Is PRIDE too rigid?


"If we built bridges the same way we build systems in this country, this would be a nation run by ferryboats."
- Bryce's Law

I was recently asked by an "Agile" proponent if I thought our "PRIDE" methodologies were too rigid for today's fast-paced Information Technology world, that perhaps it was too bureaucratic. First, I pointed out that "PRIDE" was more of a way of thinking as opposed to anything else. You can remove all of the documentation associated with the methodologies, including the forms, and still produce a system for example. This took him aback somewhat as he had thought of "PRIDE" as an inflexible paper mill.

Next I asked him about his business, which was the manufacturing of jet engines. I followed this up by asking if there was a defined sequence for designing and manufacturing the engines. He of course said, "Yes." I then inquired about the steps involved and the rationale for their sequence. As it turned out, the steps for design were essentially no different than the design and development  for any product, e.g.; requirements definition, different levels of abstraction in design, parts specifications, etc.

I then asked what would happen if certain steps were dropped from the process. He said this would inevitably lead to some costly mistakes.

"So, there is a right way for building a jet engine and a wrong way?" I asked.


"And what happens if they have to skip over certain steps or do it in the wrong sequnce?"


I said, "Thank you. You've just described the rationale of our "PRIDE" methodologies."

I explained "PRIDE" used the same concepts and techniques as used in other engineering and manufacturing disciplines; that we view a system as a product that can be designed and developed like any other product. This argument represents the crux of the problem in systems development. Basically, we are saying systems development is a science, and others say it is an art form (which I have discussed on more than one occasion). Maybe this is because systems and software are much less tangible than a product, such as a jet engine. Nevertheless, it can and should be designed and developed in the same method.

So, is "PRIDE" too rigid? I guess that depends on your perspective; if you consider your own methodology to build products (such as jet engines) as too rigid, then, Yes, I guess it is. But if you believe there is a right and wrong way for building a product, and grasp the potential dangers of skipping steps, then, No, "PRIDE" is no different than any other engineering/manufacturing process.

If you would like to discuss this with me in more depth, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail.

Keep the faith.

About the Author

Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant with M. Bryce & Associates of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He is available for lecturing, training and consulting on an international basis. He can be reached at
Comments and questions are welcome.

His writings can be found at:

"PRIDE" is the registered trademark of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) and can be found on the Internet at:

"PRIDE" Special Subject Bulletins can be found at:

The "Management Visions" Internet audio broadcast is available at:

Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


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