Disciplined Agile

Guideline: Leverage and Enhance Organizational Assets

Our organization has many assets—information systems, information sources, tools, templates, procedures, learnings, and other things—that our team could adopt to improve our effectiveness. We may not only choose to adopt these assets, we may also find that we can improve them to make them better for us as well as other teams that also choose to work with these assets. This guideline is important for several reasons:

  1. A lot of good work has been done before. There is a wide range of assets within our organization that our team can leverage. Sometimes we will discover that we need to first evolve the existing asset so that it meets our needs, which often proves faster and less expensive than building it from scratch.
  2. A lot of good work continues around us. Our organization is a network of semi-autonomous, self-organizing teams. We can work with and learn from these teams, proactively collaborating with them, thereby accelerating value realization. The enterprise architecture team can help point us in the right direction and we can help them learn how well their strategies work when applied in practice. In The Age of Agile (2018) Stephen Denning stresses the need for the business operations side of our organization, such as vendor management, finance, and people management, to support the teams executing the value streams of our organization. We must work and learn together in an enterprise-aware manner if we are to delight our customers.
  3. We can reduce overall technical debt. The unfortunate reality is that many organizations struggle under significant technical debt loads, as we discussed earlier. By choosing to reuse existing assets, and investing in paying down some of the technical debt that we run into when doing so, we’ll slowly dig our way out of the technical debt trap that we find ourselves in.
  4. We can provide greater value quicker. Increased reuse enables us to focus on implementing new functionality to delight our customers instead of just reinventing what we’re already offering them. By paying down technical debt, we increase the underlying quality of the infrastructure upon which we’re building, enabling us to deliver new functionality faster over time.
  5. We can support others. Just like our team collaborates with and learns from other teams, so do those other teams collaborate and learn from us. At the organizational level, we can enhance this through the creation of centers of excellence (CoEs) and communities of practice (CoPs) to capture and share learnings across the organization.