Back to top

DSDM principles

DSDM infographic

The DSDM principles closely follow the principles of the agile manifesto. They focus on delivery, effective communication, collaboration and continuous delivery all help align DSDM within the agile philosophy.

Learning the guiding principles of DSDM is important if you intend on taking an agile project management course such as AgilePM®. AgilePM is based upon the DSDM method.

DSDM Principles

Focus on the business need

  • Understand the business priorities.
  • Develop a valid business case.
  • Ensure continuous business commitment.

Remember that all decisions made on your project should align with your overall project goals. Your project should be a means to an end, not an end in itself. Useful techniques such as MoSCoW prioritisation and timeboxing will help you focus on delivering what the business needs and when it needs it.

Deliver on time

  • Use time-boxing techniques.
  • Focus on business priorities.
  • Predict deliveries and always hit deadlines.

Delivering products on time is important for all projects and is quite often non-negotiable. For more predictable deliveries plan all time-boxes in advance and set a timeframe. Features can vary depending on business priorities but ensure the delivery date remains the same.

Cooperate and collaborate

  • Involve stakeholders at the right time.
  • Develop a ‘one-team’ culture.
  • Involve business representatives.

Your team should work collaboratively and feel able to make decisions on behalf of those they represent. Appoint subject matter experts in your team to ensure knowledge is shared. Stakeholders can share their knowledge with the project team through workshops.

Never compromise quality

  • Agree quality level at the start.
  • Ensure quality isn’t a variable.
  • Design, document and test.

In DSDM, the level of quality to be delivered should be agreed at the start. All work should aim to achieve no more and no less than this agreed upon level. Build in quality by testing deliverables early and continuously and reviewing constantly.

Build incrementally

  • Deliver business benefit early where possible.
  • Reassess priorities with each increment.
  • Continuously confirm that the work is correct.

DSDM advocates that before committing to serious development, teams must first understand the scope of the business problem to be solved and the proposed solution. However, not in such detail that the project becomes paralyzed by overly detailed analysis of requirements.

Develop iteratively

  • Develop using your customers’ feedback.
  • Create Enough Design Up Front (EDUP).
  • Experiment, evolve and be creative!

The concept of iterative delivery is at the heart of the DSDM approach. It is rare that anything is created perfectly the first time, with finer details emerging later rather than sooner. If you embrace change within your project, you’ll enable your time to work more accurately.

Communicate continuously

  • Manage stakeholder expectations.
  • Keep documentation simple and tidy.
  • Interact through facilitated workshops.

Don’t let poor communication affect your project success. Encourage team interaction through daily stand-ups and workshops. To avoid crossed wires, present your work early and often using models and prototypes. Always encourage informal, face-to-face communication within the team.

Demonstrate control

  • Be proactive when monitoring progress.
  • Timebox work and review regularly.
  • Evaluate project viability.

It is essential that you can prove you are in control of your project. One way of achieving this is by making plans and progress visible to everyone. Formal tracking and reporting should also be carried out. Measure your progress on the projects delivered rather than tasks completed.

DSDM principles infographic

The following infographic shows the DSDM principles in greater detail.

AgilePM® is a registered trademark of Agile Business Consortium Limited. All rights reserved.

Categories: Resources


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *