Disciplined Agile: A Refreshingly Pragmatic Course

After realising the advantages of applying Agile practices at the team level, many large organisations are scrambling to find ways to implement Agile across their enterprise. In doing so, many organisations face the twin challenge of selecting one of the competing scaling frameworks, and then attempting the feat of introducing the framework into their enterprise where past practices and mindsets have become firmly embedded.

When it comes to scaling Agile, as consultants and coaches of Adventures with Agile (AWA), we’re acutely aware and have frequent experience of these opportunities and challenges.

Disciplined Agile (DA) is one of the scaled frameworks which AWA advocates and helps clients adopt so that their organisations are successful in their Agile transformation.

This blog post is about AWA’s Disciplined Agile In a Nutshell training course. This one-day course is a perfect introduction to the framework and will help you take Agile beyond the team-level and successfully across the enterprise. Also, by completing this course, you are entitled to the Disciplined Agilist certification.

AWA is a Disciplined Agile Bronze Partner, and AWA’s founder and DA instructor, Simon Powers is a Certified Disciplined Agile Coach (black belt) in the framework.

What follows is some feedback from a few of the attendees who went on the course on 22 November 2016. If you would like to attend one of the AWA run DA courses, the next is on 19th January 2017.

Feedback from Ash Sheikh

The AWA Disciplined Agile course shows the clear benefit of using the Disciplined Agile framework in a way that allows you to plan your enterprise transformation with a higher degree of confidence.

The course leads you through the framework in a way that is engaging and instructional, building a picture of the benefits to you and your organization along the way.It’s a great introduction to Disciplined Agile for organizations, managers or Agile Coaches  

Simon Powers delivers the course in an engaging format, building a safe space in the room which is conducive to learning and play  –  Ash Sheikh is an AWA Contributor and an Enterprise Transformation Architect

Feedback from Elaine Tittanegro

The first time I heard about DA over a year ago I thought it was “just another scaling framework”. It seemed very complicated at that time and it didn’t catch my attention. Earlier this year I attended an Agile Conference in which Mark Lines was one of the speakers. His overview of DA made me realise that DA had something different from the others, it recognises the reality of the situation the enterprise is facing and give them ways to create their own path towards agility at scale.

It was when Simon told me he was running his first class of Disciplined Agile in a Nutshell that I decided to look closer at it. Having attended a few training courses myself, I know how tiring they can be and how little we learn sometimes. It was great to see how Simon and Chris used techniques from Sharon Bowman’s “Training from the back of the room” to give us the content piece by piece and to allow us to build on our learnings iteratively. I left the day feeling I know Disciplined Agile in a nutshell and I’m able to explain it to anyone.

So, if you are looking for a different “tool” for your Agile Coach toolbox, I strongly recommend DA and Simon’s training course. In our Agile world of “this methodology is better than this other one” it’s really motivating to see that we have one that embraces all that is good in the others and use it in our favour. – Elaine Tittanegro is an AWA Contributor and an Agile Coach

Feedback from Chris Norris

This was a refreshingly pragmatic course delivered by AWA, describing practices and strategies to adapt and scale your current Agile approach to the unique context/goals of your organisation.  

An important point to note is that this is not another methodology, it is a Process Decision Framework – if you are using Scrum, XP, Kanban or SAFe, you are already using a subset of the DAD framework.  

The materials were presented with good pace and in an engaging manner and given his wealth of Agile and Lean experience, Simon was able to cover off the myriad of questions arising easily.  Highly recommended. – Chris Norris is a Agile Programme Director

Feedback from Dean Latchana

During the course there were a number of aspects of Disciplined Agile which stood out for me, which make it quite different from the other scaling frameworks.

Firstly it recognises many organisations cannot simply adopt agile ways of working over night. The DA principle of starting from where you are, and implement gradual incremental change, means organisations don’t need leaps of faith.

Importantly the DA framework is built on many studies on how organisations operate, and how agile principles have benefited their businesses. The results of these studies means DA isn’t built on untested received wisdom.

I also was also pleased to learn DA relies on the support and integration of other frameworks, such as Lean Startup and SAFe. It means it’s not dogmatic in its approach, and recognises the need for a particular hybrid of approaches dependent on the context.

Finally, I learnt how DA is a decision-framework. To me one of its uses is as a reference guide that can be referred to when under pressure, or when you need a decision validated. Those decision guides could act as maturity pathways, where each organisation is at a different point on those pathways.

I’m very pleased I went on the course. It was well presented, had a good pace and there was plenty of room participation. It’ll help me frame how I can support organisations adopt agile ways of working which is sensitive to where they are. – Dean Latchana is an Agile Coach

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