Disciplined Agile

The Dilemma We’re In

Enstein“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Most people need a well-defined starting point

The typical approach used is for frameworks to provide a well-defined start, suggest that the adopters struggle with it until they learn the basics and then modify it as needed. But this approach ignores several factors:

  1. Pre-set starting point is not likely to be well suited to the organization because there is no “one-size fits all” approach.
  2. The provided starting approach is not suited to the real challenges people are facing and they never get to a basic competency the lack of fit for purpose can make it hard to do the right thing later
  3. The approach of starting with a framework also means spending a lot of time learning the framework. This makes things even worse because there is then not enough time to teach key practices up front.

Solution: Create a starting point for your organization based on its needs. Focus on practices needed with as little training in the framework as possible.

Contextually based prescriptions

A contextually based prescription is where an approach is created that fits the organization at hand. DA FLEX provides playbooks tailored for different sets of challenges plaguing organizations. There is also a generic playbook that can be used if the DA VSC wants to create their own.

There is no point in having those new to a method starting in an inappropriate place and then have to reinvent the wheel.


There needs to be a method to make predictions

Software development is part of a complex system. This precludes us from make totally accurate predictions when we suggest changes. Making changes is always an inexact science.  Instructions are misunderstood, information is inaccurate and plans do go as expected. In addition to this, there are often relationships between different actions in an organization that are not seen or won’t behave we expect.

There are patterns of behavior in complex systems.


And we can often make reasonably accurate predictions that following certain rules will work better than ignoring them.


Also, while there may not be ‘micro-predictability’ (i.e., which color the ball will land on), we can often be pretty sure of the ‘macro-predictability’ present (i.e., more money is staying at the table).


Solution: Recognize patterns exist, attend to relationships in the system and check on what happens.


We need to avoid reinventing the wheel

But there are so many options we want to avoid making things complicated.

Solution: Organize options in pattern groups which contains patterns, or ways to solve problems based on particular context. This makes for easy navigation.


instead of starting with something simple but which will require creating something new, start with something simple that can be extended.

opened toolbox