Project Management Institute

What Is Disciplined Agile?

True business agility comes from freedom, not frameworks. We help you learn about your options and guide you to your best next step.

The best way of working for your team is specific to your team. Yet, you stick to a widely used framework like Scrum, or SAFe®, or one of the growing number of agile approaches out there. Sure, a framework can help, but the smartest path forward often borrows thinking from several.

Agile frameworks can be a good starting point, but they’re keeping many organizations from the improvement they expect. This is because business agility comes from freedom, not frameworks. And when you pair freedom to choose from the best of agile, lean, and traditional sources with the guidance to make better choices, you get Disciplined Agile — a hybrid tool kit that harnesses hundreds of agile practices to guide you to the best way of working for your team or organization.

"We partner better, operate with agility and exceed the industry demand to gain competitive advantages."

- Franklin Templeton Investments, using Disciplined Agile since 2015

The Disciplined Agile (DA) tool kit is architected into four views and four layers. The four views are:

  1. Mindset. The DA mindset builds on the foundations of agile and lean to address enterprise realities. This mindset is created and informed by eight core agile principles that guide organizations to be more adaptable and effective, seven promises that we make to ourselves and the people we work with, and eight guidelines that enable us to fulfill these promises.
  2. People. The Disciplined Agile tool kit gives any person one or more roles to help create a truly adaptable team. There isn't a one-to-one match between traditional roles and Disciplined Agile roles - you are free to choose your own way of working (WoW). The strategy continues to evolve, and people must do the same as well. Learn more about the people and Disciplined Agile roles.
  3. Flow. The Disciplined Agile tool kit provides a streamlined process for your business agility so you can adopt your process in a context-sensitive manner. Each organization is unique, applying the agile tool kit allows you to understand how segmented activities can flow together in an effective manner. 
  4. Practices. Allows you to apply the Disciplined Agile tool kit to different scales of the agile framework. This means applying agile strategies across large teams to geographically distributed software. The Scaled Agile framework in the Disciplined Agile tool kit distinguishes between two types of agile at scale, scaling agile at the team level (tactical agile) or scaling agile at the organizational level (strategic agility). See which scaled agile framework works best for your organization.

In addition to the four views, the Disciplined Agile tool kit is also architected into four process levels: 

  1. Foundation. The Foundation layer provides the conceptual underpinnings of the DA tool kit.  This includes the principles, promises, and guidelines of the DA mindset; fundamental concepts from both agile and lean; fundamental concepts from serial/traditional approaches; roles and team structures; and the fundamentals of choosing your way of working (WoW).
  2. Disciplined DevOps. DevOps is the streamlining of software development and IT operations activities. This is a great start, and in Disciplined DevOps we extend this to take an enterprise-class approach that integrates Security and Data Management so as to provide more effective outcomes for your organization.  We also recognize that for organizations with hundreds, and sometimes thousands of systems in production that Support (Help Desk) and Release Management activities need to be robust. 
  3. Value Streams. The Value Streams layer is based on DA FLEX. DA FLEX is the glue that ties an organization’s strategies in that it visualizes what an effective value stream looks like, enabling you to make decisions for improving each part of the organization within the context of the whole. It’s not enough to be innovative, you also need to increase value realization – this layer shows you how to do exactly that in the environment that you face.
  4. Disciplined Agile Enterprise. A Disciplined Agile Enterprise (DAE) is able to sense and respond swiftly to changes in the marketplace.  It does this through an organizational culture and structure that facilitates change within the context of the situation that it faces. Such organizations require a learning mindset in the mainstream business and underlying lean and agile processes to drive innovation. The DAE layer focuses on the rest of the enterprise activities that support your organization’s value streams.
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Important Links

Watch "Delivering Projects from Idea to Customer Using the Disciplined Agile Tool Kit"
FREE on demand 45-minute webinar with Klaus Boedker, Disciplined Agile Training Lead
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Upskill with our "Choose Your WoW!", "Disciplined Agile Delivery" and "The Design Patterns Companion" books
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Learn more about Disciplined Agile's certification program

What is Disciplined Agile?

Learn the basics about Disciplined Agile – an agnostic tool kit that harnesses a world of agile practices to guide you to the best way of working for your team or organization. Co-founders Scott Ambler and Mark Lines walk you through the highlights in just a few minutes.

What can DA do for you?

When you pair freedom to choose from the best of agile with guidance to understand and narrow your options, you get Disciplined Agile — a tool kit that harnesses hundreds of agile practices to guide you to the best way of working for your team or organization.

Disciplined Agile helps you Choose Your WoW (your Way of Working) for the unique situation you find yourself in. The DA tool kit shows you how to effectively combine strategies from Scrum, Agile Modeling, Extreme Programming, Kanban, Agile Data, SAFe®, and many other approaches in a tailorable and scalable manner. The end result is true business agility.

How Do I Learn More?

Our Disciplined Agile instructor-led or self-paced training offers in-depth education based on your level of experience with Scrum and lean. These interactive courses include simulations, activities and supplemental reading to reinforce DA's straightforward guidance. You and your teams can choose your way of working (WoW) in a context-sensitive manner that leads to true business agility.

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