I am struggling with finding a good solid name for development processes that is described best as either "Non existing", "Homegrown" or "We whipped it out ourselves and it rocks".

I need this name so I can create a comparison between other development methodologies like agile and waterfall.

How do you call this type of development methodology? Please provide an in-depth explanation.

  • 9
    Ad hoc - any development process that lacks a process. Alternatively you can call it "maturity model level 0". I've frequently referred to that methodology as "Success by accident"
    – MCW
    Jul 9, 2014 at 18:20
  • @MarkC.Wallace I guess "Ad hoc" will do, but I really like the "Success by accident" version, thanks. Jul 9, 2014 at 18:27
  • 1
    "Homebrew" is sometimes used to describe something knocked together on the fly internally
    – Marv Mills
    Jul 10, 2014 at 12:46
  • 1
    Note that intentionally stirring up negative sentiment in a prospective customer may sometimes backfire. Ad-hoc processes tend to be unique (or quirky) for each organization, so a careful study of the "current process" would be needed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each ad-hoc organization, instead of being generalized into a single vilified model.
    – rwong
    Jul 15, 2014 at 1:55
  • How about indigenous?
    – rwong
    Jul 16, 2014 at 10:40

7 Answers 7


I've always gone with 'Chaos' - but that has been scarily accurate in my situation. If you are trying to explain it to management, I would simply call it 'the current process'.

  • * 'the current (lack of) process' :D
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Aug 7, 2014 at 22:31

In comparison I use "JFDI" - just f* do it or "JDI" - just do it (more polite one, I use this when presenting to students)

  • Hey Jelena, welcome to Project Management SE. Can you provide a more in-depth explanation as requested by the asker? In general, we look for answers that help explain the reasoning behind something, not just hit and run posts. See How to Answer for details. Hope this helps.
    – jmort253
    Aug 7, 2014 at 8:10

I'd opt for a rather neutral descriptor that doesn't attach any positive or negative connotations to the approach. Particularly if you're completing a comparison exercise whereby the pro's and con's of each approach should be outlined.

I've used 'customized' and 'bespoke' as neutral descriptors for something that's not a traditionally recognized methodology but is, through either tried and tested experience or to fulfill the specific needs of the organisation that uses it, an existing approach.


In my opinion there is no development without the methodology. Development process always has some rules by which it is built. Even if seemingly there are no rules, "no rules" is also a rule. If you have one of that kind of process with minimal regulation, it looks like "Cowboy coding", where developers have minimum constraint from developing process.


Many years ago, I attended a talk given by Grady Booch, and he referred to this type of development process as "heroic" I.e. any success was dependent on the great efforts of the participants.

I have always liked that description, as the lack of a process shouldn't detract from the talents of the team members.


You can also use CMMI definition of level 1 maturity:

Level 1 - Initial (Chaotic)

It is characteristic of processes at this level that they are (typically) undocumented and in a state of dynamic change, tending to be driven in an ad hoc, uncontrolled and reactive manner by users or events. This provides a chaotic or unstable environment for the processes.



It means, "for this"; the processes have been created specifically for the situation at hand. It can also rock, especially for small teams. I've worked with a lot of start-ups and find their processes tend to be more similar to Lean Start-Up than any other methodology, especially if you start including metrics for the artifacts you're producing and their use.

Commonly consists of a little documentation knocked up on a wiki, co-ordination of work through Google Docs or a whiteboard rather than an electronic project tool, and a higher focus on delivery over estimation and prediction compared to Agile.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.