Which Engagement Model Is Best For Your Software Project? A Cheat Sheet

The chase towards a cost-efficient approach to software development that could benefit one’s business through the prism of cost and time rationally comes as a challenge to companies seeking to launch the desired product. Which software engagement model will make the right cut is the most concerned question businesses are facing today.

The company’s bet on choosing engagement model has multiple legs: a best fit pricing model, all goals aligned rationally, and a project that gets completed in a timely fashion which further depends on the hindsight of various factors such as company’s experience with other clients, same type of domains covered by them, the amount of time taken for project completion etc.

While these factors certainly depend on the technological aspects, complexities involved, and type of commitments with the client, the company must precisely regard these points as well. On the behalf of the type of engagement models manifested for businesses are- Time and Material, Fixed Price, and Dedicated Team Model. Here’s a detailed study of it:

1. Time and Material (T&M) Engagement Model – The T&M model works best for businesses whose requirements are unclear or are subject to be changed quite often. Here T&M model also plays a greater role when the business demands flexible and agile project execution. Well suited for medium to large projects in this model the business itself carries the related risks of scope, quality of deliverables and project management.

Here the software development company assigns a dedicated team to the customer and the actual time spent in the project development is charged. Generally the service providers are paid on account of the number of developer’s hours engaged in the project or writing the code.

Pros of Choosing Time and Material Model:

• Well adapted to changes driven project;

• Full control on what buyer wants to get done.

2. Fixed Price Model – The fixed price model is ideal for businesses whose requirements are well defined, plans are well set, and there are almost little chances of changes. The fixed price model also works wonder when buyers require quick turnaround time to project completion. Unlike time and material model, here the service provider and the customer both carry some scope-related risk. But as stated in the agreement changes to the project are subject to change in price.

Pros of Choosing Fixed Price Model:

• A defined scope and fixed budget;

• No potential disagreements;

• No inflated expenses report at the end.

3. Dedicated Team Model – Dedicated team model is a virtual extension of client’s in-house development team where the client and outsource provider mutually agree on the workload and project requirements for the specified time period and the service provider or the outsource company provides IT professionals that befit clients demands and fully focus on projects for one company at a time.

This model is well suited for long-term projects, where requirements are unclear and scope of the project keeps changing frequently.

Pros of Choosing Dedicated Team Model:

• Complete …

The Spiral Model: IT Project Management Solutions

The Spiral Model is the neo approach in IT project system development and was originally devised by Barry W. Boehm through his article published in 1985 "A Spiral Model of Software Development and Enhancement" .

This model of development unites the features of the prototyping model with an iterative approach of system development; combining elements of design and prototyping-in-stages. This model is an effort to combine the advantages of top-down and bottom-up concepts highly preferential for large, exclusive, volatile, and complex projects.

The term "spiral" is used to describe the process that is followed in this model, as the development of the system takes place, the mechanisms go back several times over to earlier sequences, over and over again, circulating like a spiral.

The spiral model represents the evolutionary approach of IT project system development and carries the same activities over a number of cycles in order to elucidate system requirements and its solutions.

Similar to the waterfall model, the spiral model has sequential cycles / stages, with each stage having to be completed before moving on to next.

The prime difference between the waterfall model and the spiral model is that the project system development cycle moves towards eventual completion in both the models but in the spiral model the cycles go back several times over to earlier stages in a repetitive sequence.

Progress Cycles, IT Project Management Solutions

For Image: The Spiral Model

The progress cycle of this model is divided into four quadrants, and each quadrant with a different purpose;

Determining Objectives (I) —————– Evaluating Alternatives (II)

******************************************** ***********

Planning Next Phase (III) ——————– Planning Next Phase (IV)

First Quadrant (I): the top left quadrant determines and identifies the project objectives, alternatives, and constrains of the project. Similar to the system conception stage in the Waterfall Model, here objectives are determined with identifying possible obstacles and weighting alternative approaches.

Second Quadrant (II): the top right quadrant determines the different alternatives of the project risk analysis, and evaluates their task with each alternative eventually resolving them. Probable alternatives are inspected and associated risks are recognized. Resolutions of the project risks are evaluated, and prototyping is used wherever necessary.

Third Quadrant (III): the bottom right quadrant develops the system and this quadrant corresponds to the waterfall model with detailed requirements determined for the project.

Fourth Quadrant (IV): the bottom left quadrant plans the next phase development process, providing opportunity to analyze the results and feedback.

In each phase, it begins with a system design and terminates with the client reviewing the progress through prototyping.

The major advantage of the spiral model over the waterfall model is the advance approach on setting project objectives, project risk management and project planning into the overall development cycle. Additionally, another significant advantage is, the user can be given some of the functionality before the entire system is completed.

The spiral model addresses complexity of predetermined system performance by providing an iterative approach to system development, repeating the same activities in order to clarify