Beyond Scope, Schedule, and Cost: Rethinking Performance Measures for Agile Development

Jim Highsmith, Information Architects, Inc.

A recent Business Week article proclaimed, "There is no more Normal." With businesses in the throes of pervasive change, the traditional emphasis on "following the plan with minimal changes" must be supplanted by "adapting the plan to inevitable changes." If agile development practices are about focusing on and delivering customer value, then how can adherence to traditional scope, schedule, and cost be a good way to measure performance? It can't. Jim Highsmith explains the need to move beyond the classic Iron Triangle measures to instead focus agile software development success on value, quality, and constraints. Even today, many agile teams are asked to be flexible and adaptive and then are told to conform to planned scope, schedule, and cost goals. They are asked to adapt-inside a very small box. If we are to truly bring agile values to our organizations, then we must change our performance measures. To paraphrase the Agile Manifesto, it's not that scope, schedule, and cost are unimportant but that value and quality are more important. Jim explores the rationale behind moving to this new set of agile performance measures.

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