This page overviews the book An Executive’s Guide to Disciplined Agile: Winning the Race to Business Agility published by Disciplined Agile Consortium in July 2017. This page is organized into the following topics:
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The agile community has figured out how to build and then continually improve very high-performance software development teams. This is akin to creating a race car engine and then evolving it to get more power, better fuel efficiency, and greater speed. Sadly in many cases we take these great engines, put them into an organizational tractor, and then complain that we’re not winning the race. What we need to do is take our great race car engines (our development teams), put them into a race car (a DevOps ecosystem), have a great pit crew and driver (an effective IT organization), and then provide somewhere to race (an organization that can leverage IT to make money). That’s what this book is all about – Moving from optimizing team performance to optimizing the entire enterprise.
Business agility – being an adaptive, lean, responsive, and learning organization – is the race that enterprises need to win today. Yet there is no quick fix, no silver bullet, to attain business agility. This is a multi-year journey requiring hard work, experimentation, and most importantly a willingness to improve. The Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit lowers risks and provides a path to accelerate your journey to business agility. The framework is unique in that it is the only one that puts all the pieces together into a cohesive enterprise roadmap for business agility transformation.
This book begins with an overview of the challenges and opportunities that organizations face. We then describe seven principles that provide the underpinnings of the Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit. Then the book works through Disciplined Agile Delivery (how to build a world-class engine), Disciplined DevOps (the race car), Disciplined Agile IT (the race car and its team), and what it means to be a Disciplined Agile Enterprise (the racing business). The book ends with a plan for starting with an Agile transformation and then evolving into a long-term continuous improvement strategy.
Do you have the discipline it takes to win the race to business agility?
Why You Need to Read This Book
There are three fundamental forces in the marketplace today:
1. Every business is a software business
We used to say that software is eating the world, but the fact is that for business software is the world. Tesla’s competitive value isn’t electric cars, instead it’s Tesla’s ability to upgrade and enhance those cars through software. Starbucks now competes on software – people pay and now even order via their phones, and they’re being motivated to buy more to earn loyalty stars. Gone are the days where IT could be treated like a utility, one that more often than not was outsourced in the belief that you needed to focus on your core competencies and IT didn’t make it onto that list. These days being competent at IT is mere table stakes at best, you need to excel at IT if you hope to become an industry leader.
2. Every industry is being disrupted
When we start working with a new customer one of the first questions we ask is “What keeps you up at night?” Interestingly, it’s been over two years since anyone told us they were afraid of their traditional competitors. Everyone tells us they’re afraid of disruptors, new competitors entering their market space using technologies in new ways. Financial firms fear disruption by new Fintech competitors. Retailers are being disrupted by online shopping with malls at risk of being shuttered and 65-year old Sears Canada declaring creditor protection in June 2017. Healthcare is being disrupted by artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing. It is clear that your organization needs to make a hard decision very soon – Do you want to be the disruptor or the disrupted?
3. Agile firms dominate
Becoming an agile business – an adaptive, responsive, and learning organization – is your true goal. Business agility requires true agility across all of your organization, not just software development, not just DevOps, and not just IT. There isn’t a single industry now that either isn’t dominated by agile businesses or isn’t under threat of disruption by new agile competitors. Not one.
Book Table of Contents
Section 1: Introduction
This chapter overviews critical concepts such as what is the Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit, the racing car metaphor for business agility, what it means to move from scaling agile to true enterprise agile, value stream, complex adaptive systems (CASs), the false promise of bodies of knowledge (BoKs), improvement strategies, and what is business agility.
Section 2: Being Disciplined
This chapter works through what it means to be disciplined and the seven principles behind the DA toolkit: Delight Customers, Be Awesome, Pragmatism, Context Counts, Choice is Good, Optimize Flow, and Enterprise Awareness.
Section 3: Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)
DAD describes a context-sensitive, lightweight and robust approach to solution delivery from beginning to end – DAD takes the mystery out of how agile software development works in practice in enterprise-class settings.
Section 4: Disciplined DevOps
This is the streamlining of IT solution development and IT operations activities, and supporting enterprise-IT activities, to provide more effective outcomes to an organization.
Section 5: Disciplined Agile IT (DAIT)
This is a collaborative, learning-oriented, and adaptive approach to the delivery of IT services and products that focuses on supporting your overall organization in value creation and delivery.
Section 6: Disciplined Agile Enterprise
Such an organization is able to sense and respond swiftly to changes in the marketplace. It does this through an organizational culture and structure that facilitates change within the context of the situation that it faces. Such organizations require a learning mindset in the mainstream business and underlying lean and agile processes to drive innovation.
Section 7: A Disciplined Approach to Agile Transformations
This chapter works through fundamental strategies for initiating and running an agile transformation program within your organization. We show how strategies such as training, coaching, leadership and management support, a Lean Change approach, and many more strategies can be applied effectively.
Section 8: From Transformation to Continuous Improvement
The true strategy is to become a learning organization. This chapter works through continuous improvement strategies and shows how your organization can become self-sufficient on your learning journey.
Section 9: In Conclusion
Just a quick wrap up of the book and a few important observations for you to consider.
Who Should Read It
We’ve written this book for three groups of people:
1. Business leaders
This book provides a vision for the organizations behaviors required to succeed in today’s marketplace. Although a significant focus is on IT, we must also streamline business operations, governance, procurement, human resources (HR), and other aspects of your organization to be competitive.
2. IT leaders
For these people, this book answers fundamental questions such as: How can we streamline all of IT? How does it all fit together? How can agile and lean strategies be applied to all aspects of IT, not just software development? How do we deal with other complexities such as compliance, vendor management, budgeting, and offshoring? How can we improve each aspect of IT in parallel yet still collaborate effectively?
3. Big-picture agilists
This is anyone with the desire to understand how agile truly works in enterprise-class settings, who recognize that we need to look beyond agile software development if we’re going to succeed in today’s marketplace.
This book is for people with the courage to look at the bigger picture, because frankly the big picture tends to be very ugly in practice. It’s for people willing to consider all aspects of their organization and who realize that IT is a key enabler of business agility. It’s for people who realize that context counts, that everyone faces a unique situation and will be agile in their own unique way, that one process does not fit all. It’s for people who realize that, although they are in a unique situation, others have faced similar situations before and have figured out a variety of strategies that you can adopt and tailor – you can reuse the process learnings of others and thereby invest your energies into adding critical business value to your organization.