Agile Software Development

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    • #292275

      We are interested in learning about your experiences contracting for the development of software using an agile process.  The traditional waterfall method for software development requires upfront planning and milestones that lead to an expected result, and is therefore easy to memorialize in a contract.  However, an agile method is more fluid with specifications created as the project evolves so the final product may look very different than what was originally contemplated.

      1.Have your agile software development projects delivered output that is better and cheaper than software developed using a waterfall approach?

      2.Software developers prefer to charge for agile projects on a T&M basis given the lack of upfront specifications.  What methods has your organization used to ensure that project spending on agile projects is controlled?

      3.Agile projects often require more collaboration between the customer and developer.  Has your organization taken the position that it owns all intellectual property rights for materials developed in an agile project or is there a different ownership structure with developers owning some portions?   

       

    • #293820

      1.Have your agile software development projects delivered output that is better and cheaper than software developed using a waterfall approach?  Yes – collaboration allows for cheaper and better insights as the functionality is more clearly defined in the go forward strategy and any bugs, issues, etc are normally corrected through the agile development.  There also is the advantage of owning part of the IP and benefitting from that ownership, both immediately and in the long run

      2.Software developers prefer to charge for agile projects on a T&M basis given the lack of upfront specifications.  What methods has your organization used to ensure that project spending on agile projects is controlled? Charges should be at a “milestone” approach – where delivery and acceptance of a specific requirement is completed prior to payment.  There needs to be good collaboration between the project team and the vendor in order to ensure they are charging for what is being delivered and that what is being delivered is accepted into the production environment prior to any payment occurring.  There should also be a “not to exceed” fee negotiated as both companies should have a good idea on what they are expecting to accomplish, therefore, putting a cap on that should not be difficult.  Any change would require an official Charter change to be signed off on

      3.Agile projects often require more collaboration between the customer and developer.  Has your organization taken the position that it owns all intellectual property rights for materials developed in an agile project or is there a different ownership structure with developers owning some portions?     It depends on what is being delivered.  I have seen it work both ways whereby IP rights were owned by both the customer and the developer and some where the developer owns the entire IP.  Having ownership to that IP is important to the go forward strategy of the agile software and if you as the customer have been instrumental in the creation of the agile software, do ensure you do not lose those rights as they can have a far reaching impact in the future.

       

    • #293821

      1.Have your agile software development projects delivered output that is better and cheaper than software developed using a waterfall approach?  — yes and no.  Speed and flexibility are at the center of the agile development.  I have noticed a higher number of break/fix volumes as a result post elevation BUT the methodology does allow you to go to market faster.  You also need to align your financial planning processes (no longer funding based on early business case…need to fund something that isn’t necessarily linked to an NPV.)  This methodology requires an ongoing continuous improvement budget and a commitment to learn, fail and get better over time.  MAJOR mindset shift for an organization. 

    • #293822

      PA consulting has an aporoach and best practices to procurement of Agile projects, how it differs from procuring waterfall projecta and also some training for procurement professionals around that. Feel free to connect me to the enquirer if they are interested.

      Nick

      [email protected]

      213 479 2785

       

    • #293823

       

      1.Have your agile software development projects delivered output that is better and cheaper than software developed using a waterfall approach?  It’s hard to say since we really don’t know the time/cost/quality for the path not chosen.  My instincts tell me that it does, but I can’t quantify it.

      2.Software developers prefer to charge for agile projects on a T&M basis given the lack of upfront specifications.  What methods has your organization used to ensure that project spending on agile projects is controlled?  We don’t outsource our projects so everything we do is T&M (we use resource to augment our current project teams and staff).  However, even when I did to fixed bid contracts (agile or waterfall) I spent more time to scope discussions than anything.  Most companies can’t write requirements well enough to truly have them implemented without a fair amount of change along the way.

      3.Agile projects often require more collaboration between the customer and developer.  Has your organization taken the position that it owns all intellectual property rights for materials developed in an agile project or is there a different ownership structure with developers owning some portions?   I don’t know that we have explicitly addressed this unless its in our MSA but I would assume the company retains all rights.

       

       

    • #293826

      1.Have your agile software development projects delivered output that is better and cheaper than software developed using a waterfall approach?

       

      I’ve experienced both better and worse results from Agile compared to Waterfall. Agile may provide prototypes sooner allowing for feedback far earlier in the development cycle, but it can lead to challenges later in the cycle as you receive modules and experience quality issues in the interaction of the various modules. It’s important to ensure the final product is tested to the same level, particularly with the integration of multiple modules, similar to how a Waterfall method might work. 

       

      2.Software developers prefer to charge for agile projects on a T&M basis given the lack of upfront specifications.  What methods has your organization used to ensure that project spending on agile projects is controlled?

       

      In several organizations, we invested effort into sizing the effort for each Sprint to validate the T&M estimate to convert the cost into a fixed fee per major project phase or sprint. Alternatively, if a feature is not finalized in one sprint and falls into a later sprint, the software developer would have to cover all or a substantial portion of the costs. 

       

      3.Agile projects often require more collaboration between the customer and developer.  Has your organization taken the position that it owns all intellectual property rights for materials developed in an agile project or is there a different ownership structure with developers owning some portions?   

       

      We’ve done both approaches, costs to own the IP are substantially higher as the supplier cannot rely on future revenue generation by selling similar work products to future customers. 

       

      Often we’ve used Agile development to integrate or customize a COTS solution (eg. SAP), so ownership of the IP would have little value as the COTS supplier essentially owns the critical IP. 

       

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