Ask Mr. Agile®: How do I know when an agile project is complete?

What are your agile questions? Whether it’s transitioning from traditional project management, managing vendor contracts, estimation and more, Mr. Agile® has answers.

The Question

How do I know when an agile project is complete?
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Mr. Agile®’s Answer

We have a formula that we like to use. Traditionally a project was considered complete when it did all of the initial requirements? Traditionally you would have a requirements phase and whatever business ideas were generated during that requirements phase they would get locked down. They were now anointed as mandatory for the project itself. Under an agile approach we’re constantly looking at the Darwinism associated with value.

The formula that we like to use is “actual cost” plus “opportunity cost” has now become greater than the “value of the future development.” In other words, AC + OC > V–the actual cost of the scrum team working on the remaining product backlog of project A, plus the opportunity cost if you are working on project A it’s at the direct cost of you not being able to work on project B. The minute that those costs in aggregate is greater than the value of that future development, it’s actually time for you to end this project, take your limited talent and move them to a higher and better use. It’s because of this formula that we find that most agile projects end early, they don’t end late. Most agile projects do not run out of time, they do not run out of money, they run out of value.

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