In presentations but also negotiations about booking Scrum teams, I like the following visualization. It shows in the most simple way the advantages of using Scrum compared to traditional approaches.
Traditional methods for project management set the focus on fulfillment of initial scope (Features). With this unilateral prioritization, customers unconsciously accept that project delivery (Time) and budget (Costs) will be variable. In other words, the provider is anxious to deliver just the initially agreed-upon deliverables, while any tiny change will influence the planning, budget, and usually also quality.
In the visualization above you can see at one glance that the Agile approach has more advantages (three to one). Let me explain why.
Milestones and throughput time are fixed
According the given milestones, the sprints and delivery dates will be set and not postponed. The customer knows in advance that he will get, on these dates, a working increment of the software. Not to mention that this also helps in planning the development of surrounding systems by other providers and teams.
Costs are fixed
The monthly costs are defined by the team size (for more details see my article from April 16, 2013
). Knowing the project costs are fixed, the customer has fixed budgets, especially because any change will be possible without additional costs (Changes for Free
Quality is fixed
The quality level needed and the actions to reach it will be defined initially according to the customer's requirements. Of course, it can be adapted to any changed needs of the customer. But the quality level won't be changed during the project simply to stay within time or budget.
Features are variable
The delivery of most possible business value -- following the changing requirements within the given time frame and budget -- has higher priority than the delivery of the initial features.
In my experience, everybody wins with the Agile approach -- customer as well as provider. The satisfaction in cooperation increases and everybody feels empowered and involved, while the controlling/billing process is simplified dramatically.