There is often a lot of confusion about the concepts of frameworks, methodologies, process, tools and techniques, so the following definitions can help clarify the differences among these concepts.
Framework—A framework is a broad overview, outline or skeleton of interlinked items that supports a particular approach to a specific objective. A framework serves as a guide that can be modified, as needed, by adding or deleting items.
Methodology—A methodology is a system of broad principles or rules from which specific methods or procedures may be derived to interpret or solve different problems within the scope of a particular discipline. Unlike an algorithm, a methodology is not a formula, but a set of practices.
A framework is the “how you do it” and methodology is the “what you do.” Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is a framework and PRINCE2 is a methodology. The PMBOK states “This standard is a guide rather than a specific methodology. One can use different methodologies and tools (e.g., PRINCE2) to implement the project management framework.”
Process—A process is a sequence of interdependent and linked procedures that, at every stage, consume 1 or more resources (e.g., employee time, energy, machines, money) to convert inputs (e.g., data, material, parts,) into outputs. These outputs then serve as inputs for the next stage until a known goal or end result is reached.
Tool—A tool is an item or implement used for a specific purpose. A tool can be a physical object, such as mechanical tools including saws and hammers, or a technical object, such as a web authoring tool or software program. Furthermore, a concept can also be considered a tool.
Technique—A technique is a systematic procedure, formula or routine by which a task is accomplished.
Some of the benefits of using frameworks, methodologies, process, tools and techniques are:
- Common concepts, definitions and approaches
- Common understanding of steps and roles
- Increased efficiency
- Improved maturity
- Common base of training, reports, analysis
- Ease of comparisons
Knowing this, my recent Journal article outlines how frameworks and methodologies can be leveraged to maximize the value of IT.
Read Laurent Renard’s recent Journal article:
“Essential Frameworks and Methodologies to Maximize the Value of IT,” ISACA Journal, volume 2, 2016.