Disciplined Agile



The aim of the transformation process blade is to guide and govern your efforts towards becoming a learning organization. Your transformation journey Isn’t just about adopting Disciplined Agile® (DA™), and it certainly isn’t about adopting a specific agile framework. The Disciplined Agile (DA) transformation strategy is to improve in place. As you see in Figure 1, you start where you are and identify the transformation path(s) that are right for you given your current situation. An organization that has never attempted an agile transformation, or who has had several failed attempts, should follow a different improvement path than an organization that has successfully adopted an agile framework such as Scrum or SAFe. The transformation of a business area such as Marketing, Finance, or People Management (Human Resources) requires a different approach than the transformation of a software development team. In all cases you will apply the DA tool kit to help evolve into a learning organization.


Figure 1. Improve in place to become a learning organization.

There are several reasons why organizations need a Disciplined Agile approach to transformation: 

  1. Transformations are difficult. Successful transformations require the adoption of new ways of thinking, new ways of working, and new technologies. That’s the easy part. Successful transformations also require the abandonment of some, but not all, of your current ways of thinking, your current ways of working, and your current technologies. It’s never obvious what you need to keep, what you need to drop, and what you need to adopt – and the answers evolve over time as your situation evolves.
  2. Agile framework adoption is only a good start. Assuming you choose the right framework, and you adopt it successfully, that’s still only a good start. Each agile framework addresses a certain problem space, but once that problem is solved where do you go from there? Don’t you want to continue improving, moving beyond the framework to address the new problems that you face?   
  3. Transformations require significant investment. Transformations are journeys, not destinations. It will take time, in most cases years rather than months, and effort to succeed.
  4. Your transformation strategy is context dependent. There is no one right way to transform an organization. Because your organization is unique, with your own priorities and challenges, you want a fit-for-purpose and flexible strategy that reflects your actual situations. That is why the strategy overviewed in Figure 1 shows several paths to get from where you are today to get to becoming a learning organization in the future. 
  5. One transformation strategy is not sufficient. Different parts of your organize improve at different rates, in different ways, and at different times. Context counts. The way that your project management office (PMO) transforms will differ from the way that your data management group transforms, which will differ yet again from how your marketing team will transform. And these are all just parts of your overall organizational transformation.
  6. The real goal is to become a learning organization. We cannot say this enough.  

This process blade is part of the Disciplined Agile Enterprise (DAE) layer.