Author: Lakshmi KP

Agile for Fixed Bid – an Oxymoron?

I remember the struggles our team went through when we embraced “Agile” methodology for the first time on a fixed bid engagement.

While we managed to deliver the project to the satisfaction of the client, it wasn’t a smooth journey. There was a constant worry regarding schedule/cost overruns that we weren’t able to “enjoy” Agile to the fullest. Over time, we have figured out how to strike a balance between these two seemingly different worlds.

If you are wondering if “Agile” is a good fit for your fixed bid engagements, just take a look at these core principles of Agile methodology.

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While Agile methodology offers several benefits, I think these are the ones most relevant to a consulting firm offering fixed bid projects.

Now if you have decided to go “Agile,” how do you ensure that you are able to meet all your “fixed” bid commitments amidst the Agile process? For this, let’s pay a closer look at the definition of Agile.

“An Agile methodology refers to the capability to break down tasks into really small chunks, and executing them in a way that they can be changed easily.”

It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no predefined scope or timelines. The “change” would occur due to the usual reasons such as “missed out requirement,” “change in the marketplace,” “change in organizational politics” or “change in business priorities.” The change will not occur because the process followed is “Agile.” What “Agile” targets are embracing to make change easier and a more natural process.

However given the contractual nature of fixed bid engagements between two separate organizations, there are some extensions needed to the standard Agile process to make them successful. In my experience, there are primarily three such extensions required for fixed bid engagements.