Monday, 12 October 2015

Are methods necessary?

How does systems analysis and design of software take place in practice? What is the role if any of methodologies in the organisation of development? The authors argue that
"traditional IS development methodologies are treated primarily as a necessary fiction to present an image of control or to provide a symbolic status, and are too mechanistic to be of much use in the detailed, day-to-day organization of systems developers' activities." (Nandhakumar & Avison, 1999)

The structures of organisation arise through experiences that solidify into practices over time.
"ad hoc development practices became institutionalized, forming structural properties of the team. The team members were therefore following these practices reflexively in their day-to-day activities." (Nandhakumar & Avison, 1999: 182)
The structure of methodologies is shown to be demonstrably broken across time, in the same way that the structure of life cycles have been shown to be fictions, not apparent in fact (Guindon, 1990). But if methods and life cycles are known to be fictions why are they employed? Are methods necessary and if so who uses them and why?

Guindon, R. (1990) Designing the Design Process: Exploiting Opportunistic Thoughts. Human-Computer Interaction, 5, 305-344.
Nandhakumar, J. & Avison, D. E. (1999) The fiction of methodological development: a field study of information systems development. Information Technology & People, 12, 176-186.