Recently, I have been studying Disciplined Agile (DA) quite a bit. Despite having implemented DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery) over 10 years ago, I was intrigued by how this approach has evolved over this period of time. What I discovered was surprising and eye-opening on a number of levels. I would like to share some of these discoveries with you in this brief article so that you can decide for yourself whether DA is worth exploring.
Discovery #1 – You CAN customize your process!
When I work with Agile teams, most teams assume that they must adopt Scrum by default. While this approach may work for many teams, it may actually not be the right fit for the situation. DA encourages you to intelligently consider your context and then think through what is practical. Do NOT assume Scrum is the perfect framework for you, because there are other options that may be superior.
Discovery #2 – Think about your goals BEFORE taking action
This sounds like common sense, but most Agile teams I worked with tend to skip this step – thinking about the desired end state/vision seems practical but it is often forgotten. Teams often jump right into the work and lose sight of the bigger picture, which is risky. DA encourages the team to clearly identify goals and objectives, then offers a collection of possible actions to take in order to meet those goals. No other framework that I have studied over the past 10 years offers this unique outlook, which is refreshing.
Discovery #3 – Chosen approach does not need to stay static; it can and should evolve
If your team has mastered Scrum, do they feel somewhat stagnant? This is a common situation to encounter for teams that have matured through the stages of forming, storming, norming and performing; they have accomplished a lot and may feel that there is not much more they can improve. This sense of complacency is potentially dangerous because it could lead to degradation of focus and performance. One solution is to keep an open mind about the team approach, and not assume that Scrum is all that is there; explore other methods that could accelerate the team’s ability to continue to deliver value even as they mature. Lean/Kanban may be a logical progression for your team if they have proven the ability to do build high-quality products or solutions. DA offers a structured approach to evolve your team’s way of working, which may be a powerful tool to leverage.
In closing, Disciplined Agile is not a new idea, but has evolved into a flexible toolkit that may be the fuel that may accelerate your team. If you embrace continuous innovation, take a closer look!