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Little by little

Incremental projects have many benefits compared to so-called big bang projects. Matthew Leitch picks apart the pros and cons.

An incremental project (IP) is one whose useable outputs are delivered in stages, rather than all in one big bang after lengthy preparation. IPs, where feasible, are usually better than big bang projects and the advantage is greater when uncertainty is higher. Put another way, incremental delivery is a fundamental tool in the financial manager’s risk management toolkit.

This article explains the advantages and disadvantages of IPs and considers ways to assess project proposals involving increments. But first, what are the keys to a successful IP?

Good practices

IPs are usually better than big bang projects, but not if you launch into them without discipline and deliver bits and pieces as things evolve. Evolution took billions of years to produce the first multi-cellular organism; we can go faster than that by planning.

This is a large topic with many experts, but in this article I’ve drawn heavily on the ideas of Tom Gilb, a pioneer of thinking about IPs.

This is an extract from the Business & Management Magazine, Issue 245, July/August 2016.

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