A Guide for Using Disciplined Agile Through a Coaching Lens

Disciplined Agile (DA) is a toolkit of options for organisational change with lightweight guidance on how to make the right choices when choosing new ways of working. The options for change are categorised by area of the organisation and by problem type or reason for making the change.

Disciplined Agile Goal Notation

For a full description of how to use the toolkit you can visit the Disciplined Agile website and read about process goal diagrams.

At AWA we do not prescribe solutions for the organisations we coach. Instead, we systemically coach those who are closest to the business challenge so that they can clearly see the problem and design experiments that can be safely run to improve ways of working.

We help our clients solve their own problems so that they create a culture of change and can meet any problems in the future with a mindset of experimentation and exploration.

Choosing the right experiments

The options that DA offers come from what other organisations have actually done. They are not theory but based upon real experience. The options are explained and have trade-offs and notes supplied.

We use Disciplined Agile as a reference for our clients so that they can be better informed when creating their own ways of working for their specific context.

A single example amongst many:

At AWA we typically work with whole organisations or large teams such as 120 people. In these situations, there is a need to share knowledge, build a shared identity, and share improvements.

If we were consultants only, we would tell the client what we think is the solution to their problem. However, we know this does not work. It creates resistance and it is an abuse of our position of authority.

Instead, we use inclusion to create diversity, to explore the challenge with those involved and facilitate a safe space to explore the problem. Solutions often naturally arise with full ownership. When solutions do not naturally arise, we still don’t tell, but teach and mentor options to try, and let those affected choose.

For this problem, we can share the DA options and add any extra options that we might feel beneficial.

Share Improvements

The ‘Share Improvements’ option of the ‘Continuous Improvement’ blade is pictured here. The DA options are listed in order of likelihood of success or put another way, the order in which most people have had the most success at.

The arrow pointing upwards shows that it is an ordered list with the ‘Communities of Practice’ as the most effective and ‘word of mouth’ being least. The items in bold are the default items to try. These are the most likely, popular, or recommended placed to start. They are not always at the top of the ordered list as sometimes it is better to build up to a particular way of working.

AWA coaches help our clients to understand the different options and choose the right ones. We help them create experiments and to implement the changes in the way most likely to create ownership, enthusiasm, and success.

In this way, DA can be combined with the AWA Coaching Approach to create a successful organisational transition to agility.

If you are wondering how to create organisational agility in your organisation, are using DA and would like help, or would like to take a coaching stance to change, please email AWA on hello@adventureswithagile.com or call +44(0) 203 369 1125.