Boosting commercial success, improving the internal process, and achieving business agility are all accomplished by taking the help of Disciplined Agile. If you have heard of DA discussed along with other methodologies like Kanban, Scrum, and more and are unsure of what it means, then this guide is for you. 

Although new teams might find it hard to work with DA, if you have a team that is familiar with the Agile methodology, then DA will provide you with the flexibility your team needs.

What Is Disciplined Agile?

DA is a project management toolkit that uses a hybrid approach to respond to the context and guide the team. It helps in identifying the correct tools for a project and the process to be undertaken, best suited for it. The hybrid approach comes from picking out the best elements of each of hundreds of other management methodologies, such as Lean, Scrum, Agile, and Kanban, and working with them. 

Why Use Disciplined Agile?

DA is a people-first toolkit that understands that each team is unique and that the entire framework and process will have value based on the context. The availability of hundreds of agile practices makes this project management method efficient. It is a toolkit that provides correct processes that fit any given challenge. Whether the entire business embraces an agile framework or engages in disciplined DevOps, this method will help you pick the right step for the team. 

Better project solutions are achieved through process diagrams that visualize the entire process, allowing the team to identify a path that best fits the challenge.

Benefits of DA

Commercial performance has been statistically proven to increase by 237% if the company has a DA culture. Other qualitative benefits include:

Increased Competitiveness

DA helps tick all the boxes to ensure that your customers are happy. Since your products and services satisfy the customers, their loyalty will not change. Thus, competitor businesses will not be able to take them away from you. It establishes and improves your business. 

More Team Engagement

This technique allows and works on flexibility rather than strict processes, which helps your team decide the optimum way of work for them, increasing efficiency. Furthermore, when the employees are accountable and flexible, it leads to higher engagement. 

Adapts to Any Type of Team

DA can be applied to any aspect of the organization since, unlike traditional agile, which is a tool used by product owners or project managers, DA is flexible and can mold itself to any challenge posed by any team, such as HR, marketing, or sales.

8 Principles Of DA

  1. Delight customers: External customers and internal customers should be more than satisfied, their expectations fulfilled, and a sense of delight should follow.
  2. Be awesome: The mark of an excellent company is maintaining a great environment and working with awesome teammates who strive to do better, be better, and produce better.  
  3. Context matters: This principle is based on the idea that the given context plays a vital role in deciding the appropriate method while having the space to develop those methods across other various contexts. It recognizes the uniqueness of the process and the teams. 
  4. Be pragmatic: DA should use the strategy that is the most effective and makes the most sense. It could be a traditional method, lean, or even agile. 
  5. The choice is good: When a team has options and choices at its disposal, they have the ability to understand the trade-offs related to each option. This principle is based on the contextual and pragmatic philosophies of DA.
  6. Optimize flow: The process should have the flow-optimized in a way that responds effectively to the needs of the customer. 
  7. Organize around products and services: The strategies should be organized around the services and products to offer the best and engage in project portfolio management to delight their customers genuinely. 
  8. Enterprise awareness: Every team should prioritize the organization’s best interest while working to increase enterprise awareness.  

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What Are the Framework’s Strengths and Weaknesses?

Following are the strengths and weaknesses of the framework that every enterprise and project manager must understand: 

DA’s Strengths

  • Its hybrid approach uses hundreds of methodologies and picks the best elements of each to work.
  • It molds itself to the unique needs of each team, allowing them to follow this method effectively.

DA’s Weaknesses

  • Since it doesn’t give strict guidance, it is not ideal for companies that might be new to agile and its philosophy.
  • Due to the lack of guidance, organizations that are new to agile might require professional consultants to help implement the DA framework. 

Should You Use Disciplined Agile?

If the team is highly-experienced and familiar with agile, then DA will provide it with the flexibility it needs. But, DA might be too costly and complicated for teams that are new to the agile approach.

DA Mindset

Through guidelines, promises and principles, the DA mindset is adopted. Each of the three elements serves a purpose in the mindset.

Principles

The eight principles mentioned above are based on lean and flow concepts to establish a philosophical foundation for organizational agility.

Promises

For effective professional collaboration, these promises are made among team members, stakeholders, and others in the organization:

  • Keep workloads within the capacity
  • Collaborate proactively
  • Accelerate value realization
  • Make all work and workflow visible
  • Improve predictability
  • Improve continuously
  • Create psychological safety and embrace diversity

Guidelines

For an effective and improved way of working, these guidelines are followed.

  • Validate learnings
  • Adopt measures to improve outcomes
  • Apply design thinking
  • Change culture by improving the system
  • Create effective environments that foster joy
  • Create semi-autonomous, self-organizing teams
  • Leverage and enhance organizational assets
  • Attend to relationships through the value stream

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Several online platforms provide templates for DA that suit different agile organizational approaches. Some of the commonly available templates are as follows:

Scrum Sprint Planning Template

A Scrum Sprint Planning Template helps the team focus on one task while the manager easily plans and tracks each sprint precisely. In addition, its built-in automation alerts managers whenever a teammate hits a roadblock, letting them be available when needed.

Product Roadmap Template

DA is about creating delightful products. With this Product Roadmap Template, project managers have a high-level overview of their product development to ensure their team follows the right path. From planning and implementation to launch and monitoring, it helps you keep tabs on your product. And with integrated Gantt charts, you can follow your product’s progress visually.

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FAQs 

1. What’s the difference between agile and disciplined agile?

Agile is a project management technique that focuses on adaptation in the face of change. Disciplined Agile expands on the ideas underlying agile to create a toolset that uses Agile techniques as well as other methods to provide direction according to the context in which the team is working. The principles, guidelines, and promises are intended to foster agility throughout the organization.

2. What does it mean for Disciplined Agile teams to be awesome?

A project manager should enable the team to be awesome by providing individual members with sufficient resources and the authority required to do their jobs, building a safe, professional environment and work culture, and motivating the team members to excel. By following these principles, the team would be genuinely fantastic by producing better, doing better, and being better.

3. What is a Disciplined Agile Scrum Master?

Disciplined Agile, like the Agile method, depends on Scrum Masters to assist lead projects. The Scrum Master facilitates DA and Scrum to the members of the team and the organization by ensuring that everyone follows the principles and guidelines. Scrum Masters adhere to rigorous agile principles and promote possibilities for context-appropriate changes.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
  • *According to Simplilearn survey conducted and subject to terms & conditions with Ernst & Young LLP (EY) as Process Advisors