Principles

The Disciplined Agile Mindset

The principles of the Disciplined Agile (DA) mindset provide a philosophical foundation for business agility. They are based on both lean and flow concepts. These principles are:

  1. Delight customers. We need to go beyond satisfying our customers' needs, beyond meeting their expectations and strive to delight them. If we don't then someone else will delight them and steal our customers away from us. This applies to both external customers as well as internal customers.

  2. Be awesome. We should always strive to be the best that we can and to always get better. Who wouldn't want to work with awesome people, on an awesome team for an awesome organization?

  3. Context counts. Every person, every team, every organization is unique.  We face unique situations that evolve over time. The implication is that we must choose our way of working (WoW) to reflect the context that we face, and then evolve our WoW as the situation evolves.

  4. Be pragmatic. Our aim isn't to be agile, it's to be as effective as we can be and to improve from there.  To do this we need to be pragmatic and adopt agile, lean, or even traditional strategies when they make the most sense for our context. In the past, we called this principle “Pragmatism.”

  5. Choice is good. To choose our WoW in a context-driven, pragmatic manner we need to select the best-fit technique given our situation. Having choices, and knowing the trade-offs associated with those choices, is critical to choosing our WoW that is the best fit for our context.

  6. Optimize flow. We want to optimize flow across the value stream that we are part of, and better yet across our organization, and not just locally optimize our WoW within our team. Sometimes this will be a bit inconvenient for us, but overall we will be able to more effectively respond to our customers.

  7. Organize around products/services (new). To delight our customers we need to organize ourselves around producing the offerings, the products and services, that they need. We are in effect organizing around value streams because value streams produce value for customers, both external and internal, in the form of products and services. We chose to say organize around products/services, rather than offerings or value streams, as we felt this was more explicit.

  8. Enterprise awareness. Disciplined agilists look beyond the needs of their team to take the long-term needs of their organization into account. They adopt, and sometimes tailor, organizational guidance. They follow and provide feedback too, organizational roadmaps.  The leverage, and sometimes enhance existing organizational assets. In short, they do what's best for the organization and not just what's convenient for them.