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Agile Projects

Control costs by managing their resources

Agree the requirements, work up a detailed estimate, calculate the cost and agree a budget. What could be simpler?

Traditional project management tools are good at measuring performance against a budget, but what happens when you’re using Agile or evolutionary development methods and the requirements are not cast in stone?

Innate has a simple solution with its resource management software.

Does adopting Agile improve client satisfaction?

One reason why Agile is so popular is the way it overcomes difficulties in getting requirements agreed. For IT projects in particular, the specification can be notoriously intangible and many clients find it hard to grasp the finished product. All too often the delivered system and client expectations don’t match up, leading to disappointment and potential conflict.

The Agile method, with its regular iterations through a prototyping and review cycle, helps the client to understand early on the implications of what’s being asked for. Whilst this approach minimizes the risk of client upset, these iterations can lead the project down unexpected paths, making it difficult to plan and cost the project using traditional project management tools.

Can I have flexible plans whilst retaining control?

For Agile projects, detailed planning is generally restricted to the short-term, whilst longer-term planning is typically a prioritized product breakdown that must remain high-level and adaptable. But Agile projects still face the usual constraints of cost, time, minimum scope and acceptable quality.

Agile software tools focus on tracking issues, requirements and priorities, the aspects necessary for client satisfaction and meeting quality targets. However, by planning and tracking the resources committed to the project, an Agile project can still be managed within these other constraints of cost, time and scope. For instance:

  • Cost and time targets can be determined by agreeing the level of resources at the start of a project.
  • Performance against these targets can be measured by tracking actual resource usage.
  • The scope of the project can be managed throughout, by re-prioritising the product backlog within the constraints of the remaining resource/cost allowance.

Innate’s resource management software fills this project control gap:

  • Cost and billable rates can be applied to produce realistic manpower budgets, whilst timesheets track actual costs.
  • Baselining the project regularly, shows cost trends against both the original and updated budgets.
  • What If” analysis allows the resource and cost implications of alternative scenarios to be easily assessed.

So, Innate’s resource management software will not only improve the utilisation of your resource pool, but assist with the cost control of individual Agile projects too.

This Article has been co-authored by Steve Eccles, Project Office Manager of Codemasters Ltd, developers of Entertainment software, and Barry Muir of Innate.

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