Disciplined Agile

Evolve Way of Working (WoW)

The Evolve Way of Working (WoW) process goal provides options for identifying and evolving how we will work together as a team. This goal is highly related to the Continuous Improvement process blade – Where Evolve WoW is focused at the team level, Continuous Improvement is focused on sharing potential improvements across teams. To be effective, we need to consider several important questions:

  • How will we organize our physical work space?
  • How will we communicate within the team?
  • How will we collaborate within the team?
  • What lifecycle will we follow?
  • How do we explore an existing process?
  • What processes/practices will we initially adopt?
  • How will we identify potential improvements?
  • How can we reuse existing practices/strategies?
  • How will we implement potential improvements within the team?
  • How will we capture our WoW?
  • How will we share effective practices with others within our organization?
  • What digital/software tools will we adopt?
Copyright Project Management Institute All Rights Reserved Evolve Way of Working (WoW) v5.4 Physical Environment Dedicated workroom Caves and commons Agile Modeling/planning (Obeya) room Near-located cubicles Near-located offices Far-located members Open work area Choose Communication Styles Face to face around a shared sketching environment Face to face conversation Videoconferencing Phone conversations Group chat (online) Lightweight documentation Email Detailed documentation Choose Collaboration Styles Opportunistic nonsolo work Regular pairing Meetings/working sessions Individual work Select Life Cycle Agile Citizen development Citizen development (assisted) Continuous Delivery: Lean Continuous Delivery: Agile Exploratory Lean LeSS life cycle Nexus life cycle Program SAFe Scrum life cycle Serial Visualize Existing Process Value stream map Kanban board Process model Tailor Initial Process Process-tailoring workshop Adopt organizational suggestions Adopt Disciplined Agile (DA) suggestions Agile/lean method Identify Potential Improvements Value stream mapping Measure existing WoW Retrospectives Process modeling Structured survey Ad hoc process improvement Project postmortem Reuse Known Strategies Idea from Disciplined Agile (DA) tool kit Local core practice Core agile practice/best practice Prescriptive method/framework Implement Potential Improvements Guided continuous improvement (GCI) Controlled experiment Measured improvement Periodic improvement Capture WoW Detailed team process Working agreement (external) Working agreement (internal) Share Improvements With Others Open spaces Hackathons Lean coffee sessions Practitioner presentation Discussion forums Capture/document improvement Write blog/article Word of mouth Organize Tool Environment Acceptance test Code analysis Configuration management Continuous deployment (CD) Continuous integration (CI) Dashboard Integrated development environment (IDE) Group chat Operational monitoring Sketching surface Task board Unit testing Wiki Work item (backlog) management

Figure 1. The Evolve WoW process goal diagram (click to enlarge).

You can use the DA Browser to learn more about the options in the goal diagram of Figure 1. 

Why This is Important

There are several reasons why this goal is important:

  1. Every team is unique and faces a unique situation. People are unique, therefor teams are also unique. Every team faces a unique configuration of complexity factors including team size, geographic distribution, technical complexity, regulatory compliance, and other issues. The implication is that a team needs to tailor their WoW to address the situation that it faces.
  2. We are constantly learning. As individuals we learn every day—maybe we learn a new skill, something about the problem we face, something about how our colleagues work, something about our technical or organizational environment, or something else. These learnings will often motivate us to evolve the way that we work.
  3. The other teams we collaborate with are evolving. Very few agile teams are “whole” in practice. They must collaborate with others to achieve their mission. Because these other teams are evolving their WoW over time the implication is that the way that they interact with us will evolve too, something that we may be able to learn from.
  4. Our environment is constantly evolving. Our external environment is constantly changing, with our competitors evolving their offerings, the various levels of government introducing new legislation (including regulations that we need to comply with), new and evolving technical offerings in the marketplace, and world events in general. Our internal environment also evolves, with people joining and leaving our organization, our organizational structure evolving, and our IT ecosystem evolving as other teams release their solutions into production. We may need to evolve our WoW to reflect these changes.
  5. The team needs somewhere to work. Apart from a few teams where everyone is dispersed and working from home, we will need to provide space for some or all of our team members.
  6. The team needs sufficient tooling. The team needs access to physical and digital tools so we can do our work.
  7. These strategies are applicable to a wide range of teams, not just solution delivery teams. We’ve applied these strategies with leadership teams, marketing teams, finance teams, enterprise architecture teams, data management teams, and many others. Having said that, the focus of this book is on how solution delivery teams can choose their WoW. Although this process goal applies to all those teams, the rest of the goals within the book may not. Each of these domains (marketing, leadership, etc.) requires domain-specific advice. 

Key Points

  • Teams should choose their WoW and then evolve it as their situation evolves and as they learn.
  • The DA tool kit enables teams to take a guided continuous improvement (GCI) approach, increasing their rate of process improvement.
  • Although a team faces a unique situation, they can still apply known strategies and practices. They do not need to invent new strategies from scratch.