Managing Fixed-cost and Variable Scope Projects


In today’s world of web and mobile app development, we have come across instances where time and cost is fixed, but scope is one thing that keeps increasing. Though this is not the ideal situation one wants to be in, but with more start-ups on the rise, the demand from clients to deliver more within the budget and time can only grow.

To manage these scenarios, companies have to look at the right set of methodologies that are to be used to ensure the deliverable are done in time. Companies, big or small, have realized the need of implementing Agile methodologies over waterfall to handle the late requests of accommodating changes into the scope of work. With a traditional waterfall model, there are no uncertain requirements and once the project enter the testing phase, there are less chances of going back to change something that was missed out in the concept stage.

Managing Fixed-cost and Variable Scope

This is where agile methodology plays a larger role where customers, developers and testers interact with each other to accommodate late changes in the requirements even after the project is kick-started. But in our experience, rather than going with Agile or Waterfall methodologies companies can look at a hybrid model of doing things to get the optimum results. Scrum with XP(Extreme Programming) is better suited as both are definitely very aligned. Both these agile processes work well in tandem all the while maintaining their distinctiveness. It will be better to have a project initiated with Scrum that will adapt to XP at a later point of time.

Having said that one has to ensure that the following best project management practices are not forgotten:

  • Communication with all project stakeholders
  • Holding a project kick-off meeting
  • Detailing the scope of work document
  • Creating a detailed work plan
  • Feedback and managing risks

Though documentation is also a part of the best project management activities, compared to the time consumed with the development time, it is advisable to have documentation done for things that are essential in nature.

Product Managers often get confused about using what Project Management methodology that fits the requirements. The answer lies in the understanding of each method’s strength. Agile methodology generally allows faster iteration, but waterfall greatly lessens the severity of errors that will affect the end user. Scrum, though an agile process, does not allow changes into their sprints but XP allows changes within their iterations. The other area of concern is compromise that has to take place from both the sides to make the project delivered within the agreed time.

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