Overview: When a large consulting organization is employed to work within a client organization, typically, the consultancy brings a proprietary methodology to the table with them. Working within the consulting vendor’s methodology is usually advisable. Other times, a corporate standard is in-place, and expected to be used. This section outlines some basics around methodology. This subject is vast and beyond the scope of this book, except that the idea of selecting and adopting a team process is important. Below, three examples of methods and three standards organizations are introduced:

  • SDLC
  • DMAIC
  • ABC
  • ISO (standards, not a methodology)
  • ANSI (governs standards)
  • NSSN (describes global standards via the web)

 

Systems Development Life-Cycle (SDLC) is a generic methodology, especially useful for technology initiatives, which establishes procedures, practices, guidelines, concept development, planning, requirements analysis, design, development, integration, testing, implementation, and operations of information systems. For example, the United States Justice Department has adopted a form of SDLC for its various organizations.

DMAIC (pronounced “Duh-MAY-ick”) is a highly structured problem-solving method many organizations have adopted. The letters are an acronym for the five phases of a Six-Sigma improvement effort: Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control.

Activity Based Costing (ABC) is an alternative accounting technique that allows an organization to determine the actual cost associated with each product and service produced by the organization without regard to the organizational structure.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer of standards. Although ISO’s principal activity is the development of technical standards, ISO standards also have some economic and social repercussions. An understanding of ISO may influence the selection of a particular analysis methodology.

Other important standards-oriented organizations include American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and National Standards Systems Network (NSSN). ANSI is a private non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization system. ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the world’s leading standards bodies. NSSN is a national resource for global standards which is working toward becoming the World Wide Web’s most comprehensive data network on developing and approved national, foreign, regional and international standards and regulatory documents.

Considerations: Selection of a team process is important for several key reasons. One main reason for placing emphasis on this task is that the process followed will be largely dictated by the chosen methodology. Sometimes participants will not be familiar with a structured methodology, and team training will be required. Who has prior experience with a structured methodology? Why is one method possibly better than the other choices? Will any of the impacted stakeholder groups need a certain method or approach to be used? Does the consulting vendor have a preference? What kind of training is in place for the team members around a given methodology?

Practices:

Use the Systems Development Life-Cycle (SDLC) approach:

  • Develop Concepts
  • Plan
  • Analyze Requirements
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Integrate
  • Test
  • Implement
  • Operate

 

Use the Six-Sigma approach:

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Improve
  • Control

 

Perform Activity Based Costing analysis:

  • Analyze Activities
  • Gather Cost
  • Trace Cost to Activities
  • Establish Output Measures
  • Analyze Cost