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The Disciplined Agile (DA) process-decision toolkit provides context-specific guidance to help you to not only fail less but find success earlier. As a goal-driven method, DA provides a solid foundation for business agility so people, teams, and organizations can all benefit from straightforward guidance to streamline their processes. 

Our fundamental advice is to start where you are, do the best you can—given the situation that you face—and always try to get better. Use this page to help identify where you are today and consider this a resource for using DA going forward.

Get a Quick Primer on Disciplined Agile

Disciplined Agile (DA) is very much a toolkit, not a framework. DA is focused on the decisions you need to consider, the options available to you, and the tradeoffs associated with these options. 

Within any given team you can use DA to identify the goals and the activities you should address so you can make context-specific choices that are the best for your situation. In practice DA considers four views:

  1. Mindset. DA builds on the foundations of agile and lean to address enterprise realities.
  2. People. DA considers the roles, responsibilities, and team structures you have in place.
  3. Flow. DA provides a framework for the dynamic aspects of processes via lifecycle diagrams and workflow diagrams.
  4. Practices. DA outlines the techniques that move your project forward, using goal diagrams with a high-level picklist of practices.

Watch Disciplined Agile in a Nutshell to get a better sense of what we mean.

To learn more, we recommend you start with this thorough Intro to Disciplined Agile.

Learn About the Principles of Disciplined Agile

There are seven primary principles behind the Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit. These are based on the Disciplined Agile Manifesto, which is an evolution of the original Manifesto for Agile Software written in 2001. We’ve continued to evolve our Manifesto to not only reflect our learnings, but also reflect the lean philosophy of a continuous, just-in-time, experimental, and emergent approach to everything we do.

For an in-depth but highly consumable overview of the toolkit and its guiding principles, you can also read our book, An Executive’s Guide to Disciplined Agile.

Understand the Different Levels of the Disciplined Agile Toolkit

There are multiple levels in the DA toolkit. The first level is Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD), a people-first, learning-oriented hybrid agile approach to IT solution delivery. DAD provides a more cohesive approach to agile solution delivery and lays the foundation for tactically scaling agile.

The next level, Disciplined DevOps, streamlines the activities of IT solution development (Dev) and IT operations (ops). Since there is not a concrete definition of DevOps within the industry, we recommend that you explore the various DevOps strategies and practices available to you. This is a good place to start.

The third level in the DA toolkit is Disciplined Agile IT (DAIT). DAIT addresses how to apply agile and lean strategies to all aspects of Information Technology (IT) processes. It encompasses Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) and Disciplined DevOps.

The top, and final, level of the DA toolkit is Disciplined Agile Enterprise (DAE). Organizations that have achieved DAE can sense and respond swiftly to changes in the marketplace. For many, getting to this level requires a cultural and structural shift.

Explore the Key Aspects of Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)

Since DAD is the foundational level of the DA toolkit, it’s worth taking a deep dive into the articles to gain a comprehensive understanding of the key aspects of DAD in detail:

  • Process Goals: Process goals have one or more decision points for you to consider addressing, with most goals having four or five decision points. Each decision point is then addressed by two or more techniques/practices.
  • Roles on Disciplined Agile Delivery Teams: The DA toolkit suggests a robust set of roles for agile solution delivery which fit in two types of roles: primary or supporting.
  • Full Delivery Lifecycles: DAD supports several full delivery lifecycles, understanding that solution delivery teams face different situations, so one lifecycle will not fit all.
  • Enterprise Awareness: One of the key principles behind DA, the observation is that DA teams work within your organization’s enterprise ecosystem. Enterprise awareness recognizes that individuals and teams should within and for your organization.
  • Consumable Solutions: DAD takes a mature focus on producing a solution, not just producing software.
  • A Hybrid Toolkit: DA adopts practices and strategies from existing sources and provides advice for when and how to apply them together, serving as a hybrid that allows flexibility to adopt the strategy that fits the project.
  • Governing Agile Teams: DA governance strategies are baked right into the toolkit. Governance establishes chains of responsibil­ity, authority, and communication in support of the overall enterprise’s goals and strategy.

Apply Disciplined Agile at Scale

Once you have a handle on DA you may be ready to apply it at scale. The Software Development Context Framework (SDCF)—which is inclusive of people, process, and tools—defines how to select and tailor a situation-dependent strategy for software development.