|Chapter 4: Principles|
4.1 Introduction to the DSDM Principles
The eight principles of DSDM support DSDM’s philosophy that
Compromising any of the following principles undermines the philosophy of DSDM and introduces risk to the successful outcome of the project. If a team doesn’t follow all of these principles then it won’t get the full benefit of the approach.The collective value of DSDM’s principles enables organisations to deliver best value business solutions collaboratively.
The eight DSDM principles are:
4.2 Principle 1 - Focus on the Business Need
Every decision taken during a project should be viewed in the light of the overriding project goal - to deliver what the business needs to be delivered, when it needs to be delivered.
Specific business roles in DSDM, in conjunction with the business products created in the Foundations phase, and key practices such as timeboxing and MoSCoW prioritisation, enable DSDM teams to fulfil this principle.
4.3 Principle 2 - Deliver on Time
Delivering a solution on time is a very desirable outcome for a project and is quite often the single most important success factor. Late delivery can often undermine the very rationale for a project, especially where market opportunities or legal deadlines are involved.
Even for projects without a need for a fixed end date, on time delivery of intermediate or contributing products is still the best way to demonstrate control over evolution of the solution.
In order to fulfil this principle, DSDM teams need to:
Combining the DSDM practices of timeboxing and MoSCoW prioritisation enables DSDM teams to protect deadlines whilst flexing the features, and to build a reputation for timely and predictable delivery. The ability to deliver on time and to meet the prioritised expectations of the business in the short term – the timebox – forms the basis of control over the longer-term deliver y of the project through timely delivery of Increments.
4.4 Principle 3 – Collaborate
Teams that work in a spirit of active cooperation and commitment will always outperform groups of individuals working only in loose association.
DSDM’s Business Visionary, Business Ambassador and Business Advisor roles bring the appropriate subject matter experts into the project so they can contribute tothe solution.The Solution Development Team brings together business and technical roles in a single team.This one-team culture is fostered by the Business Analysthelping to facilitate business agreement on the requirements and the Team Leader taking responsibility for facilitating a high level of collaboration between all Solution Development Team members. Facilitated workshops enable stakeholders to share their knowledge effectively with other members of the project team.
4.5 Principle 4 - Never Compromise Quality
In DSDM, the level of quality to be delivered should be agreed at the start. All work should be aimed at achieving that level of quality - no more and no less.
A solution has to be ‘good enough’. If the business agrees that the features in the Minimum Usable SubseT meet the agreed acceptance criteria, then the solution should be ‘good enough’ to use effectively.
Ensuring testing is properly integrated into the Iterative Development process, with regular reviews throughout the project lifecycle, helps the DSDM team to build aquality solution. The review and quality control products created as the project proceeds help demonstrate that the quality of the solution is meeting the expected standard.
Using DSDM, everything is tested as early as possible. MoSCoW prioritisation and timeboxing are used to ensure that testing is appropriate and under taken without introducing unnecessary risks. In an IT project, the use of test-driven development techniques can also significantly improve the quality of the solution by ensuring that the acceptability of the solution is understood before development starts.
4.6 Principle 5 - Build Incrementally from Firm Foundations
One of the key differentiators for DSDM within the Agile space is the concept of establishing firm foundations for the project before committing to significant development. DSDM advocates first understanding the scope of the business problem to be solved and the proposed solution, but not in such detail that the project becomes paralysed by overly detailed analysis of requirements.
Once firm foundations for development have been established, DSDM advocates incremental deliver y of the solution in order to deliver real business benefit as early as is practical. Incremental delivery encourages stakeholder confidence, offering a source of feedback for use in subsequent Timeboxes and may lead to the early realisation of business benefit.
DSDM teams implement this principle through the appropriate application of a project lifecycle, which delivers a solid base of knowledge during Feasibility and Foundations phases before building the solution incrementally during the Evolutionary Development phase.
4.7 Principle 6 - Develop Iteratively
DSDM uses a combination of Iterative Development, frequent demonstrations and comprehensive review to encourage timely feedback. Embracing change as par t of this evolutionary process allows the team to converge on an accurate business solution.
Within the constraints of time and cost, change is actively encouraged in order to evolve the most appropriate solution. DSDM uses iteration and constant review to make sure that what is being developed is what the business really needs. Cycles of feedback should form part of the process for evolving all project deliverables e.g. all plans and documentation.
4.8 Principle 7 - Communicate Continuously and Clearly
Poor communication is often cited as the biggest single cause of project failure.
DSDM practices are specifically designed to improve communication effectiveness for both teams and individuals.
DSDM emphasises the value of human interaction through Stand-ups (see Chapter 13 - Timeboxing), Workshops, clearly defined roles and active business involvement.
Modelling and Prototyping make early instances of the solution available for scrutiny. These practices are far more effective than the use of large textual documents, which are sometimes written for reasons other than achieving the business objectives of the project.
4.9 Principle 8 - Demonstrate Control
It is essential to be in control of a project at all times and to be able to demonstrate that this is the case. This can only be achieved by reference to a plan for the work being done, which is clearly aligned with agreed business objectives.
It is also vital to ensure transparency of all work being performed by the team.
In order to fulfil this principle, DSDM teams, especially the Project Manager and Team Leader, need to:
The use of well-defined Timeboxes, with constant review points, and the preparation of the Management Foundations and Timebox Plans, are designed to assist the Project Manager and the rest of the project team to follow this principle.
The eight principles help direct and shape the attitude and mindset of a DSDM team. Compromising any of the principles undermines DSDM’s philosophy, as together they deliver a collective value that outweighs their individual benefits.