"Look at this," said Dan, pointing to the transparency. "This is the MSF Development Process Model, unrolled out of its circle into a straight line. What does it remind you of?"
Marilou said, "Hmm—get the requirements, make a plan, build the app, test it and deploy it." Suddenly it struck her, and she exclaimed, "Why, it's just …"
"The Waterfall Model with another name," said Bill flatly. "I told you this MSF was just the 'same old same old' under a new name."
"Hold on, Bill," said Dan, making some marks on the transparency. He had drawn the MSF Development Process Model circle in miniature above each of the phases on the straight line. "Does this look like the same old Waterfall?"
"Dan, I did not understand this when I read the material you gave us, and I do not understand it now," said Marta, clearly puzzled. "Are you saying that we do an entire turn through the Process Model within each phase?"
"That's exactly what I'm saying, Marta. And here we're departing somewhat from the strict MSF way of doing things" replied Dan. "In each phase, we are going to do some Envisioning, some Planning, some Developing, and some Stabilizing. In some phases, we might loop around more than once."
"Do we do a miniature version of the milestones, too?" asked Jane.
"No, this isn't like one of those photographs of two mirrors, where the images keep repeating smaller and smaller to infinity. These smaller iterations aren't full-blown versions of the MSF Development Process Model, with interim deliverables inside of interim deliverables and such.
"All that 'iterations-within-iterations' means is that we are planning and building throughout the project. We do some testing and deployment early, in the Envisioning Phase, rather than wait until the very end."
"So," said Marilou, speaking slowly as she worked through the idea, "this means that the vision may not be complete, may not be final, until the very end, even though it gets approved at the end of the first phase."
"Exactly," Dan replied. "That's the whole point behind the Living Documents concept in your materials. All the deliverable documents are open to revision as we go through the project, based on new or changed information we gather along the way."
"What's to keep you from iterating right out of control?" asked Bill with irritation in his voice. "Looks to me like you could just do iteration after iteration until you blow away your time and your budget."
"You limit the number of iterations up front," replied Dan. "And, you set goals for each iteration up front as well, so everyone on the team knows what each iteration is supposed to accomplish."
"How many iterations are we going to do in the RMS project?" asked Jane.
"That number is determined largely by our calendar," said Dan. "Since that's next on our agenda, let's take a look at it." He put a new transparency on the projector. "What do you think?" There was a collective gasp as the team looked at Dan's proposed calendar.