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What is the difference between a process and methodology?



What is the difference between a process and methodology?


There's no question about it. The world of selling has become increasingly complex over time, but there are still two words you'll often hear thrown around when talking about how to do business better or more efficiently: "methodology" and "process." While they sound similar enough on their own, there are some key differences between them. So what exactly is the difference between a process and a method? In this article we're going to discuss both of these terms as well as offer up some examples for each one so you can get an idea of what each term actually means.

First off, let's start with the basics. A process is something that requires action (or multiple actions) to complete successfully -- think cooking an omelet, driving your car down the street, walking through a door into a room full of people. Methodologies describe the steps required to reach certain results or goals. Think taking out the trash, getting dressed for work, standing in front of a group of prospects and asking questions. That being said, most processes require a specific set of methodologies to be successful. For example, if I want to cook my favorite dish, chicken Parmesan, I need to know which spices to use, whether to broil or fry the chicken, how long to bake it, etc., all before I even begin preparing dinner. This same concept applies to any other type of task or goal. You might go running every day, but if you don't know how far to jog based on your fitness level then you won't hit your weekly mileage target. If you drive a lot, but never take breaks during rush hour traffic jams, you probably aren't meeting your commute-time travel efficiency goals. And if you've ever tried to open a jar without using a lid, then you already know not having a proper closure strategy will make it nearly impossible.

So now that we understand what a process is, what does it mean to say someone uses a particular "approach"? Well, like many things in life, those who sell tend to try lots of different approaches until they find one that works best for them. An approach may include a number of different steps taken at specific times throughout the sale. It could also just be a single step such as calling a prospect back after leaving him voicemail. When speaking about a company or organization, its approach would typically refer to the way it handles customers' needs today and in the future. As mentioned earlier, almost everyone has a preferred method they prefer to follow when trying to accomplish a given task. But sometimes companies decide to standardize their efforts by creating a formalized system. These systems usually consist of clear guidelines for the team members working within them. Systems are great because they help ensure consistent results and allow teams to grow as individuals rather than simply doing tasks according to a script. However, just because a company creates a standardized procedure doesn't necessarily mean that it's the right one for everyone. Some folks thrive under structure while others feel stifled by it. The point here isn't to determine which is correct for anyone, instead it's meant to illustrate that there is a difference between a process and a methodology.

Now that we've covered why they exist and what purpose they serve, let's talk about the main reason we care about distinguishing between a process and a methodology: How do these differences impact our ability to improve results? To answer this question, first consider this scenario: Let's suppose you've been tasked with improving your average customer satisfaction score. One of the possible paths to accomplishing this lofty objective includes developing new products with improved features. Now imagine that along the way you discover that none of your current offerings meet the specific requirements your ideal clients desire. What happens next depends entirely upon the path you took to get to this discovery. Let's assume you chose to develop new products. After testing various prototypes, you finally come across a version that meets your customers' expectations. Because you were able to identify a gap in your product line early on, you had plenty of time to prepare for the release and communicate with potential buyers beforehand. On the other hand, if you decided to focus only on increasing customer satisfaction, you'd likely have been forced to deal with the problem once it came to light. Even though you were ready to address the issue, you wouldn't have known where to start since you hadn't thought ahead enough to create solutions prior to hearing complaints from existing customers.

This illustrates yet another important distinction: Processes are repeatable activities whereas methodologies are not. Once you've developed a proven process you should be able to replicate it again and again without much variation. With a methodology, however, you must continually adapt to changing conditions and adjust accordingly. Although methodologies can evolve over time, they can't always be relied upon to produce optimal outcomes. Just look at the history of automobile manufacturing. Henry Ford was credited with revolutionizing mass production techniques when he started moving his assembly lines forward faster than workers were capable of handling. Over time, however, he realized this wasn't sustainable. He needed employees making decisions about the design of cars rather than merely following orders. His solution was to hire designers and engineers specifically trained to provide input and suggestions regarding upcoming models. By incorporating ideas from experts, he increased productivity while maintaining quality control. This led to higher profits and greater market share for Ford Motor Company. Many businesses operate similarly. They employ professionals skilled at solving problems and finding innovative ways to increase revenues and cut costs. Others, however, rely heavily on traditional salespeople whose skills are limited to closing deals and repeating old scripts. Only by breaking away from the status quo can they truly embrace change and continue growing.

If you're looking for tips on becoming a more effective seller, check out the links below!

What is the difference between a process and a methodology?

When we think about processes, what do we usually consider first? Is it something like "the steps involved in getting to our destination?" or perhaps the actions taken on each step. In other words, when you walk down an aisle at your local supermarket how does one know where to locate their cart? How would they even find such a place if there was no assigned space for carts?

This brings us to the question, what exactly is the definition of a process? A search online will yield many definitions but most of them fall into two categories - either as series of steps (a method) or as a way of doing things (procedure). For example, if I am learning how to cook a cake from scratch I could follow a recipe which specifies the exact ingredients needed, the order in which these items should be prepared and finally bake the finished product. This is a very specific set of instructions with an end result that can easily be measured by whether or not it turns out well. If after following this particular recipe you were able to create a tasty dessert then you have successfully completed a process. On the other hand if you actually burnt the cake because some critical ingredient was forgotten or substituted incorrectly then you failed at completing a process. The same applies to any type of job. You may be hired to complete tasks according to certain guidelines and procedures. However, if those guidelines change midway through the project or the company goes under then the original plan never came together correctly. So, in essence, both processes and procedures consist of steps within a defined time frame towards the completion of a goal. There are several types of jobs so let's examine the main differences between a process and a methodology.

What are the 7 stages of the sales process?

In the context of selling products and services, the seven stage sale process has been established over time based upon empirical evidence. It consists of four basic elements: 1.) lead generation 2.) qualifying 3.) presentation 4.) close. Each element plays an important role in moving prospects along toward eventually buying whatever it is that you're offering. Many companies use variations of these seven stages with slight modifications based upon different industries but essentially all sales involve similar techniques.

1.) Lead Generation: This basically involves finding people who might want your service or product. Most businesses today rely heavily on marketing efforts to generate leads. These include advertising campaigns, public relations programs, direct mailings, trade shows and events, etc. Some of these efforts tend to be more effective than others depending upon cost effectiveness and target market demographics. While none of these efforts are guaranteed to produce results, marketing experts generally agree that the best approach is to focus on generating quality traffic rather than quantity. That means focusing less on numbers and instead building relationships with potential clients.

2.) Qualifying: After you've generated interest in your business or idea, you need to narrow down exactly what it is that someone needs. Once again, marketing experts suggest that you ask yourself what problem you solve for your customers and why they'd prefer to work with you versus another provider. Then answer questions like, "what makes my solution unique?" "how easy is it to learn?" and "is customization available?" By asking these kinds of open ended questions you'll get better insight into what problems your customer really faces. With this information you can then tailor your pitch accordingly to make sure your message resonates with your audience before ever stepping foot inside their office. Asking good qualification questions also helps differentiate you from competitors. When prospecting new accounts, try to avoid making assumptions about what their current situation looks like. Ask them directly about their challenges and see if you can help overcome them.

3.) Presentation: After determining what your prospective client needs, you now need to decide on a strategy to present your proposal to them. Depending on your industry, your approach can vary greatly. But regardless, here are some general suggestions: First, don't go cheap! Quality speaks for itself especially since you're trying to convince people to part with their hard earned money. Second, remember to stay focused on benefits vs features. Features tell people what you currently offer whereas benefits describe how using your product/service solves their existing pain points. Lastly, keep your language simple yet professional. Your approach must reflect professionalism while remaining personable. People buy from people so don't forget that aspect of your personality.

4.) Close: Finally, once you've presented your proposal and made initial contact with a qualified lead, you need to take immediate action to move them forward. Here are some tips to ensure success: Be proactive showing initiative and responsiveness. Actively listen to their concerns and respond professionally. Don't hesitate to negotiate pricing. And lastly, always deliver solid feedback on past projects and performance. Remember, great communication skills translate directly into greater profits.



What is the difference between methodology and procedure in research?

Methodology and procedure are often confused terms especially in the world of science. Generally speaking, a methodology describes a systematic approach to solving a scientific problem. Procedures refer to activities performed during data collection and analysis phases of research studies. Therefore, a proper methodology includes collecting relevant facts, analyzing the collected data and reporting findings back to researchers. During the final phase of a research project scientists develop test hypotheses and formulate theories around the subject matter. At this point, the procedures begin to play more prominent roles as actual experiments occur. Scientists conduct trials and collect data until enough evidence proves that their hypothesis is valid. From there, they write up reports containing their conclusions and recommendations for future research.

So, what is the difference between methodology and procedure? Methodologies provide guidance while procedures carry out goals. Let me give you an example from everyday life. Suppose you're given a task list of 10 chores to accomplish in a morning. Chore #1 is preparing breakfast and loading dishes into dishwasher. Now, you can choose to break chore #1 into smaller chunks. One option is to prepare cereal, milk, eggs and fruit for everyone right away. Another alternative is to wait till everyone finishes eating dinner and only load the machine afterwards. Both options meet the overall objective of cleaning house but choosing the latter allows you to save valuable time and energy. Similarly, in conducting research scientists have developed standardized procedures for gathering data. They typically employ trained interviewers, record keeping personnel and statisticians to gather information and analyze it for validity. Researchers simply apply these standard practices throughout various regions to reach statistical significance.

What is difference between methodology and procedure? Procedure refers to activities carried out regularly without much thought while methodology represents bigger picture thinking behind the system. An analogy that comes to mind is driving a car. To drive safely you need to understand the basics of vehicle control including steering, braking, gas pedal position, speed limits and road conditions. Even though you probably already possess knowledge of controlling these aspects of driving, you wouldn't think twice about adjusting seat height, radio station or lighting settings unless the conditions require it. Likewise, when designing a new kind of airplane passengers would want to see safety protocols, flight paths, emergency landing locations and fuel consumption rates prior to purchasing tickets. Yet, airlines still sell seats by the number of rows (i.e., economy class seats) despite knowing full well that most flyers won't sit next to anyone else. This illustrates that airline policies aren't necessarily determined by passenger comfort levels alone. Instead, they're mainly driven by economics and logistics. Ultimately, procedure focuses on implementing known systems while methodology considers factors beyond efficiency and practicality.

Lastly, although both processes and procedures are useful tools for achieving larger objectives, neither are inherently superior to the other. Rather, the choice depends largely on the nature of your business and its goals.

There are many terminologies related to software development. Some common ones are system, architecture, design, analysis, testing, etc. One more interesting term which you may hear these days is "methodology". But what exactly does it mean by this word? And why people use it for some other terms like Framework, Process, Method, Toolkit, etc.?

In my opinion there can be no ambiguity about the fact that all those words have different meaning from each other. So let's try to understand their differences together with an example.

Let us assume we want to develop a new application named as MyApp. Now here comes the question how do we go about developing our application? You will definitely answer - We need to create a proper plan first before starting working on the project. Right! Yes, but not really because planning means just preparing your mind towards the task ahead. This kind of pre-analysis doesn't help much in any way. It only gives you a brief idea about the requirements of the app. The best approach would be if you start creating something right away without thinking anything about it beforehand. That's called writing code. After coding you can then think about where to place certain features/functions within the source file so that they get executed at the time when required. In short, after coding you should know what needs to be done next. If you follow this simple rule everything becomes clear. Let me explain it using another analogy. Suppose you want to take a vacation to some far off destination. Before taking the flight one must prepare his luggage according to the size of suitcase he has (or rather the number of kilos). Similarly you also need to prepare yourself mentally before going to work by making up your own mind whether you can handle the pressure and stress involved during the job or not. Hence I believe everyone who wants to become successful in life should always keep themselves prepared psychologically.

Now coming back to our discussion, the main point I am trying to make here is that coding is nothing but applying specific processes through appropriate tools. For instance, consider a situation when you write a large scale program such as web server(Apache), database management systems, operating system kernel etc. These programs are huge in size and contain millions of lines of codes. They consist of several subroutines written in high level programming languages. A programmer uses special text editors to edit source files containing instructions which tell computer components how to perform particular tasks. There are various versions of compilers available which translate human readable language into machine executable format. Finally these compiled binary files run directly inside a CPU resulting in faster execution of operations than interpreting them line by line.

I hope now I made myself understood clearly enough. Let's move forward now. What exactly is a methodology? To put it simply, it is nothing but a set of guidelines which tells a person how to complete a given task successfully. For instance, let's say you want to build a website. You decide to choose Java technology instead of PHP because of its popularity among developers. As per your choice you select Apache webserver. Next you'll need to install Tomcat 7 along with MySQL 5 databases. Then configure security settings etc., so that unauthorized users don't access your site. All these steps constitute a methodology. When you're designing a house you might require a good architect to draw out blueprints showing detailed layouts of rooms, corridors and stairways. He will assign unique numbers to every part of the building indicating exact locations of walls, doors, windows etc. By following these plans you can easily construct a mansion without any hassle. In order to produce healthy fruits & vegetables you need to grow plants under optimal conditions. Therefore you hire a gardening expert who knows precisely how to plant seeds, water them regularly and give suitable fertilizer. Thus whenever someone talks about methodology he actually refers to a set of guidelines which helps programmers apply processes efficiently.



What is the difference between methodology and framework?

The above explanation was based on two scenarios where we saw that both of them were essentially the same thing i.e. a collection of rules. However, sometimes people confuse the concepts of methodology and framework because the former includes multiple levels whereas latter consists of only one layer. Take the example of designing a house again. Here we see that architectural drawings form the foundation of construction. Once the drawing gets approved by relevant authority, engineers come into picture. Their duty is to convert rough sketches into precise designs. Based on the final approval provided by architects, structural engineer prepares the blueprint of building including details of electrical wiring, plumbing pipes etc. On completion of all activities the contractor takes over. His major responsibility is to supervise the construction works until the entire project gets finished.

So now you can understand the difference between methodology and framework perfectly well. In general framework consists of only one component whereas a methodology contains multiple layers. For instance, a typical structure of layered software model looks like below:

This diagram shows three separate layers namely business logic, data access and presentation. Each layer performs a different function and communicates via interfaces. Data Access Layer provides facilities to retrieve records from Database while Business Logic Layer handles complex computations and validations prior to sending results to Data Presentation Layer. While implementing layered models developers often opt for frameworks since they reduce complexity and increase efficiency.

It's important to note that although conceptually framework and methodology seem similar to most people, they differ slightly in practical implementation. Frameworks usually provide reusable components helping developers save lots of time. Whereas a methodology aims to cover almost all aspects of software development. Its goal is to simplify the process of creating applications. Both frameworks and methodologies are equally helpful in speeding up the overall workflow.

Is process or method are same?

If you notice carefully you will find subtle yet significant distinction between the two terms. Since 'process' implies action whereas 'Method' represents procedure. Taking the previous example once again, you can see that process involves performing actions while methodology dictates procedures. Think of a builder. His basic purpose is to lay foundations of buildings. He starts doing this operation by digging trenches followed by laying concrete flooring. Afterwards bricklayers begin constructing walls one by one. Once building reaches ground builders erect steel beams and columns to support upper floors. Carpenters then decorate interiors of newly constructed houses. Lastly electricians connect power supply cables to appliances while plumbers install toilets and taps. Although each individual plays a vital role in the construction of a house, all of them act as a team and collectively accomplish the mission assigned to them.

On the other hand, a developer follows a predefined sequence of events while completing a task. Every step requires him to utilize specialized knowledge and skillsets learned throughout his career. He develops numerous test cases, writes source codes and creates documentation explaining functionality of the application being developed. At last he deploys the application either locally or online depending upon user demands.

Hence you can conclude that though all four terms refer to the same thing i.e. a series of sequential events leading to successful delivery of product, they vary significantly in quality, quantity and scope. Hope now you can better differentiate between them and grasp their true meanings.

To sum up, knowing technicalities behind each of these terminologies can prove beneficial to newcomers. Also experienced professionals could learn something useful too. Moreover having a thorough understanding of these terms will surely enhance productivity and performance of workers.


Author

Mathieu Picard

CEO, Anyleads, San Francisco

We are the leading marketing automation platform serving more than 100,000 businesses daily. We operate in 3 countries, based in San Francisco, New York, Paris & London.

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