‘Flexible’ and ‘agile’ have been buzzwords in recent years when the conversation has turned to methodology for the design and development of digital systems. In somewhat simplistic terms, flexible methods revolve around the ability to adjust one’s course and priorities based on what offers the most immediate value. This methodology is often juxtaposed against conventional ‘waterfall’ methodology; a phased approach with an emphasis on thorough planning ahead of development. Your fear as a client is of course that you feel you are paying the same amount, but getting less.
However, we would claim that major projects actually depend on flexible development in order to succeed. In terms of both finance and quality. As a general rule, what you thought at the time you hired a procurement consultant to assess what you needed will undoubtedly have changed by the time the project is delivered. Knowit’s perspective on major projects is often that a more continuous process where the design is developed in exchanges between the designer’s proposed solution and the customer’s requirements and criteria offers better and more relevant solutions. The aim of flexible projects is to reduce losses.
The benefits are that one can launch in the market more quickly and learn and adjust along the way based on the recognition that what was thought last year will not necessarily be as smart this year. This is becoming more and more relevant when we see how quickly digitalisation is changing society. Businesses are changing, but most importantly of all, customer preferences are changing continually, and the scale is generally global.
How can one choose the right bidder without using the waterfall methodology?
People spend a lot of time producing estimates in order to present an accurate picture of costs, and projects are often chosen based on the price offered by a bidder. Simply because they want to keep their future costs under control of course. The norm today is far too often for enormous resources to be spent on designing, estimating and developing requirements which are ultimately revised or rejected following testing. We do not believe that committing oneself or the other party to a fixed estimate for a major project can always be expected to be a success factor. We would claim that this does not always lead to control, but an illusion of control.
The waterfall method originates from classic engineering projects. Digitalisation projects differ in terms of their nature from conventional IT projects and require different approaches compared with conventional IT thinking. You will be able to get more out of your development budget if you reallocate your resources in order to capitalise on the inevitable changes that will occur during the project.