How Many Development Methodologies are There

There are no one-size-fits-all development methodologies. Some companies have their own unique customized methodology for developing products or services; others simply use standard commercial off-the-shelf methodologies. With the incorrect methodology, discovering, designing, building, testing, and deploying projects can be chaotic. At least 20 different methodologies are competing to be the best methodology, and this list of methodologies keeps on growing (see Figure 4.1).

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Figure 4.1: Assessing project development methodologies.

The project methodology that is chosen represents merely the framework for the real work to be done and indicates where creativity is needed. Many times, project managers simply select the available methodology and continue to develop their projects with that same methodology. When unpredictable results occur on a project, they raise issues and risks and try to manage reactively. Project managers often lack the controls to measure and respond to the unpredictable. Therefore, they must first determine that the methodology is the correct one.

Many project managers find it difficult to give up control as provided in traditional development. There is no guarantee that the team will deliver if you just follow a chosen methodology. Clients seldom complete requirement specifications because their requirements are constantly changing. The most logical solution is to simply evolve the product as the client's needs change along the project development process. This shows the need for a methodology more flexible than a formal waterfall approach. In fact, the trend is shifting to the more iterative or incremental style of methodologies.

Most project developments are wrongly approached with the assumption that the methodology used is well understood, and the project can be easily planned and estimated. When a project begins to fail, the development process is immediately provided with more resources and attention to get it back on track. Thus, cost and schedule overruns start occurring. These step-by-step approaches do not work because they do not cope with human and technical unpredictability. Rigid processes are often too constraining and fall short of delivering a project to operations or production.

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