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Blended Methodologies: More than the sum of their parts?

In each of the preceding sessions, we have started from a particular philosophical viewpoint and asked, "What sort of methodologies might fit here"? We have seen in the associated article that, in practice, methodologies are very seldom "philosophically pure" and, in addition, many people do not actually follow the methodology in its entirety. This session starts from a different premise and asks, "If different approaches are applicable in different circumstances, what should we choose?"

A summary

We will discuss two ways to answer this question in this session: contingency approaches and blended approaches.

Pros and cons


Probably the strongest argument for these approaches is that they are more in tune with the reality of systems development. They offer the flexibility to adapt the method to suit the circumstances of a particular situation and should provide the advantages of a pre-defined structure without excessive rigidity. Thus, it is argued that these approaches could prove to be both creative and cost effective.


The downside of these approaches is that, with no integrating philosophy, these approaches risk degenerating into an inefficient and idiosyncratic approach that produces systems that are difficult to modify, understand or maintain. This approach also carries long-term risks, the selection of the 'appropriate' techniques for any situation relies heavily on the skill and experience of the analyst while the lack of a 'standardized' approach will, almost certainly lead to difficulty when training new analysts.




On-line Articles

Some practical examples

Web pages

Lecture notes

The notes for this session are available as a presentation (in pdf format) - lecture notes for session 8

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