Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)

Background

Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) enables teams to make simplified process decisions around incremental and iterative solution delivery. DAD builds on the many practices espoused by advocates of agile software development, including scrum, agile modeling and lean software development.   

DAD has been identified as a means of moving to the next evolution of Scrum.  DAD provides a carefully constructed mechanism that not only streamlines IT work, but most importantly, enables scaling.  DAD is a hybrid agile approach to enterprise IT solution delivery that provides a solid foundation from which to scale from.   

DAD recognizes not only the importance of networks of cross-functional teams, it also explicitly offers support for scaling key practices across complex working environments using techniques that link software development efforts into robust software delivery events.

Toolkit 

The Disciplined Agile (DA) process-decision toolkit provides straightforward guidance to help people, teams, and organizations streamline their processes in an event-sensitive manner; providing a solid foundation for business agility.  It does this by showing how the various activities such as Solution Delivery (software development), IT Operations, Enterprise Architecture, Portfolio Management, Security, Finance and Procurement work together as a cohesive team.  DA describes what these activities should address; provides a range of options for doing so; and details the tradeoffs associated with each option.  

To begin your adoption of DAD it is best to start at the beginning and step incrementally into the adoption of DAD.  

There are four areas within the DA toolkit:

  1. Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) 
  2. Disciplined DevOps 
  3. Disciplined Agile IT (DAIT)
  4. Disciplined Agile Enterprise (DAE)

This article will concentrate on first DA area (DAD) and specifically, Way of Working (WoW) 

DAD is the foundational layer of the DA toolkit.  It promotes goal-based rather than a prescriptive strategy and enables teams to choose their way of working (WoW).  Depicted below is process goals of DAD.

Figure 1. The process goals of Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)

 

The goals are broken into four areas: Inception, Construction, Transition and Ongoing.  Inception gets the team going in the right direction before any development work begins.  Construction is where the team incrementally builds the solution, Transition is the where the solution is released into Production.  And finally, Ongoing is where the team improves their skills and betters adapts themselves to the organization’s Enterprise.    

Providing choices rather than prescriptions and, by guiding people through these process goals, DAD enables teams to adopt a continuous improvement approach to solution delivery.  

Way of Working (WoW) 

When teams initially form, they need to invest in putting together their initial WoW.  This includes choosing the lifecycle that best suits their project, selecting the tools they will use, and setting up the physical work environment.  Because initiating a project tends to be very different than executing on the development of a solution, teams tend to tailor their WoW on what they are comfortable with and has been their tried and true way of doing the WoW.  However, teams can evolve their WoW based upon new learnings.  In considering your WoW the team must ask themselves the questions listed below.  This helps the team get organized in the manner the team is used to.    

  • How will we organize our physical workspace?
  • How will we communicate within the team?
  • How will we collaborate within the team?
  • What lifecycle will we follow?
  • How do we explore an existing process?
  • What processes/practices will we initially adopt?
  • How will we identify potential improvements?
  • How can we reuse existing practices/strategies?
  • How will we implement potential improvements within the team?
  • How will we capture our WoW?
  • How will we share effectives practices with others within our organization?
  • What software tools will we adopt?

The figure below depicts different ways to evolve your WoW and, as you can see there are many options:

 

Deciding upon your WoW is critical during the Inception Phase since it sets the framework you need to move to the Construction Phase.  During all the various DAD phases, the WoW is constantly reviewed, evaluated and improved upon.