Methods and Frameworks

The Plague of Methods and Frameworks

I know of no industry in the world that is as infested with methods and frameworks as the software business. Whether it’s RUP, XP, Scrum, AUP, DAD, or SAFe, it seems IT businesses are always looking for yet another method or framework that they can “implement” next month.

This disease seems not to have spread to other creative or knowledge-intensive industries. No matter whether it’s movies, music, fashion, healthcare, or transport, they all seem capable of moving forward without a plethora of three- and four-letter acronyms describing roles, tasks, and processes. Is there a defined method for designing a wedding dress? Is there a documented framework for producing a blockbuster movie? Can there be an end-to-end formal process for developing a new medicine? I don’t believe it.

Do the other industries have principles? Sure.

Tools and techniques? Obviously.

Individual “best” practices? Definitely!

But I’m sure any person in these other industries would agree that it’s very uncommon to combine principles and practices into larger fixed methods and frameworks.

Why bother? The tighter the coupling of practices, the smaller the chance the combination will work for anyone else!

The selection and bundling of individual practices is best done on a case-by-case basis, by knowledgeable people, either using their experience, or with the help of a coach or mentor. Only the naive think it’s valuable for others to offer an arbitrary cross-section of practices, attach an acronym to it, give it a logo, and present it as an industry-wide branded method or framework. The smart ones usually only do this because they can make money off of clueless people who are unwilling to think for themselves.

Feel free to ignore the frameworks, but please do consider the practices!

p.s. People are asking me which companies have “implemented” Management 3.0. From a financial perspective, maybe I should consider developing a piece of software, a consultancy business, and a train-the-trainer certification program. *sigh*

image: (c) 2007 Timothy Allen, Creative Commons 2.0

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