Deterministic Agile: The Enterprise Project Planning Method Executives Need

July 26, 2023
Jul 26, 2023
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Deterministic Agile: The Enterprise Project Planning Method Executives Need

Current Methods Don't Quickly Forecast Scope and Cost

As an executive, you need a process to quickly and accurately understand a project’s total scope and cost.

In a previous article, we spoke of the problems with Waterfall, Scrum, and SAFe when it comes to accurately forecasting a project’s total scope, cost, and being flexible to new requirements.


  • Waterfall has a huge opportunity cost with people spending a lot of time planning to then abandon the plan when requirements change.
  • Scrum brought flexibility to ever changing requirements, but it doesn’t provide a scheduling framework. It leaves you guessing on completion dates.
  • SAFe is an option only if your whole division does it together. SAFe is not possible in single-team environments.

What is needed is a method that’s fast and accurate enough to get an idea of the total scope and cost of the project for a team yet still flexible to new requirements.

This is where Deterministic Agile comes in.

Forecast Your Completion Date

With Deterministic Agile, you’re able to forecast when your project will be complete. This gives you an early data-driven method to communicate the needed budget to meet a release date across the enterprise.

It does this in three steps:

  1. Determines total scope of the project
  2. Assume a stable-state velocity for the team
  3. Calculate the completion date

The total scope of the project is determined through a modified story mapping exercise. Through the exercise you determine the total number of points it would take to complete all the features for your product. Then you assume the average velocity of your team to forecast a relative completion date.

Forecast Your Budget

The size of your team will determine how fast you can complete your project, up to a point.

With a static completion date, you can take the total project scope and calculate the average velocity needed to meet that date.

You can then determine the size of the team needed to hit this average velocity. The size of the team will get you your forecasted budget

Stay Flexible to New Requirements

With Deterministic Agile, your roadmap can adjust as you learn more information. This helps foster conversations early about features that may need to be removed or if more can be added while still meeting the completion date. With new requirements, you only need to calculate the total scope of the requirements and adjust the roadmap accordingly.

If your completion date is more flexible, then you can provide an updated completion date based on the new requirements.

Deterministic Agile in Practice

We created Deterministic Agile as a way to quickly forecast your project's total scope and cost and still be adaptable to new requirements. This method is necessary for most IT executives in large companies that need data-driven answers fast.

If you'd like to see deterministic agile in practice, read this article, where we explain how we used it to help one of our clients generate excitement across his organization.

If you are struggling with forecasting scope and cost in your agile environment, we’d be happy to talk to you about it.