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DSDM Atern goes beyond IT

Fast project principles extended to all business change

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The DSDM Consortium has set itself the ambitious aim of covering all types of project management with its revamped development framework launched last week. The framework has been rebranded under the name DSDM Atern and replaces the existing DSDM version 4.2 - although the Consortium describes the change as an evolutionary upgrade. Current DSDM 4.2 users will be provided with appropriate migration guidelines.

DSDM - from Dynamic Systems Development Method - originated in the rapid application development (RAD) community in the early 1990s when it became apparent that existing project management methods were unsuited to RAD techniques. The framework evolved into its current form as a result of a sustained effort by consortium work groups.

But DSDM Atern marks a significant change of direction - taking DSDM principles beyond IT life-cycle projects into the wider business arena. The Consortium notes that the DSDM approach has already been used successfully in non-IT projects and the move is an acknowledgement of the trend. It also points to the emergence of more service-based development projects and suggests the incremental approach at the core of DSDM is ideally suited to this direction.

Among the changes included in DSDM Atern, the Consortium points to a clearer definition of the framework and a greater emphasis on communications through a project life cycle. Names of project phases have been changed to reflect the use of the framework in non-IT projects.

Roles and responsibilities have also been altered and the additional role of business analysts has been introduced. Project level role definitions in DSDM Atern have been re-aligned to match with those used in Prince2 definitions.

The Consortium says that enhanced tool support - often cited as a limitation of earlier DSDM frameworks - will become increasingly available as a result of closer ties between Atern and the Eclipse open source toolset developments. ®

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