M is for… Methodologies

Methodologies are wonderful things, or so the people who invented them, or offer training or consultancy in them, would have you believe. Some have cool-sounding names: RAD, JAD, some try to sound important: PRINCE, or obscure: SDSM, SSADM, ITSL, some are just clubs: APM. They’re all basically the same concept, take a real world discipline and put some rules in place, some fancy terminology or acronyms and maybe thow in a few standard forms and a £45 manual or two.

Yes, they come under many guises, Project Management methodologies, Development methodologies, Quality Management methodologies, etc. They all have one thing in common, the people who invented them and the organisations that are touting them are now very rich.

The other strange phenomenon that exists in this area is that just about every organisation thinks they can do it better. So, when you hear things like ‘Yes, our Product Management methodology is based on Prince II but it’s much more practical’, the warning bells should be starting to ring. After all, why would people plough millions, nay many millions of pounds in developing and spreading the word about something just for other people to discard bits of it because they don’t like it?

Rule #1: Don’t try to use a big methodology to deliver a small project. Use the lesser known Common Sense methodology instead, it’s cheaper and much less complicated. If you’re a Good-Guy, you’re already trained in it!

Rule #2: If you don’t have to use it and it does not benefit you to use it, don’t use it. There’s little benefit in telling people you ran a fully SSADM compliant project, using PRINCE2, which failed.

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