When agile methods were introduced, their ideas were not new, not even revolutionary.
It should be no surprise that working together and collaboratively, in a unified way and with teams focused on producing software that works, produces superior results when compared to those who specialize in a particular job and are more concerned with individual performance than with the performance of the team.
For companies interested in using agility within their structures, choosing the most suitable method for their reality is a great challenge. Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) adopts several tools to assist in the decision process, guiding teams and companies to optimize their way of working (WoW).
The DAD starts from the idea that you should start where you are, do your best in the current situation, always seeking to improve.
In this way, it is much more than a framework: it is a toolkit that helps learning and guides corporations to take the next step.
Unlike many techniques, Disciplined Agile Delivery is a hybrid method, which can also be used with other methods such as Scrum or Kanban.
In this post, you will learn what means Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) and how you can utilize it through an Agile team.
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What is Disciplined Agile Delivery?
Disciplined Agile Delivery is a process decision toolkit that guides to help people, teams, and organizations to optimize their processes in a context-sensitive way. Disciplined Agile is a hybrid approach, leveraging strategies from multiple sources!
DAD is seen not as a framework, but as a toolkit, which encompasses and helps to use several agile strategies, being also called agile toolkit. This framework proposes a hybrid and adaptable approach so that users can choose which features will be best used for their context.
This method, which emerged in 2009, was created by Scott Ambler and Mark Lines, at IBM Rational, and is used in agile software. In 2012, the first book on this framework was published, entitled “Introduction to Disciplined Agile Delivery”, which is now in its second edition.
In 2012, this framework passed to the domain of the Disciplined Agile Consortium, where it is currently in its fifth version. In 2019, it was purchased by PMI.
The first generations of software development methods were described as waterfall or traditional. They are guided by planning and serial processes that assume that software development is composed of a set of tasks that can be easily identified, anticipated, and repetitive.
However, what we have seen is not quite that. Unlike other engineering disciplines, the software is a creative science that requires a certain degree of invention and carries a significant level of risk and uncertainty.
The second generation of software development methods has been described as iterative. It recognizes that dividing large projects into a series of timed iterations makes it possible to demonstrate progress to stakeholders, learn and adapt the process, gain early insight into quality, and other benefits.
A set of approaches
As a hybrid of all major agile and lean approaches, it provides hundreds of strategies to help you make better decisions within your agile teams, balancing self-organization with the realities and constraints of your unique business.
DAD provides a solid foundation for Business Agility, showing how multiple teams can work together:
- Solution deliveries (software development),
- IT Operations
- Business architecture
- Portfolio management
- Shopping and many others.
DAD is an Organizational Scale Method, based on a good understanding of the organization’s context.
DevOps: Operational support layer to Delivery layer.
Governance: Layer included to ensure the right things get done
Organization: Business Agility Layer, to ensure agility throughout the company, regardless of the area.
Teams can choose the lifecycle that best suits their needs:
- The DA Steps
Each step has practices described in the toolkit. The selection of practices depends on context. DA helps to raise an important thought: Frameworks are not silver bullets!
Successful agile organizations take responsibility for developing their own agility. Success doesn’t come from adopting a prescriptive framework or methodologies like Scrum or SAFe, although it can be a good start!
What is the DA for?
By following Disciplined Agile Delivery, you will find disciplined agile principles. There are seventeen principles in total, and these can be applied to a team’s work habits to:
Drive business success: DA helps the organization become more competitive and increase customer satisfaction.
Create More Effective Ways of Working: DAD helps you identify what works best for you based on your current situation. Then you can try to introduce new strategies to make the software development process even more successful.
Streamline Workflow: DA encourages decision-making at the organizational level and helps streamline the overall workflow in which you are involved.
Advantages of DAD
In addition to the obvious benefits of business agility, DA can offer a host of other more surprising advantages, including:
Empowerment and engagement of team members: The DA promotes a goal-based strategy on the prescriptive procedure, which means that teams are empowered to choose their own ways of working – applying methods and structures that work for them.
Whether scrum or kanban, the power to select the most convenient and powerful processes increases autonomy and involvement in teamwork.
Supporting all types of teams: DA is a toolkit that carries relevance across every business. For example, it can be just as important for marketing to work collaboratively with customers. In fact, marketing, sales, and even purchasing teams can all benefit from DA.
Improve market competitiveness: By using DA, product teams can ensure that customers are “delighted” with the products they receive (remember the fourth DA principle?).
The happier your customers, the more loyal they will become and the more untouchable your organization will be to rival companies.
What are the lifecycles in Disciplined Agile Delivery?
One of the amazing features of Disciplined Agile Delivery is that it doesn’t prescribe a single lifecycle such as Scrum. According to the book on DAD, there are to be adopted according to the context of each company.
1. Agile lifecycle: Scrum-based lifecycle
The idea of this type is to expand the cycle brought by Scrum, with a more detailed view for the DAD, considering that this method has more specific functions.
2. Continuous delivery: agile lifecycle
In this subsection, teams evolve through lifecycles iteratively, with periods of roughly 1 week.
3. Lean lifecycle: Kanban-based lifecycle
It brings a continuous flow of work, reducing bottlenecks, where the next tasks are started according to the team’s capacity.
4. Continuous delivery: lean lifecycle
It’s a lean version of the lean lifecycle. Here, the product is sent to production regularly.
5. Explore the life cycle
It is based on Lean StartUp principles and maybe with other lifecycles.
6. Program lifecycle for a team of teams
This type organizes a workflow that assists program managers, facilitating organization.
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