Framework, Model, Method, Methodology - What are they?

Question: "During the training the instructor explained that PMTK is a methodology, not a framework. But a google search shows the terms framework and methodology being used interchangeably for many things. Can you please clarify?"

Answer: A complete answer to this question requires going back to basics and explaining all the different concepts that lead and build-up to the term methodology.

Framework - A framework is a set of guidelines or recommendations that serve as a useful guide. Frameworks describe a collection of ideas and embody principles to help promote a desired change.

The Judeo-Christian bible's Ten Commandments are an example of a religious framework.

The English Magna Carta, which guarantees the rights of individuals to justice and lays the principle that everyone is subject to the law, is a historical social/legal framework.

The Agile Manifesto, a proclamation document that lists ideas to support a better way of developing software, is a framework.

The Blackblot PMTK Methodology™ foundation rules which identify, define, and explain the core concept of product management and are the very basic principles that the Blackblot PMTK Methodology™ is built upon, are a framework.

Model - A model is a simplified representation of reality and theoretical description of how something works. Models are often presented as symbolic diagrams which are used to explain things (descriptive model) or serve as an example to follow (work model).

For example, the waterfall model is a linearly planned and sequential way to software development.

The Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) team model is a descriptive model of a team of peers who collaborate to achieve the goals and deliverables of a project.

The Blackblot PMTK Methodology™ contains several descriptive and work models, such as the PMTK Action-Model and the PMTK Product Definition Team Model.

Method - A method is a systematic and specific way of accomplishing something via a series of steps. Methods recommend and describe in detail the procedures and techniques that should be carried out.

Scrum, Kanban, Feature Driven Development (FDD), and eXtreme Programming (XP), are all examples of iterative software development methods.

The Blackblot PMTK Methodology™ contains several self-developed methods such as the Blackblot Procedural Requirements Management™ (PRM) to create market and product requirements, and the Blackblot Features Matrix which is an algorithmic approach for product feature prioritization.

Methodology - A methodology is a set of documented principles and methods which govern a particular discipline or body of knowledge. The methodology is an unambiguous guide to applying the discipline to some benefit.

A methodology provides the rules and ways to make decisions and achieve goals in that particular field.

A sound methodology embodies a solid conceptual foundation and possess the characteristics of being consistent (no internal contradictions), holistic (all internal components are present), and practical (explains all the actual necessary activities).

For example, the Project Management Institute's (PMI) has created a body of knowledge, a complete collection of processes, terminologies, and guidelines to perform project management. The PMI's Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is a methodology for project management.

The Blackblot PMTK Methodology™ contains a framework (PMTK foundation rules), descriptive and work models, and methods; and was designed from its inception to be a complete product management methodology.

For additional information on this topic, please see The Importance of Having a Product Management Methodology chapter on page 108 in the Blackblot PMTK Book: Second Edition.