Disciplined Agile

Funding Reuse

Your approach to funding is a critical success factor for your asset management strategy. As you see in Figure 1, the funding strategies, from most to least desirable, are:

  1. Funded reuse/usage team. A team of one or more people in the role of asset engineer is provided explicit funding to support and enhance the reuse efforts within your teams
  2. Asset-level funding. Funding for a specific asset, such as a security framework or collection of physical tools, is explicitly budgeted for. This funding should cover the development, enhancement, and long-term support and maintenance of the asset.
  3. Team-based funding. Funding for the use, development, and enhancement of assets is included in the budget individual teams. Such funding is often accompanied by mandates along the lines of “The team will achieve X% levels of reuse” (although teams are rarely measured against these mandates in practice).
  4. No funding. With this approach (re)use occurs on an ad-hoc basis within teams, often driven by tactical decisions at the team level as opposed to strategic decisions at the organizational level.
  5. Chargeback. Teams are charged for usage of an asset. In some extreme cases teams are charged to download an intangible asset from the asset repository, typically because that’s easier to than charging for actual usage.

Asset Management- Goal Diagram

Figure 1. The Asset Management goal diagram.

Table 1 compares and contrasts these funding strategies. Combinations of these strategies can of course be implemented.

Table 1. Comparing the reuse funding strategies.

Strategy Advantages Disadvantages Considerations
Funded reuse/usage team
  • Reuse is actively supported across all teams
  • Long-term support activities, such as evolution of assets and the asset repository, are directly funded
  • Cost of asset management is easily measured
  • Value provided by asset management must be measured to justify continued, year-over-year funding
  • Asset management team becomes a target for financial cuts because the cost is easily measured but the value provided is difficult to measure
  • Supports a robust, organization-wide, asset management strategy
  • Significant discipline required: Executives must understand and be prepared to execute an explicit asset engineering strategy
Asset-level funding
  • Development of potentially reusable assets are funded in a targeted manner
  • Cost of individual assets easily measured
  • Typically used for initial development of an asset, but long-term support and enhancement is often neglected
  • Can result in development of similar assets by disparate teams
  • Useful first-step towards the funding of an asset-engineering team
  • Can be made to work in organizations with a project-based funding, although long-term support and enhancement of the asset can be a struggle in such situations
Team-based funding
  • Development of potentially reusable assets are funded
  • Difficult to fund ongoing enhancement and support of your reusable assets with this strategy, unless the team is stable over the long term and willing to support the assets that they create
  • Funds earmarked for asset development often diverted 
  • Many “potentially reusable assets” are created yet few are (re)used by other teams due to lack of infrastructure to support wide-scale asset management
  • This strategy may be your only option in organizations with strict project-based funding
No funding
  • Some teams, particularly very disciplined ones, will still choose to have high levels of reuse even when no organizational support is provided
  • Reuse will be inconsistent at the organization level
  • The only way reuse will happen in this situation is through the maturity and enterprise awareness of your teams
  • Potential exists to fund ongoing support and enhancement of assets
  • Teams are punished for reusing assets, motivating them to create their own versions
  • Complexity of chargeback added to overall organizational bureaucracy, effectively adding waste to your processes
  • Chargeback strategies will undermine if not destroy your asset management efforts

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