If you are expecting me to recommend one over the other, this is not your article. I recommend that you pick a standard that is best suited for your culture, office politics and maturity level. Choose carefully, because the standard you pick can be devastating to your group, team, or company. All too often in IT, decisions are made in search for the illusive, “silver bullet” that will solve the problems of the IT shop, group, or company. Unfortunately, the choice is made and based on false pretenses: If I make this choice, we can improve the way things are done and everything will fall into place and we will get better. The particular standard or framework will not have as much to do with success or failure as will the external issues that no framework or standard can address.
The culture at your organization will have a lot to do with success or failure of your standard or framework implementation. If you have a culture that allows developers to code despite the number of errors in their code and to continue to churn out defects, no matter how much process you put in place bad code will continue. The only difference is, you will have a better idea of the number of defects and who is causing them. The decision making aspect of your culture will also influence the success or failure of any framework or standard implementation. If you have a top down decision making culture, many at the lower ranks will see this as merely another corporate edict to go along with the twenty others collecting dust on the shelf. If you have a bottom up culture of change with little action or support by upper management, this can become equally counterproductive. If the culture of your organization is based on quality results and doing things right, then your chance of success are better. If the culture of you organization is “organized chaos” ruled by “heroes” saving the day, then failure will be more likely to prevail than success.
The culture of your company, group, division or team will also play a major role in the success or failure of any standard or framework that is chosen. How does culture differ from politics in the workplace? I feel that the culture of the organization is the lifeblood of that organization; it determines how issues are approached, how issues are handled, and how lessons are learned from those issues. Every organization from the top to the bottom has a culture that defines approach. Are issues handle in a timely and methodical way, is consensus reached or do a few make the decision with a lot or little input from management? Does the culture allow sufficient discussion or are decision made quickly and the results sorted out later? Does the culture of your organization support input from all parties or do the department heads make the decisions and then pass those decisions up the ladder? How does this affect the choice of a standard or framework? It can have a profound impact on how the standard and framework is implemented and accepted. This can be especially true if there are several differing opinions on which route to go, this results in winners and losers, and depending on the organization those cultural shifts and losses can spell doom for any standard or framework you pick.
This is always a touchy subject for most, but your office politics will also determine if the standard or framework works and succeeds. Whether we admit it or not every office has a “political” structure