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Agile: Disciplined Agile (DA)

Disciplined Agile (DA), is a process decision framework that puts individuals first and offers only lightweight guidance to help teams optimize their processes according to the unique needs of each specific project. As a people-first agile framework, DA is in some ways similar to the Crystal method. In fact, DA is designed to be a hybrid approach combining elements of XP, Scrum, Kanban, and other methodologies.

History of Disciplined Agile

Although developed at IBM beginning in 2009, Disciplined Agile was first introduced to the world in 2012 with the book Disciplined Agile Delivery. This first iteration of the methodology was focused more broadly on process decisions across an organization. Later, new subsets began to appear applying the concepts to specific areas such as “Disciplined DevOps,” and “Disciplined Agile IT.”

Today the term Disciplined Agile refers broadly to designing effective processes to all of these areas—addressing all areas of solution delivery, including finance, procurement, IT architecture, portfolio management, etc.

Strengths and Weakness of Disciplined Agile

DA’s strengths include:

  • The hybrid nature of this framework pulls the best elements from several proven methodologies
  • Allows teams to follow the agile method while also tailoring it to their unique needs

DA’s weaknesses include:

  • Not ideal for organizations new to agile, because it does not provide strict enough guidance on how to follow that philosophy
  • Because of this lack of guidance, organizations trying to implement the DA framework are more likely to need professional consultants to help with the rollout

Should You Use Disciplined Agile?

For a highly experienced agile team, this type of hybrid model might provide much-needed flexibility. But for teams newly transitioning to the agile approach, Disciplined Agile might make that learning curve too steep and costly.