The Methodology Obsession

by

There is an encouraging trend in IT, technology projects are succeeding at a higher rate. When I began work in the mid 1990s, it was not uncommon for approximately 70-80% of projects to fail. To this day, large, waterfall projects still appear to fail at about this rate.

Over the last several decades though, our profession has been working on various agile methodologies to improve the likelihood of projects delivering value and it has worked. Again, depending on whose metrics you believe, project failures now average something closer to 30-40%. A huge improvement, but not exactly something that should be a source of pride for those of us in the profession.

Various attempts have been made to improve over the basic agile methods (SCRUM, LEAN, etc.). But, newer methods like KANBAN and Lean don’t appear to move the needle. They may be slightly better in certain environments than the earlier agile methods, but at best they appear to make a 2 or 3% improvement as you can see in this analysis from Dr. Dobbs.

successRates2011

It appears that we have reached the limits of what these kinds of methods can do, and yet 3 in 10 of our projects are still likely to fail. I don’t believe we can accept that failure rate.

To solve this problem, we’ll have to move beyond traditional development methods. They are necessary, but not sufficient. I believe we’ll find that development methods are one of four things that must be pulled together.

Picture1

How often have we heard something like: “The IT team is using some kind of KANBAN thing, but they still didn’t build what we want!” Or “The project came in on time, but it had nothing to do with our business strategy!” Or “We desperately need to build a new product, but our technology guys act more like an internal IT shop!”?

This is why going through the effort of deliberately pulling together the Strategy, Technology, Delivery Models and Organization can have such an impact on project performance improvement.

Check out Reboot to learn more.

 

READ MORE

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

About a week ago, I completed the second live (virtual) training in the process of becoming a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC. Once again, my mind was blown! It reinforced for me that virtual workshops can, and do, work, and, in a lot of ways, I prefer them...

read more
Finding My Work-Life Balance

Finding My Work-Life Balance

In my previous post, I told the story of how I got back into consulting after becoming a mom. All of the diverse experiences I had during that journey have helped me to find my work-life balance by… Defining Boundaries “Go home,” my first boss said 12 years back —...

read more
How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

I Landed My Dream Job Throwback to 2014, I had completed my MBA, landed my dream job as a consultant, and was hoping that my new consulting career would exponentially ramp up my career growth for the next 5 years. This would position me to take on critical decision...

read more
Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

In August of this year, as part of our annual company meeting, our team at Thought Ensemble participated in the foundational session of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training led by Dr. Nika White, IOM, CDE (she/her/hers). One of the most meaningful moments...

read more
Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

It is often said that organizational culture is like a fog — it is all around us; it impacts our ability to see, to move quickly, and to deliver; but we cannot quite put our finger on it. Indeed, some organizations see their culture as a byproduct of operations,...

read more
We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

Why have we refreshed our brand, you ask? Well, as we have grown and matured as an organization, we felt that our previous brand elements no longer represented us as well as they could. You see, we founded Thought Ensemble back in 2008 to help companies better compete...

read more
Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

I recently wrote about how company purpose is being tested and inspired by all the events of 2020. This topic is very real for us at Thought Ensemble. We’ve been thinking a lot about what really matters as we’ve navigated the...

read more
How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

In August 2019, the Business Roundtable rewrote their statement of corporate purpose. I followed this with significant interest being that I have never forgotten the debates about corporate purpose in business school almost two decades ago. We were taught that the...

read more
Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

I love working with companies who really want to make a difference, beyond just making money for their shareholders. I mean, making money is fun and all, but it is even more rewarding to join in on a just cause. Plus, as this HBR article explains, companies who have...

read more