Balance Agile and Plan-Driven Methods: How agile or plan-driven should or can my project? (five critical factors)

April 28, 2021

five critical factors by Richard Turner and Barry Boehm 

Barry Boehm and Richard Turner offer a model, which with the help of critical factors, rates the degree of agility or degree of planning drift of a project. These factors are as follows:

  • Personnel: Personnel describes the development skills of teams. There the Cockburn scale is used, which in a simplified way represents the abilities the developer divides into level 1: junior to level 3: senior. An agile approach requires that at least 30 percent of developers have a level 2 or higher. A plan-driven approach comes with less experienced employees.
  • Dynamism: The dynamism factor describes the rate of change of Conditions. Agile developments make sense if at least 30 percent of the defined requirements change per month. If the value is less than 30 percent plan-driven methods are preferable.
  • Culture: describes the working culture of individuals. When employees are That is to feel at ease when they are given defined roles and tasks to prefer a plan-driven approach. However, people are used to one a high degree of freedom and decision-making power over their work area the agile approach is more advantageous.
  • Size (team size): The team size is a deciding factor when choosing the team Method. The bigger the team, the sooner a plan-driven one comes along Approach in question.
  • Criticality: This factor refers to the critical level of the Application and the associated risk in the event of an error. Bohm points out, that there is a very critical system when there is a life-threatening risk. In the case of critical systems, plan-driven procedures are more likely to be used.

five critical factors graph tool

experienced developers 

>50% changed req. / month

agile culture

>300 teammember

no consequences many people die if the system fails

Evaluate the result

By rating a project along each of the five axes, you can visibly evaluate its home ground relationships. If all the ratings are near the center, you are in agile method territory. If they are at the periphery, you will best succeed with a plan-driven approach. If you are mostly in one or the other, you need to treat the exceptions as sources of risk and devise risk management approaches to address them.

Boehm, Barry; Turner, Richard N.. Balancing Agility and Discipline (S.82). Pearson Education. Kindle-Version.