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Disciplined Agile Delivery: What It is and How You Can Benefit

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Written by Chris Wright for Zephyr.

Many software development practices, most notably test management, are increasingly being changed by agile workflows. Agile not only encourages constant, quick releases, but also can foster automation in the workplace, taking numerous repetitive tasks off of employees. However, there are many approaches to making agile a success with an organization - Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) is one such way. In this piece, we'll dive into what this framework involves and how it can benefit those that choose to leverage it.

What exactly is DAD?
Much like Scrum and other methods of integrating agile, DAD is a process decision framework that is designed to help teams achieve success with agile methods. Characteristics like its people-first, learning-oriented approach separate it from other agile IT solution delivery approaches. The rules implied by DAD make it enterprise-aware and scalable, two major necessities when it comes to making agile test management a value to development teams.

"The Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) process decision framework provides a pragmatic approach from which to scale agile strategies to address the unique situations team find themselves in," the DAD community site explained. "DAD explicitly addresses the issues faced by enterprise agile teams that many agile methodologies prefer to gloss over."

Numerous benefits to gain
While DAD may not be the best fit for everyone, it does have some advantages to offer for those that choose to adopt it. Here are a few of the biggest benefits your quality assurance and development teams can see with DAD:

Puts people first
There are many legacy methods that have put processes and tools ahead of the individuals who use them, but DAD takes the opposite approach by establishing people as the main determinant for success in IT projects. According to TechTarget contributor Yvette Francino, under the DAD approach, this means that employees must be self-aware, self-disciplined and self-organizing. DAD promotes collaboration and cross-functional teams with guidance to improve their effectiveness, but does not prescribe mandatory procedures.

This type of flexibility will allow developers to adapt DAD to their own needs while ensuring that they still get the expected benefits. A people-focused approach will also help employees continually improve software testing and the quality of their projects.

Addresses a full delivery lifecycle
There are numerous agile approaches that take a construction-focused approach, but this could lead to mistakes further on in the project. DAD addresses how aspects of the system lifecycle interact with the delivery, creating a feasible way to incrementally create a consumable product. A white paper from the Disciplined Agile Consortium noted that DAD can help keep project initiation and deployment efforts as streamlined as possible, rather than ending up with an overly heavy deployment phase that can take up extra time and money. This approach is different from Scrum and other methods as it recognizes that teams are governed and makes accommodations for these environments.

"[Agile teams] must work within the scope and constraints of a larger, organizational ecosystem," the white paper stated. "The DAD framework recognizes this and instead promotes the idea that disciplined agile teams should not work in an isolated manner but instead should be self-organizing with appropriate governance to guide them to greater levels of success."

Takes a hybrid approach
There are so many methods of adopting agile that it can often be difficult to choose which one to integrate. DAD takes strategies from multiple sources, including Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP) and many others, making it valuable for those that want to combine approaches. According to IBM contributor Scott Ambler, DAD's approach not only incorporates these concepts, but alsoshows how they all fit together. Understanding when to use these techniques will be important to effectively leveraging them at the right time, during the right situation.

DAD essentially is a framework that has done all the work for you by creating numerous tailored ideas that could be successful for your organization. The DAD process-goal approach provides advice on when it's appropriate to use various techniques.

"In doing so, DAD enables you to streamline your efforts to tailor agile to reflect the context of the situation you find yourself in," Ambler wrote. "Furthermore, it provides this advice in the context of a full agile delivery lifecycle, explicitly showing how to initiate a project, construct a solution, and then deploy into production."

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Published at DZone with permission of Sanjay Zalavadia, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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