Unformatted text preview: However, such traditional projects are
becoming less and less common as companies realise the benefits of using a more agile method
of managing projects. Who are the end-users of the system?
Spend some time to know the users and stakeholders. Who are they? Are they dispersed or
controlled group? How can they influence the project? A controlled group of end-users who
greatly influence the project can help you define requirements and manage changes. This means
you can achieve stability on project requirements and allow you to use the waterfall approach.
On the other hand, if the end-users are dispersed, you are likely to have a wide range of
requirements, which you can't define until the end-users have used the system and started
requesting new features. This situation is typical in product development. For example, Google
started Gmail and all its products such as Google Docs, Calendar as BETA because they wanted
to know the reactions of the end-users and improve the features based on their feedback.
Microsoft, the developer of the world's most popular software, Windows and Office, also applies
agile in their development methodologies. Recently, the Microsoft Solution Framework (MSF)
adopted the agile approach. According to MSF for Agile Software Development, "small
iterations allow you to reduce the margin of error in your estimates and provide fast feedback
about the accuracy of your project plans. Each iteration should result in a stable portion of the
overall system." Microsoft and Google choose to be more agile because they have a very
dispersed group of end-users. Is the time line aggressive or conservative?
Experienced managers will solve aggressive time lines by negotiating and cutting down project
deliverables. An iterative approach helps achieve this by giving opportunities to deliver partial
functionalities early. This gives an impression that the project is delivering despite an aggressive
time line, generally referred to as "quick wins." While the overall project delivery is not
shortened, there is an opportunity for you to satisfy your stakeholders by delivering key features
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- Spring '12
- Iterative and incremental development