The following Guest article was initially published at and and is republished here with permission, © Stacy Goff, 2007.
Published here August 2008.

Introduction | Background and PM Methods Experience | What is a PM Methodology? 
Moving Target or Consistent Characteristics? | Consistent Characteristics in Detail
Is Methods Benefit Realization Important? | Conclusions | Appendix A

Stacy A. Goff is president of ProjectExperts®, a Project Management consulting, methods, tools and training company. A co-founder of asapm, Stacy is the USA representative to IPMA, the International Project Management Association. He has also contributed to the Project Management Institute since 1983. A Project Management practitioner since 1970 and consultant since 1982, his focus is to improve Enterprise or workgroup project management competence, productivity, and effectiveness. His Project Management tools and methods are used by enterprises and consultancies on five continents. He uniquely combines his PM Process insights with sensitivity for the human aspects of projects. The result: Measurably increased project performance. He can be reached at; web:


My first partner in PM Consulting tells a story about an early 1980's workshop he held in Stockholm, Sweden. The class went well, but every time he said the word methodology, a small group in the back of the class broke out in laughter. He'd glance at them with a questioning look, and then continue.

At a break, he asked one of the participants what was so funny about the word methodology. That back row included participants who's English was not strong, and the others were translating the difficult words. They said the only word in the Swedish language that came close to methodology translated to "dust sucker". In that era, a methodology was most often an 8-12 binder-set that required its own shelf. Moreover, it also required the services of one of the "Big Eight" firms to manage it.

But today, "Methodology" is no longer a "Dust-sucker" and by now, you would think that everyone who needs a Project Management Methodology would have one. They have been in popular use for over 30 years. But as more Enterprises understand the importance of demonstrated PM Competence in projects, programs and portfolios, new requirements emerge that your current methods do not support. In this article, we answer the question "What is a PM Methodology" from a perspective of today's requirements. We list the criteria against which to score your in-house or commercial methods that you can use to help improve the effectiveness of your PM Methodology.


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