October 28, 2022
Q: How can we use the Disciplined Agile Tool Kit to help our agile team succeed sooner?
To answer this question easily, I could simply tell you to take a Disciplined Agile training course. But that would be little of value to you reading this right now. So let me walk you through an example of how you can leverage the Disciplined Agile Tool Kit to help you and your team improve your agile ways of working.
First, anyone can use the Disciplined Agile (DA) Tool Kit, whether they have no agile experience or have many years of experience practicing agile. Everyone can benefit by using the DA Tool Kit.
This article will focus on one aspect of the DA Tool Kit, the Disciplined Agile Browser. The DA Browser is a web-based tool you can easily access through the PMI website. The DA Browser is free for anyone wishing to improve and expand their agile knowledge. Check it out here: https://www.pmi.org/disciplined-agile/da-browser
So what is the DA Browser? DA Browser is the repository of agile, lean, and serial techniques (strategies and practices) that have been grouped into various areas and summarized for easy reference. In DA terms, these techniques are organized into Goal Diagrams (group), Decision Points (sub-group), Options, and Trade-Offs. These goal diagrams are further grouped into blades, phases, and categories to help the users focus on relevant goals depending on business functions and what stage they are in, in their initiative/project.
Note that there are currently two versions of the DA Browser, the most recent one or the version used for the exam which is called the “Testable Version”. If you are studying to take one of the Disciplined Agile Certification Exams, you must use the “Testable Version”. On the other hand, the most recent version will give you the latest information, but it may contain unfinished goal diagrams, decision points, options, and details, as this is a work in progress.
When you first look at the DA Browser content, the sheer amount of information in the DA Browser can be overwhelming as it contains strategies and practices from many different sources. So if you feel overwhelmed, first ask yourself how you and your team have been getting the work done before. Then ask yourself what strategies or practices you or your team have been using, then look up in the DA Browser what options are listed under the related area and then determine if your team should consider one of the other options as part of your team’s continuous improvement.
Let’s look at one example scenario to give you an idea of how the DA Browser can be used to help you and your team.
Scenario: Your team has been practicing agile and scrum for some time now, and they have been delivering potentially shippable solutions after each iteration. But the only metrics the team has been tracking thus far were Velocity and Burndown chart to track the team’s capability during each sprint. You want to know what other metrics the team can and should consider to measure outcomes and improve the value delivered to their customers.
In the DA Browser, there is a “Measure Outcomes” process goal diagram that lists many types of Metrics for a team to consider for their usage.
See the full version of the “Measure Outcomes” Process Goal Diagram from PMI.
For example, you want to measure and improve the team’s flow of work. In that case, you can find metrics like Cycle Time, Cost of Delay, Throughput, Lead Time, and others under the “Improve Flow” Decision Point. If you want to increase customer delight, you can find information on related metrics such as Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) rating, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Smiley Face Rating, and others under the “Increase Customer Delight” Decision Point.
Once you and your team understand the various metric options available for consideration, you can further research and create a tailored metric for the team. Metrics provide visibility to senior leadership, and it helps to improve outcomes and enable the team to self-organize in their journey to continuous improvement.
This is just one example of a process goal diagram in the DA Browser that you can investigate to find various ways to measure outcomes.
Disciplined Agilest believes in context count, having a choice is good, and being pragmatic since every individual, team, and organization is unique; thus, you must tailor your way of work appropriate for your environment. I will be posting more examples of how you can use the DA Tool Kit to help your team continuously improve their agile ways of working in the future.