Tool Support for Disciplined Agile

This page addresses a few important questions about tooling and the Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit:

JUMP TO TOPIC

    Does DA Recommend Specific Tools

    No.The Disciplined Agile (DA) framework is orthogonal to tools. What we mean by that is the principles, practices, and techniques captured by the toolkit are independent of specific tools. Obviously, some practices such as continuous integration (CI), test-driven development (TDD), and continuous delivery (CD) clearly need tooling support. But for each of those practices there are many, many tools you could possibly adopt. The DA toolkit suggests that you adopt tools in these cases, but doesn’t specify exactly which tool to adopt nor will it ever. Tooling choices should be made by your team, often influenced by organizational guidance, not by the DA toolkit.

    What (Agile) Management Tools Support DA?

    Agile/Lean management tools include products such as Atlassian Jira, Microsoft Azure, VersionOne, LeanKit, and many others. The DA toolkit supports several delivery lifecycles (an agile Scrum-based lifecycle, a lean Kanban-based lifecycle, two continuous delivery lifecycles, and more). So, tools such as Jira, Azure, VersionOne, and so on that support Scrum (or Kanban, or CD) by definition also support the corresponding Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) lifecycle based on that method.

    One issue that you may run into, particularly with the Scrum-based tools, is that they use Scrum terminology such as Sprint instead of Iteration. In these cases you have two choices — either choose to use Sprint instead of Iteration within your team (this is a common choice) or tailor the tool to use iteration. With some tools, such as VersionOne, this is very easy to do. Other tools, currently Jira for example, their architecture may not be sufficiently flexible to allow such an easy tailoring.

    What Development Tools Support DA?

    The Construction goals of Produce a Potentially Consumable Solution and Accelerate Value Delivery support a wide range of technical practices. Granted, technical practices are supported by many other goals, but the greatest concentration is in these two goals. The point is that because DA supports many technical practices that are common to agile — such as continuous integration (CI), test-driven development (TDD), automated regression testing, and many others — that in effect DA is supported by a host of development tools.

    Possible development tool categories include, but are not limited to:

    • Acceptance testing
    • Build management
    • Code analysis (dynamic or static)
    • Code review
    • Configuration management (CM)
    • Continuous integration (CI)
    • Dashboards
    • Deployment
    • Modeling
    • Schema analysis
    • Test data management
    • Test planning and management
    • Unit/developer testing
    • User interface (UI) testing

    Other tool categories include:

    • Collaboration tools
    • Documentation
    • Estimating
    • Planning

    What Process-Oriented Tools Explicitly Support DA

    This list may not be complete. We will continue to update this page with additional tools as we learn about them.

    • Agility Health Radar: We’ve been working with Agility Health Radar to develop support for Disciplined Agile Delivery, Disciplined Agile IT (DAIT), and Disciplined Agile Enterprise (DAE) assessments. See a video with Scott Ambler describing what the DAD radar addresses.
    • Blueprint: Blueprint is an agile requirements tool for teams working at scale (particularly geographically distributed teams, teams in regulatory environments, or teams facing a complex domain). BUT, it does have explicit support for DA process definition.
    • The Enterprise Transformation Advisor: The Enterprise Transformation Advisor is the industries’ only platform that supports transitioning to modern practice at enterprise scale, with innovative capability for Self-Organization, Inspect & Adapt and Value Stream Governance.
    • IBM Rational Method Composer (RMC): A web-based process definition and sharing tool. Supports the initial version of DAD, published about a year before the DAD book (which we consider to be the v1.o baseline). So call it DAD v0.5.
    • MethodPark Stages: A web-based process definition and sharing tool. This list may not be complete.

    We will continue to update this page with additional tools as we learn about them.

    Does Scale Affect Tooling Choices?

    Yes. The following diagram summarizes the six scaling factors of tactical agility at scale. When a team faces one or more of these scaling factors they generally need more sophisticated tooling to help them do so. The following table explores how each scaling factor may affect your tooling choices. It is assumed that fundamental tools such as developer IDEs, continuous integration (CI), configuration management (CM), automated testing, and so on have been adopted by the team.

    Spider diagram - Tactical Scaling

     

    Scaling Factor Possible Tooling Needs
    Team size
    • Team size is typically driven by domain complexity and technical complexity, so please refer to those factors
    Geographic distribution
    • Collaboration tools (email, chat, video conferencing, etc.) will be required
    • Software-based management tools (e.g. Jira, VersionOne, Trello) required to support dispersed workers or teams
    Organizational distribution
    • Code and schema analysis tools should be added to CI strategy to ensure quality of the work being performed by external organizations or staff
    Compliance
    • Tools that log what developers do may be needed
    • Documentation management tools (e.g. wikis, word processors) required to support regulatory documentation needs
    • Automated tests to support executable specifications
    • Requirements management/modelling tools that support traceability
    • Software-based management tools that support traceability
    • Reports to generate traceability matrices from executable specifications, management tools, and modelling tools (as appropriate)
    Domain complexity
    • Requirements management/modelling tools
    • Automated regression testing tools
    Technical complexity
    • Architecture/design modelling tools
    • Automated regression testing tools