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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Identity Risks – Poor Project Methodology

Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, April 24, 2006
8:24 pm

I learned a new word today: Grandiloquent: “a lofty, extravagantly colorful, pompous, or bombastic style, manner, or quality especially in language.”

This came from the Wikipedia description of methodology: “In software engineering and project management, ‘methodology’ is often used to refer to a codified set of recommended practices, sometimes accompanied by training materials, formal educational programs, worksheets, and diagramming tools. While these would be more accurately referred to as methods, the word methodology is more grandiloquent.”

So, let’s favor qrandiloquence today and talk about project methodologies as they apply to implementing Identity Management systems. For the purpose of this discussion, I propose this definition for Methodology: “a common framework or process to enable high quality delivery and sustenance of information technology solutions.”

Methodologies do not guarantee success. They cannot automatically make a substandard delivery team rise above their own inadequacies. However, a good methodology, executed by a competent team, can provide repeatability and predictability to an implementation project.

The focus should be on both delivery and sustenance. It does little good to deliver a system that no one can operation. It also does little good to deliver an inferior quality system to a great operations team.

Teams who use poor project methodologies or fail to follow a good one can:

  • Underestimate the complexity of Identity systems
  • Fail to highlight and enforce critical dependencies
  • Inadequately manage change
  • Fail to discover problems as they arise

So, what should be done?

  • Select a systems integration partner who has a good methodolgy and a good track record of using it.
  • Make sure the methodology accomodates Identity Management, with its many stakeholders and many moving parts.
  • Work with your partner to adapt that methodology as necessary to accommodate your requirements.
  • Use excellent people. Don’t try sweep ineptitude under the methodology carpet.
  • Don’t go overboard. Focus on the end goal, not just the process.
  • Stick with it. Be consistent in your adherence to the methodology you choose.
  • Document lessons learned. Learn from both your mistakes and successes.

So, whether you describe the process as “Methods” or the more grandiloquent “Methodology,” choose a good one, follow it, make it work for you.

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