MP-AgilePM-09-Fixed Duration Projects

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AgilePM 09: Fixed Duration Projects

In the case of projects developed through traditional approaches, most times the duration of the project is not fixed. What that means is that we are given a fixed set of features that the product needs to have and in case the time does not suffice we can either sacrifice quality or extend the project duration, thus driving up the costs.

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This is not always a good solution, however. At times, due to legal deadlines or market opportunities, the late delivery of a product is not a solution. Even when that is not the case, on-time delivery is the most important success element or at least a desirable outcome that shows control over the project. In IT and software development, project duration is very important. The reason for this is that by extending the project duration we shorten the use time of the product, on the one hand and, on the other, that by extending the project duration we end up implementing many “could have” features that will generally not be used anyway.

For this reason, the DSDM approach uses a fixed project duration, with a fixed cost and fix quality requirements. The only flexible thing is the scope of the project. Depending on what time allows, a variable number of features will be implemented.

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Using the MoSCoW prioritization technique, the project team begins by implementing the “Must Have” features, then moving on to “Should have” items and, if time permits, “Could have” features.

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However, in order to ensure that the MUST is delivered, we need to have some flexibility in our projects. One rule in DSDM in this sense is that “must have” features must represent a maximum of 60% of all features, while “should have” should represent another 20%.

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