“How to unite the strengths of scrum and function points in the fixed price model.”
More important than the right metric is the common estimation of complexity
Scrum is now widely used and well known in IT. Everyone knows the popular agile framework, everyone knows what roles there are and the Daily Stand-up has at least already been heard.
But Scrum is not just a framework for project development. Scrum supports you in implementing the values of agile methods. These values were defined in the Agile Manifesto:
Individuals and interactions are more important than processes and tools
Functioning software is more important than comprehensive documentation
Cooperation with the customer is more important than contract negotiation
Responding to change is more important than following a plan
Scrum focuses on the individuals involved and on achieving a successful outcome in the end. It prevents bureaucratic processes at the expense of employee motivation. Obstacles should be overcome as soon as possible through intensive cooperation – both within the team and externally.
At JIT, we use a Scrum process for fixed-price projects whose requirements have been estimated using Function Points. This means we need to adapt the Scrum framework to fit our needs. In two ways, our method deviates somewhat from the usual case:
1) Fixed price projects with Scrum
Realizing fixed-price projects with the agile Scrum method is a contradiction at first sight. However, as customers often prefer the fixed price, we have found a way to combine both.
The use of Scrum in fixed price projects can facilitate collaboration between customers and suppliers. For this it is necessary that the customer lives through the Scrum process. However, this is the case with any agile project, regardless of the contracts or payment methods. The above agile values must be lived throughout the project.
We are involved in the customer development process with our Scrum projects; Here we at JIT can use our greatest strengths – cooperative cooperation and direct external communication. In addition, it is not necessary to appreciate all the requirements for an application at once, because Scrum estimates the individual user stories one after the other. That’s a lot easier.
2) Function-Point with Scrum
The most common estimation metrics for Scrum are not Function Points, but Story Points, but they are not mandatory for Scrum. Much more important than the metric is the comparative appreciation of complexity. Therefore, when one makes the estimation of the complexity of an elementary process or dataset together, story points can be omitted.
A Scrum Team must appreciate together, set the Sprint Goal together and then achieve it together. That’s what matters.
Conclusion: The function point estimate and the fixed price can be profitably agreed with Scrum, if certain permissible adaptations are made. The key to the success of a Scrum project is that the team collectively lives the agile values. JIT fully lives up to this premise. We already lived the agile values before Scrum was even introduced. Scrum has just brought more order into our agile everyday life.