I like frameworks, there is no question they are useful in assisting and providing much needed 'wisdom' and 'guidance' in delivering solutions and improving processes. However...

...having enjoyed many frameworks and methodologies in my career I am often left with the same question, in fact it's the same question asked by every wide-eyed and eager delegate attending the associated training course: ‘How does it actually work with the other frameworks?’

At the next junction turn left, right and make a U-turn

It's the right question to ask as you're simply asking how to interact and hand-off to people in other departments who look after projects, architecture, service management and the like. The problem seems to be that they can often overlap, overtake or bypass other functions or processes established by other frameworks.

This results in all manner of duplicated effort which ironically is what they're supposed to avoid! You tend to find that when asking where they dovetail together a tutor or expert will point at a whiteboard and say 'roughly there-ish' as if it's an afterthought you shouldn't really worry about.

Who's in charge anyway?

A common issue between frameworks is that they all profess to be 'in charge' and suggest that other frameworks have only a small part to play compared to their own which, naturally, is end-to-end and holistic.

TOGAF for example would argue that PRINCE2 is 'just a delivery tool' and only really needs involvement in the migration planning stage and beyond and would perhaps preclude the architecture work itself. ITIL also struggles to define the essential role of PRINCE2 or MSP as it moves between lifecycles.

In PRINCE2 the project manager is king and business analysts are the knights. In TOGAF the enterprise architects are the noble breed who take the lead. In ITIL the business relationship managers’ are arguably the lords of all they survey. All have a role to play but knowing at what stage they should play their part is ambiguous at best.

It should also be noted that each framework will have its own unique stages and boundaries to hand-off to other process or functions. Ensuring successful engagements and hand-offs to practitioners of other faiths can be tricky to say the least.

The solution

This is where I tell you that back in 1960 a crack group of intellectuals from around the world were carefully chosen and taken to a secret location to work on a classified project on behalf of the US government and a seemingly benign, but oddly clandestine, organisation known as the WRVS. They were tasked with creating a new paradigm to prevent a global pandemic that they predicted would inevitably happen in our time. The project was code-named the Omega Framework. The records, found during an excavation of a sealed US military site have only recently been discovered and disclosed.

OK I made that up, mainly to keep your interest and in the hope that Hollywood producers will come knocking. So, it seems to me that a really useful approach would be to get the best authors of the key frameworks together and simply make them explain how, in practical terms, you can join them together. This would at least help to prevent the conflicts and contentious approaches that they create. They can then publish it as an overarching framework called, of course, the Omega Framework, and sit back and watch the money roll in.

So that's my very sensible approach to a very frustrating problem and given that it would be appropriate to manage and deliver this fab new idea through existing frameworks you can be assured that as soon as we figure out who's in charge The Omega Framework will arrive as a pilot version in around 2075. Make a note in your diaries.

Gareth Baxendale FBCS CITP