Sunday, July 15, 2007

Agile Styles: Dynamic Systems Development Method - DSDM

Jean Tabaka gave an overview of DSDM at Agile 2006. Jean begins by giving us some background on DSDM which stands for dynamic systems development method. DSDM has 9 principles. There is nothing remarkable about them other than that business people sat together and agreed on them.

1. Active users involvement is imperative

2. The team must be empowered to make decisions

3. The focus is on frequent delivery of products

4. Fitness for business purpose is the essential criterion for acceptance of deliverables

5. Iterative and incremental development is necessary to converge on an accurate business solution

6. All changes during development are reversible

7. Requirements are baselined at a high level

8. Testing is integrated throughout the life cycle

9. Collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders is essential.

Collaboration and cooperation is one area of differentiation of DSDM. DSDM is very specific about having very clear stakeholder relationships that are explicitly brought in. This is really built into the method and it is not just be hopeful that stakeholders will like it.

Jean then presents the ‘3 pizzas and the cheese’ picture which represents the phases of DSDM. It has phases beyond development. There is the pre-project phase which is a feasibility study and a business study that addresses thing like how a project gets started and where the funding is coming from. Then there is Functional Model iterations, Design and build iterations, and Implementation iterations. Finally there is the post project phase which addresses things like what happens after deployment.

Next, Jean talks about the core agile components of DSDM. They include the 9 principles, the fixed time box, the collaborative and facilitated workshops, and the Prioritized requirement list or PRL. Like other agile methods, in DSDM the iron triangle is flipper over. Time and resources are fixed. Requirements are managed through prioritization and inspection and adaptation. Requirements are baselined at a high level usually using MoSCoW technique (Must have, Should have, Could have, Would like to have it) and delivery is between 2 and 6 weeks.

Other aspects of DSDM include being founded by business owners as opposed to software developers or engineers. It has specific integration points with business processes. It is phase driven. It is consortium-based which gives access to continuous growth of the method. It has licensing fees and multiple certifications which seems appealing to large enterprises.

Some of its benefits include documentation since 1995, continuously evolving, guidance maintained and updated in multiple languages, certification recognized worldwide, and provides a nice enterprise wrapper.

Jean wraps up by pointing us to the source as

This presentation is available on InfoQ at