Projects that are run using the agile methodology Smart are split up into short iterations. There are a different types of iterations defined in Smart. These are Propose, Scope, Realize, Finalize and Manage, guiding a project from the first proposal to application management.
Each of these iteration types follow a straightforward iteration cycle: plan the activities (Plan), perform the activities (Build), and evaluate on the activities (Evaluate). Although the iterations and iteration types all confirm to this cycle, the emphasis is different. Each of the different types of iterations proposes different activities to the list of activities to execute.
Project management activities in the different iteration types
When it comes to project management, each of the different iteration types in Smart propose a number of activities. Whether or not these are executes during an iteration depends entirely on the prioritization during an iterations Plan workshop.
Proposed project management activities will include the following:
- Propose iterations are targeted at defining a project proposal, or as it is called in Prince2, a project brief. Therefore, the stakeholders and goals of the project are examined, the smart use cases are identified, a first estimate is created and a business case formulated. Each Propose iteration ends with a clear go/no-go decision on project continuation. In most projects there will be only one Propose iteration.
- Scope iterations dive a bit deeper and aim at delivering the final project proposal, describing all key elements for project management, such as required time, cost, resources, and communication. To this means, we investigate possibly reusable services, the required software architecture, domain models, and possibly a glossary.
Also in most projects a communication and test plan are authored, and the project plan is delivered. Again a clear go/no-go deicdes on the execution of the project. In most projects there will be only one or two Scope iterations.
- During Realize iterations, the project team delivers a number of selected smart use cases, the function unit of work in Smart projects. As agile projects go, again priorities are set during the Plan workshop, where the customer, project management and the team involved plan the upcoming iteration.
On a daily basis short stand-up meetings, set up by project management, monitor the daily work. In a distributed scenario, or in larger projects, several stand-up meetings are run simultaneously, followed by a brief round-up stand up meeting with team leads. Progress is monitored per activity (in most cases smart use cases). Team members report work done using an agile dashboard, and include reporting the estimated time to complete (ETC). This allows for real-time project progress tracking and control. Anomalies are reported immediately.
Normally on a weekly basis, project management reports to the customer. Progress reports are distilled from the agile dashboard. However, if so desired, customers can also inquire the online agile dashboards.
At the end of each Realize iteration, the project is evaluated during a workshop, and the approach is tuned, whenever necessary. Also, project metrics are distilled and applied to re-evaluate estimations and project planning.
- Finalize iterations are executed very similar to Realize iterations. The also are targeted at delivering functionality, stated in smart use cases, and to this means run the exact same cycle as Realize iterations do. However, there is one crucial difference. Finalise iterations are used to round up the project, and there do not allow new requirements any more, but rather finish the last smart use cases still in the list (or back log). Most projects either have zero, one or at worst a few of these iteration.
- After the project has delivered, the rest of the lifecycle of the delivered application is managed during Manage iteration. Manage iterations also follow the iteration cycle, although the length of such iterations is usually longer, for instance four to six weeks. Bugs, changed requirements and new features drive the iterations, and are prioritized during the Plan workshops.