Even in times of agility, we cannot go without project management. Although -or just because- I am somtimes confronted with such comments, such as:
„Why is there a project manager here? I thought you were doing SCRUM. „
– Candidate for a developer position –
„Why cannot you add the desired change to Release XY – I was told we would be agile.“
– Manager –
Despite all misunderstandings regarding agility, it should be clear whether and how the intended software development project makes any sense at all. My bold thesis is that just a few organizations do so, but rather merely „politically“ approve projects and define a budget.
Before the actual agile or non-agile development can be started, the requirements management discipline first has to define the minimum functional product (MVP, „Minimum Viable Product“). The MVP covers the essential basic functionality of a product without which a Go Live makes no sense.
Moreover, the MVP fulfills two further requirements, which are not always given the necessary attention:
- The MVP must be implemented within a time window in which it is to be expected that the requirements for the MVP will not be modified to the extent that they cannot be covered by an agile methodology. This time window is called the MVP Durability (MVPD)
- The MVP must respond positively to all technology and architecture critical issues. Also the questions, which are connected with functionality, which are not part of the MVP, but are already foreseeable now. In other words, the MVP also includes a proof-of-concept for the use of the chosen technology or architecture.
The above mentioned MVPD is, of course, dependent on external factors, e.g. The „Launch Window“ The MVPD is smaller or at most equal to the market launch window.
MVPD and Launch Window are determined by a variety of influencing factors that are specific to the organization and its surrounding market conditions.
If MVP, MVPD and Launch-Window are defined, the organization must „only“ determin whether the MVP can be implemented within the targeted MVPD depending on the following factors:
- Software and hardware technologies: Which technologies are available to me for the purpose of the MVP?
- Approaches to development: What methodology should be developed?
- Parallelization: How many developers can I split the implementation to create the MVP within the MVPD?
- Skills: Are there enough people with the necessary skills at my disposal?
When all four questions can be answered with „yes“, there is a possibility that the MVP and future releases can be carried out on time and within budget.