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agile methodology

A type of software development method in which the project team starts with a very simple project design and adds functionalities through short iterations. At the end of each iteration, an updated, tested, potentially shippable version of the software is presented, and project stakeholders decide what the next iteration will target, incorporating feedback from users, the team and any relevant outside trend.

Unlike the waterfall methodology, agile methods allow for changes at any stage of the project and incorporate feedback from users and the customer at an early stage. This helps ensure that the end product is in line with customer expectations and relevant to market needs.

Agile methodologies mostly differ by the length of their iterations (1 to 4 weeks), the type of activities performed and the resulting deliverables.

see also: scrum, extreme programming, feature driven development, dynamic systems development method, crystal methodologies, lean software development, waterfall methodology

Agile Stage-Gate

A recent evolution of the Stage-Gate process. Agile Stage-Gate combines the structure (phases and gates) of the classic Stage-Gate process with the self-organised teams and short cycle iterations of Agile methodologies (most often derived from scrum">Scrum).

By introducing short time-boxed iterations that focus on delivering a working product, Agile Stage-Gate aims to increase the frequency and speed of feedback from customers and users. Thereby permitting teams to focus on developments that deliver the most value to the organization and its customers, and to adapt quickly to changes in the market.

see also: agile methodology, stage-gate®, scrum


burn-down chart

A type of chart used in agile methodologies to measure the amount of work remaining against time.

A typical burn-down chart will plot outstanding work (number of features, ideal days, team days etc.) on the vertical axis, and time (days, iterations, sprints etc.) on the horizontal axis.

Burn-down charts are very useful to measure actual work progress against ideal work progress, and detect potential schedule overruns and work-pace issues early on.

see also: agile methodology, scrum


capacity planning

A set of tools, strategies and techniques used to estimate the amount of production required to match projected demand in the short-, medium- and long-term future.

This key data will enable the organisation to calculate the corresponding resource requirements (equipment, workforce, facilities, systems etc.), and minimize idle resources or overproduction, or prevent resource or product shortages.

Some approaches to capacity planning include: lead strategy (increasing capacity to match an anticipated increase in demand), lag strategy (meeting demand increases or decreases as they occur), and match strategy (increase capacity when demand starts to increase, to remain a step ahead of the trend).

see also: long-range planning

crystal methodologies

A family of lightweight computer development methods that were created to suit different types of projects depending on their size, complexity and criticality.

They rely on seven key principles: Frequent delivery (every few months), Reflective improvement (feedback based on performance), Close communication (which requires team members to be in the same room/building), Safety (of team members who are encouraged to speak freely, and of end-users when the software can affect human lives), Focus (on top priority issues, with no-interruption periods), Easy access to expert users, Automated tests and integration.

see also: agile methodology, scrum, extreme programming, feature driven development, dynamic systems development method, lean software development


disruptive innovation

A type of innovation which creates new markets, or fundamentally alters the dynamic and hierarchy of an existing one by introducing unexpected creative changes in a product, service, process or technology. Often the creative change will bring simplicity (and intuitiveness), affordability, convenience or accessibility to an area where existing products or technologies are complex or expensive.

A large number of blue chip company failures have been attributed to the effects of disruptive innovation, which are all the more difficult to compensate than they are unexpected, and thus present a critical risk.

see also: sustaining innovation

DMADV methodology (DMADV)

A methodology for the development of new services, products or processes (as opposed to improving existing ones) that aims at ensuring that they achieve Six Sigma quality.

DMADV is composed of 5 distinct phases: 1) Define - the problem, the goal and the customer's needs, 2) Measure - identify the parameters that must be quantified, how to measure them, then collect the data, 3) Analyse - the options and develop design alternatives, 4) Design - the chosen alternative using results of the previous step, and 5) Verify - that the design will work in the real world, and begin production/sales.

see also: new product development, gated process, stage-gate®

dynamic systems development method (DSDM)

A heavier agile project delivery framework focused on delivering functionalities within tight time and budget constraints, and that can be used both for software and non-IT related projects.

DSDM is built on 8 core principles that centre on delivering functionalities that correspond to actual business needs at short intervals, ensuring teams communicate clearly and are empowered to make decisions, testing early and continuously to ensure high quality, accepting and integrating change, and monitoring and documenting to ensure proper control.

see also: agile methodology, scrum, extreme programming, feature driven development, crystal methodologies, lean software development


earned value management (EVM)

A project evaluation technique to measure a project’s progress, alert to deviations from schedule and budget baselines, and forecast its completion date and final cost.

EVM centres on the measurement and tracking of a project’s Earned Value (EV), which is the intrinsic value of the work already performed at a given moment in time. The Earned Value is compared to the Planned Value (i.e. the value of the work that should have been performed if everything had happened according to plan), and the Actual Cost (i.e. the amount of money actually spent to perform the work).

EVM is now considered a best practice for project and programme management. The US Departments of Defence and Energy, NASA, the FAA and other technology-related agencies have adopted EVM as a central tool for the management and performance measurement of their procurement programs.

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see also: earned value management system

earned value management system (EVMS)

A set of tools and processes used to plan and control a project or a program using earned value management methods.

For an EVMS to be effective, it needs to integrate the management of costs, schedule and work scope, establish a baseline plan against which progress of the project or program will be measured, and apply earned value management methods to monitor the project, alert to issues and help implement corrective or mitigation actions.

Reference documents for the constitution of an EVMS are ANSI/EIA Standard 748 in the United States, DIN 69901 in Germany and BS6079 in the United Kingdom.

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see also: earned value management

efficient frontier

A method derived from financial portfolio theory to find out, given a set of project proposals, the optimal project portfolio (i.e. selection of projects) that will maximise value for the organisation at each level of investment or available resources.

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enterprise agile framework

A type of Agile methodology that aims to scale Agile principles and practices to the enterprise, and address the specific challenges of managing a large number of Agile large-size teams (i.e. composed of hundreds or thousands of team members), whilst continuing to deliver on the promises of Agile development methods.

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see also: agile methodology, scrum

enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM)

A higher-level, more integrated type of project / product portfolio management. EPPM may include different types of portfolios including new product portfolios, cost saving project portfolios, in-market product portfolios, technology portfolios etc. Because EPPM requires a comprehensive, end-to-end and real-time collection of information, the concept is most often discussed together with the strategic use and implementation of integrated PPM software (such as Planisware).

see also: project portfolio management

extreme programming (XP)

One of the first agile software development methods, which emphasises excellence of development skills over complex project management.

In XP, twelve technical practices based on the values of communication, simplicity, feedback and courage structure short iterations focused on the delivery of high-quality products. The customer is highly involved in the definition and prioritization of the functionalities (story cards) to be developed, while the small (12 people or less) self directed and closely integrated development team uses continuous testing and planning, and short feedback loops to deliver shippable software at very short intervals (1 to 4 weeks).

see also: agile methodology, scrum, feature driven development, dynamic systems development method, crystal methodologies, lean software development


feature driven development (FDD)

An agile software development method suitable for larger scale projects (allows multiple teams to work in parallel) which uses features as basic unit of work and very short iterations.

An FDD project starts with the creation of a model (domain), which is broken down into features that can each be implemented in less than 2 weeks (usually 1 to 3 days). Each feature will then be planned, designed and built following an iterative and incremental process. Progress of the project is monitored through a central colour-coded feature list, and the object model is updated with each iteration.

see also: agile methodology, scrum, extreme programming, dynamic systems development method, crystal methodologies, lean software development


gated process

In a gated process, a project is broken down into smaller stages or phases, each delimited by a gate. At each of these gates, the project decision-makers meet to review the project and decide, based on specific criteria and the information available at the time, whether to continue, stop, hold, recycle or modify it.

A classic three-phase project would include (1) Specification discovery, (2) Development / prototyping, and (3) Testing / validation. To each of these gates corresponds one or several deliverables.

Gated process are often used in new product development (NPD) projects where they provide structure and allow early termination of low value projects.

see also: stage-gate®, new product development


ideation (or idea generation)

In its strictest sense, the process of generating, developing and communicating ideas.
In the context of PPM, ideation takes a broader meaning and includes the processes of evaluating, comparing and selecting ideas, and the grouping and merging these ideas into new project proposals, or extensions of existing projects.

Ideation plays a key strategic role in PPM, as it powers an organisation's innovation capacity, and thus conditions the sustainability and renewal of its portfolio(s) over time. The ideation management process can also determine the success or failure of a project, as empirical studies show that errors at the conception stage have the most sustainable impact.