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Scrum with a Fixed-Price Project? Easy!

Success Story: Mixing Fixed Price with Scrum to Successfully Deliver One-Year Project in Four Months

What is a fixed-price contract? Customers and developers see fixed-price projects from different perspectives. For clients, it’s not only about a fixed price, but fixed time and scope as well. For developers, it’s about a complicated and non-flexible working process, and additionally, it means to stick to the delivery date making specialists frequently work overtime.

So, what if we add the Scrum methodology to a fixed-price project? Will it help to solve business challenges on time and to the highest standards?

With this article, Infopulse engineers share their experience on how to use Scrum and successfully set up a complicated project as a fixed-price contract within a tight deadline.

Global Client – Global Challenges

Our customer is one of the biggest EU-based global telecom providers with a wide network: more than 200 million mobile consumers in 14 countries all over the globe. For more than 20 years, the company provides its clients with full advantages of voice, data and digital services, and fixed broadband network.

The customer needed to support its headquarters and a network of operating companies with a suite of business-critical solutions.

The tender started in July 2015. It was very difficult to win but in September we made it. Besides our expertise, one of the main reasons why we won was the model we offered – Scrum with fixed price.– Sergii Sviatokha, Infopulse Engagement Manager

The challenge we faced was complex indeed: we had to work with a whole bunch of strategically important projects simultaneously. In broad lines, we worked in three directions:

  • Developing and optimizing roaming business processes for the customer’s operating companies.
  • Working with financials, data models, and processes used by the customer’s operating companies and partners.
  • Designing, developing and delivering infrastructure for the telecom provider’s headquarters.

Throughout these projects, we needed to develop 4 systems from scratch, based on MS SharePoint, MS SQL Server, .NET, and AngularJS, and perform migration from a legacy MS Access-based system to MS SQL with some extra tuning. New solutions would enable quick operation handling between carriers, headquarters, and third parties.

Four Systems in Four Months

While normally such projects might take up to a year, we had only four months to do the job. Even with enough people, for many companies, it is extremely hard to bring such project to success on time without compromising quality. That is why, considering all sides of a fixed-price engagement and the project’s aspects, we decided to add Scrum elements to it. Our team was splitting tasks and working in short sprints, thus we could alter our backlog.

To common Scrum steps – Continuous Integration, backlog preparation, sprints forming and Product Owner approving – we also added a change management mechanism to ensure the efficient work with changes initiated by the customer.

The results of our dedication led us to success: the customer received a wide range of solutions in just four months, starting with business requirements analysis and ending with final delivery and documentation.

Did we get lucky in this project? Honestly, according to the statistics, 70 % of fixed-price and 60 % of time & materials projects end in dissatisfaction or don’t end at all. As for our case, the whole team worked hard to achieve the result in time and to “get lucky”.– Sergii Sviatokha, Infopulse Engagement Manager

As of today, we already launched 11 systems within the framework of the project. After launching solutions to production, we continue to cooperate with our customer as a supporting partner. We provide the client with updates and train users to work with the delivered products.

So, did Scrum help us?

Was our decision to use this methodology for the fixed-price project inefficient? See it for yourself: we faced tight deadlines and limited resources; nevertheless, we’ve met our goals according to all of the customer’s requirements and made our client happy. We are absolutely sure that everything is possible with a result-oriented approach and team — no matter how difficult your task is.

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