Writing in a recent Finextra blog, Gordon Perchthold laments on the futility of relying upon methodologies.
Involved especially in ERP and other large change initiatives, SAP ASAP, Oracle AIM and other implementation methodologies codify “the key steps in a typical project, thus being able to deploy less experienced resources who, equipped with a methodology, would be able to complete the project with minimal previous experience“.
Perchthold hits the nail on the head by saying that “… the ingredients are the resources, and the environment is the organisation, these … are certainly not standardised from project to project”. This probably explains why standardized methodologies have limited use in the actual delivery of most projects.
At the same time, if you look at it from the project owner’s perspective, a very different picture emerges when they’re trying to select a consulting firm for carrying out the implementation. The admittedly non-standard nature of resources and organization in the AS-IS scenario poses tremendous risks on the success of the project. Recognizing their potential to scuttle the implementation, project owners naturally search for ways to mitigate the risks by bringing about standardization in resources and organization behavior. Enter implementation methodologies. With their “best practices”, “accelerators” and other numerous goodies, they seem to be just what the doctor ordered. Project owners dream of fostering standardization during the implementation and in the subsequent TO-BE phase by leaning on such methodologies.
This explains why, despite limited success stories of their use in projects of any scale, implementation methodologies will continue to remain a “necessary”, if not “sufficient”, weapon in the armor of consulting and implemention firms bidding for transformation projects.