Disciplined Agile 5-minute intro

Disciplined Agile 5-minute intro

Agile Manifesto changed the software development world in 2001.

However it is just a set of principles. This is why it has led to the evolve of many different Agile frameworks that have crystallized and become widespread.

However different frameworks has different focuses:

  • Lean/Kanban - teaches how to eliminate waste in delivery pipeline
  • Scrum - promotes leadership inside the teams and defines how to deal with constantly appearing changes
  • Extreme Programming (XP) - shows how to build the highest quality software
  • SAFe - enables large organizations to work as many agile teams connected together

They also have different team structures/roles, different prescribed activities, different slang, etc…

Here Disciplined Agile (DA) comes to the scene.

Disciplined Agile

Disciplined Agile (DA) is a toolbox that combines many (if not all) of agile framework’s tools in one place. So you have together all of tools from Lean/Kanban, Scrum, XP, SAFe, etc - logically connected and easy to use.

It consists of 4 pillars:

  • Mindset - set of short slogans - principles, promises and guidelines
  • People - set of roles, responsibilities and team structures that you should have
  • Flow - 6 lifecycles that define the set of work phases/stages/milestones that should fit almost all needs and situations
  • Practices - collection of many process goals that you want to improve, all their aspects and recommendations/considerations with pros and cons.

Overall approach of Disciplined Agile is the following:

  1. Embed DA mindset in your team
  2. With the team define roles & responsibilities, and team working agreement (set of internal rules for your team)
  3. Select DA lifecycle that better fits your project needs
  4. Follow your own Way of Working (WoW);
    • i.e. you don’t need to start with any hard-to-tailor standard prescribed Agile process - you just start working in a way you already used to work_
  5. Start repeating “Guided Continuous Improvement” process.

Where “Guided Continuous Improvement” process is just a recommendation how to better apply DA collection of Practices:

  1. Together with the team decide what you want to improve - select one or few process goals from the DA’s list:
    1. Study together all written aspects and recommendations/considerations;
    2. Select together what you want to try to do.
  2. Try it for some time (experiment) - i.e. try your new Way of Working
  3. After some time assess what happened:
    1. Did you achieve what you wanted? Great! Keep doing it what you started!
    2. you didn’t achieve what you wanted? Drop it off;
    3. Anyway share learnings with colleagues.
  4. Repeat ^^^
Guided Continuous Improvement

For example, let’s say your Delivery team has a problem with estimations and it regularly affects the releases delivery.

  • After overviewing DA Delivery chart you quickly find that this problem can be addressed by the process goal “Plan the Release”
  • You study Plan the Release - all it’s aspects, options and considerations
    • Please note that DA book “Choose you WoW” has many details while web site only shows the summary. So you need to have a book inside your team!
  • You select what you can do, for example you may decide to try Relative Points estimates and Rolling wave planning
  • You try it and you see if it helps you.

PS. DA is covering not only software delivery but all the levels of organization:

  • Delivery - how to build the consumable software
  • DevOps - how to delivery the consumable software to the business
  • Value Stream - how to satisfy the customer - a flow that starts from identifying the needs, passing them via Portfolio and Product management, then via Delivery and DevOps, and to the Business operations that bring the value to the Customers
  • Enterprise - how to increase agility in the whole organization

Ask me if you have any questions (I am not selling it to anybody - I am just enjoying it 😁)!

See also: