Disciplined Agile: A Hybrid Approach to Suit Your WoW

One of the great things about agile and lean are that there are thousands of great practices and strategies (techniques) out there for you to choose from. Then again, one of the frustrating things about agile and lean are that there are thousands of great techniques to choose from. How do you find out about these techniques? When should you adopt a specific technique? When shouldn’t you? To what extent should you perform a technique? How do these techniques fit together? Answers to these questions are critical when a team is choosing its way of working (WoW).

PMI’s Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit has mined the various methods, frameworks, books of knowledge, and other sources to identify potential techniques that your teams may want to experiment with and adopt. We put these techniques into context, answering the questions mentioned above, and describe the trade-offs associated with each technique so that you can choose the right ones for your situation. Figure 1 indicates some of the methodologies and frameworks that we have mined for techniques.

DA adopts strategies from the following sources:

• DevOps: The DevOps movement has identified a collection of strategies for streamlining software development and operations, thereby improving quality, customer service, and time to market.
• Scrum: The Scrum framework focuses on team leadership and requirements change management. Scrum captures some really great ideas that have become commonly adopted by agile teams.
• Extreme Programming (XP): XP is an agile method that focuses primarily on hard-core software development practices.
• Scale Agile Framework (SAFe®): SAFe captures agile and lean strategies for large-scale agile programs.
• PMBOK® Guide: PMI’s A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) captures proven project management practices.
• Spotify: The Spotify framework describes several teaming and organizational strategies for organizations new to agile ways of working.
• Kanban: Kanban is a method for managing knowledge work with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery while not overloading the team members. In Kanban, the process, from definition of a task to its delivery to the customer, is visualized and team members pull work from a queue or work item pool.
• Agile Modeling (AM): AM is a practice-based methodology for effective modeling and documentation. AM was purposely architected to be a source of strategies which can be tailored into other base processes.
• Agile Data (AD): The AD method defines a collection of strategies that professionals can apply when working with and evolving sources of data.
• Unified Process (UP): The UP is an iterative and incremental process framework. The DA toolkit adopts and enhances several critical governance strategies from the UP.
• Traditional: There are many great ideas coming from traditional, sometimes called serial or even “predictive,” sources that have been contextualized in the DA toolkit.
• Other sources: DA adopts techniques and practices from other sources such as Dynamic System Development Method, Feature Driven Development, Evo, and Crystal Clear. We have also adopted leaned-out strategies from the ITIL, COBiT, TOGAF, and DAMA frameworks (to name a few) to flesh out portions of DA.

Where these sources go into detail about these individual techniques, the focus of DA is to put them into context and to help you choose the right technique at the right time. There is no such thing as a best practice for all situations; instead you must choose the best fit for your context. In many ways, DA does the “heavy process lifting” for you in that it shows how all of these great ideas fit together, enabling you to get on with delighting your customers.