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Dynamic Systems Development Method - DSDM

An agile project delivery framework, used primarily - but not solely - in software development. It is an iterative and incremental approach that embraces principles of Agile development, including continuous user/customer involvement. It provides a tool and technique independent framework allowing users to fill in the specific steps of the process with their own techniques and software aids of choice.


First released in 1994. In 2007 became a generic approach to project management and solution delivery. The most recent version of DSDM, launched in 2007, is called DSDM Atern. The name Atern is a shortening of Arctic Tern - a collaborative bird.


DSDM fixes cost, quality and time at the outset and uses the MoSCoW prioritisation of scope into musts, shoulds, coulds and won't haves to adjust the project deliverable to meet the stated time constraint.

Reason for existence

Formed by a consortium of software engineering organisations to standardise rapid application development. Intended to be an end-to-end, user-centric but quality-controlled method for iterative and incremental development designed to be fully compatible with ISO 9000 and PRINCE2.


There are eight principles underpinning DSDM Atern:

  1. Focus on the business need
  2. Deliver on time
  3. Collaborate
  4. Never compromise quality
  5. Build incrementally from firm foundations
  6. Develop iteratively
  7. Communicate continuously and clearly
  8. Demonstrate control

Core Techniques of DSDM

  • Timeboxing
  • MoSCoW
  • Prototyping
  • Testing
  • Workshop
  • Modeling
  • Configuration Management

External links