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What is DSDM?

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  • DSDM used to stand for ‘Dynamic Systems Development Method’ but as the method became widely used in areas that were not solely for I.T. and ‘systems development’ it was decided to drop the acronym. DSDM does not stand for anything anymore although the strapline of ‘Driving Strategy, Delivering More’ often appears.
  • DSDM has been developed to address common problems faced by projects such as late delivery, cost overruns or the final deliverable not being completely fit for purpose.
  • DSDM involves all stakeholders such as the business representatives throughout an iterative and incremental lifecycle.

Why the use of DSDM?

  • Results of development are directly and promptly visible
  • Since the users are actively involved in the development of the system, they are more likely to embrace it and take it on.
  • Basic functionality is delivered quickly, with more functionality being delivered at regular intervals.
  • Eliminates bureaucracy and breaks down the communi cation barrier between interested parties.
  • Because of constant feedback from the users, the system being developed is more likely to meet the need it was commissioned for.
  • Early indicators of whether project will work or not, rather than a nasty surprise halfway through the development
  • System is delivered on time and on budget.
  • Ability of the users to affect the project’s direction.

The DSDM development process

The 9 principles of DSDM: The whole method is based on nine principles, all of which are to be applied, the first four define thefoundations on which DSDM was built and the remaining five provide the basic principles for the structure of the method.

  1. Active involvement of users is essential. This is the main principle.
  2. DSDM teams must be empowered to make decisions.
  3. Frequent delivery of goods is of essential importance. Fitness for business purposes is essential for the acceptance of products
  4. The principle means that the developer does not remain stabbing at some point because he wants to make gold rimmed solution. The suitability for business purpose has starting point, certain technical issues can be postponed. Iterative and incremental development is mandatory.
  5. All changes during development are reversible.
  6. Requirements are set at high level.
  7. Demands collected during the Business Analysis to determine the scope of the project. These requirements should be clearly defined well.
  8. Testing is integrated throuhout life cycle.
  9. A collaborative and cooperative attitude of all stakeholders is essential

Must Have Should Have

Could Have Won’t Have this time The reason we use MoSCoW in Atern is that the problem with simply saying that requirements are of High, Medium or Low importance is that the definitions of these priorities are missing. Using MoSCoW means that priorities are specific. The specific use of Must, Should, Could or Won’t Have implies the result of failing to deliver that requirement. v Comparison between Scrum framework and DSDM: Scrum is good for reinforcing the strength of a team. It enables autonomy, self-direction, immediate feedback, and true collaboration. The following are some other benefits that Scrum can bring to a team:


Provides an enabling environment for happy team members, where they can thrive Releases the true potential of the team Provides an excellent team-based approach that enables work to be prioritized and delivered through the use of a constantly evolving backlog to provide the team’s workload Scrum has become popular because of its simplicity. It’s easy to explain and to adopt. Scrum does not emphasize project management but rather release planning and product backlogs. That is why combining DSDM and Scrum could be significantly beneficial from a project management perspective, especially scaling Scrum to work as a corporate-wide Agile method. Combining Scrum and DSDM for a big corporation might be more suitable than using the Scrum of Scrums technique


The DSDM organization claims that DSDM can also incorporate other Agile delivery approaches, such as eXtreme Programming (XP) and Scrum, to provide the necessary Agile management framework to enable controlled delivery of Agile projects. DSDM is excellent with project variables (features, quality, time, and cost), and that is why it’s a great framework to combine with other Agile frameworks where Agile project management is essential. Yes, most projects have four parameters (time, cost, features, and quality), but trying to fix these four parameters at the outset is impractical and leads to many common problems associated with project management.

For traditional approaches, the DSDM handbook states, “The feature content of the solution is fixed, whilst time and cost are subject to variation. If the project goes off track, more resources are often added or the delivery date extended. However, adding resources to a late project just makes it later.” This quote and the diagram above are probably the main reason that the DSDM Agile framework appears to be the preferred framework for Agile project management.

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