In levels 1 and 2 of the Degree (and HND) we teach you various methodologies such as SSADM.

At level 3 we expect some discernment. Is there a down side to methodologies? What are the pros and cons?

In this section we shall


"Methodology" originally meant the study of methods.

However, it is now widely used to mean a set of concepts and techniques to be used together. A rigorous and complete process containing phased activities, deliverables, baselines, standards, and reviews encompassing the life-cycle of development, management, and support of software, hardware, or systems.

Examples of methodologies

Analysis and design
Information Engineering
Schlaer Mellor
Project management
Manage/1 (Andersen)
Risk management

Thoughts for the week


Quote for the week

I used to be a methodology addict but I'm much better now

(Masden, 1996)

Methodology addict

The methodology addict believes that if you tip information into the hopper, crank the methodology handle and grind through all the stages and components, a useful system will magically appear out the other end. It won't, but a depressing number of software engineers never grow out of this belief.

Methodologies don't deliver systems - people do.

(Masden, 1996)

The all-embracing approach

Information Engineering

Question: What obstacles make this impractical? What is the alternative?

The tool-box approach

PRINCE (PRojects IN a Controlled Environment)

Another UK Government method in the public domain

Not a step-by-step "how to run successful projects" system



Suggested responsibilities for the steering board, PM, quality assurance and so on


Time, costs, quality, how to handle problems


Meetings, reports, quality reviews


Methodologies provide standards for:

Are they used properly?

Are they just labels to give people the impression that the organisation is well run?

Do they really help?

Should they be prescriptive?

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