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What is a methodology?

Many definitions can be found about methodology on the web. Here are some examples:

  • A system of principles, practices, and procedures applied to a specific branch of knowledge;
  • A package of practical ideas and proven practices for a given area of activity, such as the planning, design development or management of IT-based systems;
  • A documented approach for performing activities in a coherent, consistent, accountable, and repeatable manner;
  • Proven processes followed in planning, defining, analyzing, designing, building, testing, and implementing a system;
  • The methods to be employed to accomplish the objectives and the goals of the grant project. The methodology is embodied in the "Work Plan".

As we can see from all these definitions, it is obvious that:

  • A methodology is considered as a system, a process, an approach or a package, which means as a set including several interlinked components;
  • Practices are considered as part of the methodology;
  • Some indicators are similar to those used for the definition of “best practice”: it must be repeatable (or replicable), tested and practised.