The Stacy Matrix

by Jon 3. April 2016 20:00

The journey from traditional ways of working using Project Management best practice and Waterfall to a world where we are using Agile, Scrum and kanban can be described with the Agreement & Certainty Matrix. This matrix was proposed by Ralph Stacey as part of his work on Complexity Science in the 1990's.

Our Industry and customers have moved from a place where we thought requirements and technology were fixed to a place where acknowledge things are complex rather than complicated and requirements and technology are less well known that we thought.

  • Simple products; are best designed with traditional project management/waterfall as requirements are known and the technology is also known.
  • Complicated products; you pretty know what you want and how you are going to do it could be created using waterfall or they could be evolved using agile.
  • Complex products; where both requirements are changing and evolving and the technology landscape is evolving require an empirical framework. We need to iterate and build on what we know and we welcome change and evolution.
  • Chaotic products; where we don’t know what the requirements are and we don’t know what tech we have to be more freeform. A very responsive product is better suited to kanban rather than scrum.


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