For those who don’t already know, FIST stands for Fast, Inexpensive, Simple and Tiny. It’s a set of values that can be applied across the spectrum of decision making (organization, requirements, architecture, design, testing, etc), for all kinds of technology development efforts. Whether you’re building an aircraft carrier or a hand-held radio, there is always an opportunity to chose between fast and slow, inexpensive or pricey, complex or simple, and large or small.
I recently came across some research by The Standish Group that strongly supports the FIST approach. In fact, they make me look downright conservative. They write:
Our research has shown smaller projects are consistently more successful because of reduced confusion, complexity and cost.
… smaller projects experience fewer cost overruns.
… shorter time frames… increase the success rate.
… the more expensive a project becomes, the less likely its chance of success.
Time is the absolute enemy of all projects.
Our newest data suggests that we need to further reduce the amount of resources to increase the success rates even more. … no more than four people, for no longer than four months at a cost of less than $500,000. We find that the less the features, the greater the yield.
All I can say is yes, yes, a thousand times yes!