Staffing and budgeting for an Agile project team
Defining the roles and size of a team along with rates per sprint for each role is the correct way to staff & budget for agile engagements
It is important that in setting up of Agile contracts the roles on the team and the number of people per role are clearly defined and transparently communicated by vendor-partners to business sponsors.
As a sponsor you surely want to know not only the roles but also the specific people who will be working on the project along with their specific tech or managerial competencies.
Srjian often gets chosen to bail out stressed projects. The most frequent reason for projects getting under stress that we have heard from our clients in US has been:
“The vendor’s team members were changing too frequently. New people coming on board did not understand the project outcomes we contracted for. “
Sometimes as a result of these changes the code that we end up auditing is very poor. However, even when the code is clean, the understanding of project goals among developers on the project is poor leading to well-coded deliverables which were not desired at all.
Root Cause Analysis
If you look at what is happening above is really a foundational mess.
- Clearly, there is no Product Owner at the client side
- And in absence of a client PO, a Proxy PO or a Business Analyst from the vendor’s side perhaps is missing as well — who is accountable for delivering project outcomes
- There is really no sense of a team working towards project outcomes and developers are brought in as mercenaries to write great code
If you further drill down into root causes of all of this, you will discover that vendors would have agreed to outcomes without explaining how they would get there. There perhaps was magic but no process laid out.
A well-defined team with specific roles, the objective of those roles and names of the team members who will work on the project, is an absolutely imperative part of laying the foundation for a successful project.
We’ve open sourced a templatized staffing sheet which we always use for staffing and communicating roles and costs of a project. See below.