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Why "Disciplined" Agile Delivery?

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Scott Ambler
Glen Little
Mark Lines
Valentin Mocanu
Daniel Gagnon
Michael Richardson
Joshua Barnes

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Categories: Discipline


Last week I was in Moscow to do a workshop on DAD.  Askhat Urazbaev, known for starting the first Agile User Group in Russia attended.  He asked some good questions, including “Why is it called the Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit?  Are you suggesting that existing agile techniques are not disciplined?”  I have heard this question a lot.  As we describe in our book, clearly existing agile methods such as Scrum and XP require discipline to be effective, in fact more discipline than traditional approaches.  However, this discipline is focused on practices used within the team to improve quality and meet the commitments made to the customer.  For example, it certainly requires discipline to do test-driven development, continuous integration, to optimize team performance, and to recognize and deal with technical debt via refactoring.

In DAD, we support all these practices, but in addition we suggest that discipline needs to extend to other areas such as:

  • giving adequate attention to forming an overall project vision before beginning Construction iterations
  • framing the project within a lifecycle
  • agreeing on appropriate lightweight milestones
  • building enterprise awareness, not just team awareness
  • adopting agile metrics and governance at the enterprise level

This week Scott and I are speaking at Agile East in Orlando and I just attended an excellent talk by Jim Highsmith regarding adaptive leadership on agile projects.  He referred to mainstream agile as “Agile 101” and addressing some of these larger issues as “Mature Agile”.  This is very similar to the concept that we are trying to get across with the term Disciplined.  Mainstream agile methods address the discipline required to deliver value via Construction iterations (or without iterations with lean).  DAD extends that discipline to the full lifecycle and the enterprise.

We have written a number of posts on this blog in the “Discipline” category that you may find interesting which discuss some of these topics in more detail.

Posted by Mark Lines on: November 07, 2012 02:37 PM | Permalink

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