The Agile Successive Approximation Model (SAM)

At the heart of any Agile method of development is the ability to brainstorm concepts with your stakeholders, try them out as prototypes, and be able to toss and modify them before a lot of time is spent in development.

The SAM Model was introduced by Dr. Michael Allen. At the heart of SAM is filtering out any lesser effective design treatments early, and trying out a few different possible solutions rather than settling on the first one which can often end up with project remorse at implementation. This is often an issue found in the ADDIE, or “waterfall” method. Note the “I” and “E” come after the 2nd “D”, or Development. Agile is all about moving those two letters to the top of the model, not waiting until the end. Before we spend time and dollars to develop, we want to know that both users and our stakeholder have a very high confidence we are using the right design treatments to meet the behavioral objectives.

In another post, we will take some deeper dives into the SAM. Below is how a SAM project is handled using a Kanban style board. In this example, I show you Trello. I have also used JIRA, ASANA and other visual boards to manage project and timelines. They all basically work the same way, with some being more feature rich such as JIRA that allow you to manage backlog work, estimate hours, track burn down hours, manage sprints, and measure your team’s velocity for Agile SCRUM usage.