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Time and Materials + Agile: how it works?

December 18, 2012

Time and Materials + Agile: how it works? Time and Materials + Agile: how it works?

time and materialsFor sure, lots of executives faced the problem of how to enhance team effectiveness. Every manager before the project starts considers the most suitable cooperation models, since the wrong choice may cause delayed results, appearing of dissatisfied customers, overruns, extra costs and canceled projects.

However, today we would like to speak about the proper solution of the equation x+y=z, where x is cooperation model, y — methodology and and z is a success of your project.

There are dozens of business models and each of them has its pros and cons. As the experience of Soft Industry company shows, Time and Materials is one of the most popular cooperation models, that meets interests of both a customer and a contractor.

The idea is quite simple: you pay for the number of hours required to perform a service. Time and Materials is the best variant:

  • for long-term projects, when product specifications cannot be precisely defined;
  • when a customer would like to make changes and improvements during the development;
  • when a client wants to be involved into the development process, control it, receive daily status reports and, therefore, control the project budget;

Time and Materials works best with Agile methodology, that is considered to be one of the most comfortable in a modern development environment. Let’s see what the Agile phenomenon is.

With the rapid growth of IT-sphere, it was a matter of time for a new flexible development model to appear. It should be noted, that using this methodology all development process is divided into a few stages. Their duration is only a few weeks and the output results are available at the end of each stage.

What benefits does Agile methodology offer to a customer? It is not a secret how much time, efforts and recourses software development process can take. Also, it is not a secret that from the very beginning of the project, customer’s and developer’s ideas about the final product usually differ. Very often a customer has a tolerable idea of the product he wants to get. Most of ideas, concerning software improvements, arise during the development process. Moreover, traditional methodologies assume that a customer can not see the results he is going to get by the end of the project, until the intermediate development stage is completed. Hence, chances are high that the outcome will not meet customer’s expectations.

Here comes to help a flexible development methodology, also known as Agile. As it was mentioned before, product development process is divided into a several stages, between which a customer receives a functioning part of a software product. Such a scheme allows to make regular adjustments and improvements at minimum expense.

So we have chosen the development methodology that would be suitable both for a customer and developers. Now, since we have determined cooperation model and methodology, let’s see the correct answer to our equation.

Based on our personal experience of software development, we came up with the following formula: [Time and Materials cooperation model+flexible development methodology = Successful project, completed on time, meeting all the requirements]. For effective cooperation and in order to get the required product, transparency is rather necessary. Thus, we recommend to use Agile+Time and Materials to all, who in any way are involved in the process of software development.