Disciplined Agile

Promise: Make All Work and Workflow Visible

Disciplined Agile® (DA) teams—and individual team members—make all their work and how they are working visible to others. This is often referred to as “radical transparency” and the idea is that we should be open and honest with others. Not everyone is comfortable with this.

Organizations with traditional methods have a lot of watermelon projects—green on the outside and red on the inside—by which we mean that they claim to be doing well even though they’re really in trouble. Transparency is critical for both supporting effective governance and for enabling collaboration as people can see what others are currently working on.

Disciplined agile teams will often make their work visible at both the individual level as well as the team level. It is critical to focus on our work in process, which is more than the work in progress. Work in progress is what we are currently working on. Work in process is our work in progress plus any work that is queued up waiting for us to get to it. Disciplined agilists focus on work in process as a result.

Disciplined teams make their workflow visible, and thus have explicit workflow policies so that everyone knows how everyone else is working. This supports collaboration because people have agreements as to how they are going to work together. It also supports process improvement because it enables us to understand what is happening and thereby increases the chance that we can detect where we have potential issues. It is important that we are both agnostic and pragmatic in the way that we work, as we want to do the best that we can in the context that we face.