A Hybrid Tool Kit

The PMI Disciplined Agile (DA) tool kit is a hybrid that builds upon the solid foundation of other methods and software process frameworks. DA adopts practices and strategies from existing sources and provides advice for when and how to apply them together. In one sense sources such as Scrum, Kanban, PMBOK® Guide, and more provide the process bricks and DA the mortar to fit the bricks together effectively.

One of the great advantages of agile and lean is the wealth of practices, techniques, and strategies available to you. This is also one of its greatest challenges because without something like the DA tool kit it’s difficult to know what to choose and how to fit them together. In many ways Disciplined Agile (DA) does the “heavy process lifting” for you in that it shows how all of these great ideas fit together, enabling you to get on with delighting your customers. 

Why do we do this? Because all practices, all strategies, are contextual in nature. There are no “best practices.” Instead, every practice makes sense in some situations but not others. There are benefits to following a practice but there are also drawbacks. DA surfaces the multitude of practices/strategies available to you, it makes the trade-offs of them explicit so that you can choose practices that are most likely going to work for you in the situation that you face. This in turn enables you to choose a way of working (WoW) that is best for you, and then evolve that WoW via guided continuous improvement (GCI) as your situation evolves.

Some of the Sources for Disciplined Agile

Diagram representing the Disciplined Agile hybrid toolkit

DA adopts strategies from the following sources:

  • DevOps. The DevOps movement has identified a collection of strategies for streamlining software development and operations, thereby improving quality, customer service, and time to market.
  • Scrum. The Scrum framework focuses on team leadership and requirements change management. Scrum captures some really great ideas that have become commonly adopted by agile teams.
  • Extreme Programming (XP). XP is an agile method that focuses primarily on hard-core software development practices.
  • Scale Agile Framework (SAFe®). SAFe captures agile and lean strategies for large-scale agile programs.
  • PMBOK®Guide. The PMBOK Guide captures proven project management practices.
  • Spotify. The Spotify framework describes several teaming and organizational strategies for organizations new to agile ways of working.
  • Kanban. Kanban is a method for managing knowledge work with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery while not overloading the team members. In Kanban the process, from definition of a task to its delivery to the customer, is visualized and team members pull work from a queue or work item pool.
  • Agile Modeling (AM). AM is a practice-based methodology for effective modeling and documentation. AM was purposely architected to be a source of strategies which can be tailored into other base processes.
  • Agile Data. The Agile Data (AD) method defines a collection of strategies that professionals can apply when working with and evolving sources of data.
  • Unified Process (UP). The UP is an iterative and incremental process framework. The DA tool kit adopts and enhances several critical governance strategies from the UP.
  • Traditional. There are many great ideas coming from traditional, sometimes called serial or even “predictive,” sources that have been contextualized in the DA tool kit.
  • Other sources. DA adopts techniques and practices from other sources such as Dynamic System Development Method (DSDM), Feature Driven Development (FDD), Evo, Crystal Clear. We’ve also adopted leaned-out strategies from the ITIL, COBiT, TOGAF, and DAMA frameworks (to name a few) to flesh out portions of DA. 

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