Do you have a methodology in your business? A framework? Procedures? Does it matter?
When methodologies are first deployed there is a flurry of activity where everyone is trained and then set loose upon an unsuspecting world with binders under their arm and a grimace on their face.
There are several things wrong with this picture
- a methodology is an approach to something but many lack the day to day specific actions and how people are supposed to APPLY it to projects and development in their business
- Many methods are very lengthy so few people remember most of it after their training – and many often don’t refer back to the method – ever.
- When staff join the company, they are pointed in the direction of a copy of the method sitting on the shelf and told to read the relevant chapters (though they’re rarely told what these chapters are)
One solution is to use procedures for explaining components in the methodology (e.g. risk management, document management, finance, change). These describe how things are done on a day to day basis. The methodology is still used as a basis for running projects, development teams, etc. The procedures are an instantiation of the methodology.
A framework in this case is simply the structure within which you can fit the methodology and procedures. It provides a context showing how the organization uses methods and procedures to help reach the company’s goals.
A framework is also a good spot to show how the standards and conventions are applied and the reasoning and intent behind the method.
Using procedures within a framework enables us to describe who does what, when and how, and provides a basis for training staff in the procedures relevant to them – rather than having to train them in the entire methodology. E.g. project scheduling may be of interest to everyone, but finance management may only be relevant to the project manager, sponsor, and finance department.
It’s much easier to run a Finance Management procedure training session than to train them in the whole methodology. “But can’t we just pick out the finance bits?” I hear you say. Remember that most methodologies are not modular in their structure. So using a procedure to extract the finance bits out one time to produce the procedure is infinitely preferable to getting everyone to look through a 100+ page methodology trying to find references to ‘finance’.
Having a 4 page procedure is much friendlier and approachable and is likely to be used.