California Central District Court, “John Zachman et al v. Stan Locke et al” on 13 August 2010, Case number 2:2010cv06045.  During the 3rd day of a class in Toronto (the first two of which, according to the vendor Intervista, were hosted by John Zachman), Stan Locke (CEO of Metadata Systems Software dba Zachman Framework Associates in Canada) was served with the papers for this lawsuit.  Stan Locke, or one of the et al who ran the Zachman International website, appears to have put up their side of the story (warts and all) in lieu of the landing page for the Zachman International website.

On the replacement page, Stan has indicated that he is capitulating, will not challenge the suit, will close his company and retire.

A colleague  sent me a note suggesting that the Zachman Internationl web site looked like it had been hijacked.  That reminded me that such landing pages are NOT all that’s left of the original web site.  This is, as I will share later, a direct violation of the lawsuit filed.  A little hunting found a few interesting tidbits on the back pages of Zachman International.  In particular, there was a look back at the dissolution of the relationship between John Zachman and Sam Holcman from 2 years earlier:

What happened to ZIFA?

ZIFA (The Zachman Institute for Framework Advancement) was an informal collaboration between John Zachman of Zachman International, and Sam Holcman of Pinnacle Business Group. It was initially intended to be a vehicle for research on The Zachman Framework™, however no Framework research was ever conducted under ZIFA.

An annual conference, the ZIFA Forum, was held from 1996 thru 2004 and Enterprise Architecture Seminars have been conducted under the ZIFA name until the present with one and a half days of Framework Concepts by John Zachman and one and a half days of Sam Holcman’s Enterprise Architecture Planning Methodology.

All Framework research has been conducted under the auspices of Zachman International and Sam Holcman has created a new venture, the EA Center of Excellence (EACOE) which presumably is intended to market and train in the Holcman planning methodology. John A. Zachman was neither consulted about nor invited to participate in the EACOE and therefore, that new venture is completely independent of and disassociated with John A. Zachman and The Zachman Framework™. There is no continuing purpose for theZachman Institute for Framework Advancement (ZIFA). Mr. Holcman has recommended and Mr. Zachman has agreed to dissolve ZIFA, year end 2008.

This led me to the offer page for ZIFA members to become Zachman CertifiedTM: http://zachmaninternational.com/index.php/home-article/89 and this press release: http://zachmaninternational.com/index.php/press-releases/67-john-zachman-zachman-international-expands-to-meet-growing-demands.

The Importance of this to those that are Zachman CertifiedTM

The reason I bolded Zachman CertifiedTMis because both Zachman and Zachman International are US trademarks whose provenance is directly linked to John Zachman (note: no distinguishing middle initial) as per the US PTO (use http://tess2.uspto.gov/and insert Zachman with all the defaults to see the provenance and extent of the trademark applicability).

This is only important if you are one of those people who are Zachman CertifiedTM, because there’s another little announcement on http://zachmaninternational.com/index.php/zachman-certified that says:

We are excited to announce that the Zachman Certified™ program is taking a brief hiatus in the US. While this may not be particularly exciting news to you, we are excited about some very new developments around The Zachman Framework™ and Enterprise Architecture.We were unsure about the effects of taking the program off-line, however the changes are too important and so exciting that John has decided that he wants to integrate these new concepts into the curriculum and then re-launch the program in a few months around the world.

Thank you in advance for understanding and to all those who support us. We will be making an announcement very soon!

ZACHMAN INTERNATIONAL® is the ONLY authorized source for Zachman Certified™ education.

This last line is somewhat important as well, as it indicates the authoritative source to be the same Zachman International who is, indeed, John A Zachman.

So, what about all those who were certified?  Tough luck for now.  John suspended the US certification program according to Stan Locke (CEO of Metadata Systems Software dba Zachman Framework Associates in Canada):

John’s sent a completely unexpected letter December 31, 2009 informing me that his US Zachman business was to be separated immediately from my Zachman Framework Associates because of his falling revenues, so that he and John Jr could increase the Zachman brand presence and revenues and work on a succession plan

Oh, and to make matters worse, John Zachman alleges in the lawsuit that they do not have access to the information concerning clients on the various web sites ran by Stan Locke.



Wow!  Talk about some reviling allegations of deceptive business practices!  My first take was that the Zachman empire was crumbling.  My second take was that the Zachman brand is using force to take back what’s rightfully belongs to them.  I am not a lawyer, so my layman’s interpretation of many of the allegations in the lawsuit are a bit raw, including:

  • Data held captive from their rightful owner!
  • Emails spoofed, pretending to be John Zachman
  • Lies to easydns, the domain name controller, again pretending to be John Zachman
  • Wrestling over the John Zachman ebook on EA
  • Misrepresentation of economic activity related to the Zachman brand
  • Wrongful control or misrepresentation of ownership over Zachman branded items
  • Deceiving use of data related to the Zachman brand

Not only may it be true that the defendant wasn’t playing nice, but there are revealing, and IMHO stupid, revelation of “gentlemen agreements” that mark this business relationship.  Lots of incredible allegations are revealed in the lawsuit reaching back 10 years and including concerns over e-book sales and lost revenues and revenues not reported.

One of the allegations that in the law suit that wasn’t as explicit as you can see yourself concerned a zachmanframeworkassociates.com web site quote, claimed in the law suit as taken out of context, that said:


This was another point of contention in the suit: this web site was not approved and was making money from the Zachman brand.  The quote, quite simply put, floored me.

I couldn’t decide whether I was amazed that John A Zachman could have ever approved such a thing or that anyone could have such bravado to share such a comment, in context or not.   I wondered if John was having a change of heart at nearly 77 years old or whether Stan’s long-lived devotion and exploration of Clive Finkelstein’s Information Engineering, IBM’s BSP (Business Systems Planning) extensions into John A Zachman’s development of EA, and his subsequent support, has changed his outlook.  I don’t have any insight here, because I haven’t interviewed either of them at this point, but it seems that there’s a great degree of frusration and a lot of not-so-smart tactics on both parts.  I am not, to be clear, an advocate of anybody’s behavior in this conflict.

Again, I’m not a lawyer, but my interpretation of the entire law suit is that it’s incredible that the owner of one particular brand allowed someone outside their direct control to have full control over how their brand was conveyed to others.

Since I am not a lawyer and do not know have the foundation to comment further, or analyze, or expose, the details of the allegations within the suit.  I suggest that, should you wish to delve further, undergo the registration process at PACER to download the case documents.  A starting point will be found here:


The one quote from Stan Locke’s posting on the main pages of the various web pages noted in the law suit that sticks with me is:

I will need to sell off the assets of Metadata, absorb the business losses and retire…Not defending this suit, means that John A Zachman will be able to proceed with a default lawsuit against us and be able to bar me from entrance to the United States and with the ability to have me arrested and jailed for not paying the judgment.

Personally, I’d be seeking legal counsel instead of capitulating.  But, this isn’t my concern and I am not a lawyer.


All of this leaves some yet-to-be-explored-questions:

  1. John A Zachman and Stan Locke were in a course in Toronto 16-17 Aug and 18-19 August, with John doing the 1st 2 days and Stan the last 2 days (I verified this on the phone with Intervista),  did they see each other before Stan was served with the lawsuit?
  2. Is John still teaching the IRM UK course in Octoberthat was advertised on the Zachman International Site?
  3. Will John P Zachman, the son of John A Zachman, take over the trademarks for Zachman and Zachman International?
  4. Will the previously created IP continue to be licensed for use by others?
  5. Will a new training course and certification scheme be forthcoming, but this time by John P Zachman?
  6. When will John A Zachman, the recognized “father” of EA, officially retire?
  7. Which COTS package is it that former business partner Stan Locke alleges will be taking on the new mantle of all things Zachman?
  8. Will the Zachman brand regain control of the data held on the web domains managed by Stan Locke et al and make thing right in the world again, as stipulated in the law suit?

I expect that much of the evidence, and associated offending web domain content, will shortly disappear.  Much of this may be swept under the rug quickly, leaving stranded and dazed those who had become Zachman Certified and the wonderment of all as to what the Zachman brand will do next.  In the meantime, it’s sad to watch this play out but, like a wreck on the side of the road, it’s difficult not to take a look as you pass by it.

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