Tool Support for Disciplined Agile

This page addresses a few important questions about tooling and the Disciplined Agile (DA) framework:

 

Does DA Recommend Specific Tools?

No. The Disciplined Agile (DA) framework is orthogonal to tools.  What we mean by that is the principles, practices, and techniques captured by the framework are independent of specific tools.  Obviously, some practices such as continuous integration (CI), test-driven development (TDD), and continuous delivery (CD) clearly need tooling support.  But for each of those practices there are many, many tools you could possibly adopt.  The DA framework suggests that you adopt tools in these cases, but doesn’t specify exactly which tool to adopt nor will it ever.  Tooling choices should be made by your team, often influenced by organizational guidance, not by the DA framework.

 

What (Agile) Management Tools Support DA?

Agile/Lean management tools include products such as Atlassian Jira, Microsoft TFS, VersionOne, LeanKit, and many others.  The DA framework supports several delivery lifecycles (an agile Scrum-based lifecycle, a lean Kanban-based lifecycle, two continuous delivery lifecycles, and more).  So, tools such as Jira, TFS, VersionOne, and so on that support Scrum (or Kanban, or CD) by definition also support the corresponding Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) lifecycle based on that method.

One issue that you may run into, particularly with the Scrum-based tools, is that they use Scrum terminology such as Sprint instead of Iteration.  In these cases you have two choices – either choose to use Sprint instead of Iteration within your team (this is a common choice) or tailor the tool to use iteration.  With some tools, such as VersionOne, this is very easy to do.  Other tools, currently Jira for example, their architecture may not be sufficiently flexible to allow such an easy tailoring.

 

What Development Tools Support DA?

The Construction goals of Produce a Potentially Consumable Solution and Move Closer to a Deployable Release support a wide range of technical practices.  Granted, technical practices are supported by many other goals, but the greatest concentration is in these two goals.  The point is that because DA supports many technical practices that are common to agile – such as continuous integration (CI), test-driven development (TDD), automated regression testing, and many others – that in effect DA is supported by a host of development tools.

Possible development tool categories include, but are not limited to:

  • Acceptance testing
  • Build management
  • Code analysis (dynamic or static)
  • Code review
  • Configuration management (CM)
  • Continuous integration (CI)
  • Dashboards
  • Deployment
  • Modeling
  • Schema analysis
  • Test data management
  • Test planning and management
  • Unit/developer testing
  • User interface (UI) testing

Other tool categories include:

  • Collaboration tools
  • Documentation
  • Estimating
  • Planning

 

What Process-Oriented Tools Explicitly Support DA?

  • Agility Health Radar – We’ve been working with Agility Health Radar to develop support for Disciplined Agile Delivery, Disciplined Agile IT (DAIT), and Disciplined Agile Enterprise (DAE) assessments.  See a video with Scott Ambler describing what the DAD radar addresses.
  • BlueprintBlueprintis an agile requirements tool for teams working at scale (particularly geographically distributed teams, teams in regulatory environments, or teams facing a complex domain).  BUT, it does have explicit support for DA process definition.
  • The Enterprise Transformation AdvisorThe Enterprise Transformation Advisor is the industries’ only platform that supports transitioning to modern practice at enterprise scale, with innovative capability for Self-Organization, Inspect & Adapt and Value Stream Governance.
  • IBM Rational Method Composer (RMC) – A web-based process definition and sharing tool.  Supports the initial version of DAD, published about a year before the DAD book (which we consider to be the v1.o baseline).  So call it DAD v0.5.
  • MethodPark Stages – A web-based process definition and sharing tool.
  • Microsoft TFS – There is a DAD template available for TFS 2013.  The GITHub project is here and this blog posting (in Italian) describes it.

This list is not complete.  If you know of a tool that includes explicit support for the DA decision process framework, please add a comment to this page so that we can capture it.  Thank you very much.

 

Does Scale Affect Tooling Choices?

Yes.  The following diagram summarizes the six scaling factors of tactical agility at scale.  When a team faces one or more of these scaling factors they generally need more sophisticated tooling to help them do so.  The following table explores how each scaling factor may affect your tooling choices.  It is assumed that fundamental tools such as developer IDEs, continuous integration (CI), configuration management (CM), automated testing, and so on have been adopted by the team.

Software Development Tactical Scaling Factors

 

Scaling Factor Possible Tooling Needs
Team size
  • Team size is typically driven by domain complexity and technical complexity, so please refer to those factors
Geographic distribution
  • Collaboration tools (email, chat, video conferencing, …) will be required
  • Software-based management tools (e.g. Jira, VersionOne, Trello) required to support dispersed workers or teams
Organizational distribution
  • Code and schema analysis tools should be added to CI strategy to ensure quality of the work being performed by external organizations or staff
Compliance
  • Tools that log what developers do may be needed
  • Documentation management tools (e.g. wikis, word processors) required to support regulatory documentation needs
  • Automated tests to support executable specifications
  • Requirements management/modelling tools that support traceability
  • Software-based management tools that support traceability
  • Reports to generate traceability matrices from executable specifications, management tools, and modelling tools (as appropriate)
Domain complexity
  • Requirements management/modelling tools
  • Automated regression testing tools
Technical complexity
  • Architecture/design modelling tools
  • Automated regression testing tools

 

14 thoughts on “Tool Support for Disciplined Agile

  1. Pingback: Tool Support for Discplined Agile Delivery (DAD) | Disciplined Agile Delivery

  2. Anonymous

    Hello,

    Are there any plans to update the support/method library in RMC to a newer version of DAD?

    Kind regards,

    /Jan Widegren
    Swedish Tax Agency

    Reply
  3. scottwambler

    @Jan, that’s a good question. We’ve spoken with IBM about that a couple of times but unfortunately nothing has come of it. I suspect that it won’t happen.

    However, we hope to soon release an HTML-based product that will be easily editable. This product will be free. Stay tuned.

    Reply
  4. bill

    I will use DAD , I need some lighten tools(opensouce tools is plus) to surpport the whole process. Cloud you provide more ?Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Tool Support for Discplined Agile Delivery (DAD) | Disciplined Agile Delivery

  6. GUILLERMO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ

    Hello Scott, are you planning to publish an updated version of DAD book? Seems the current one do not include all the flows….

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Scott Ambler Post author

      Yes, we are in the process of writing a series of new books which will replace the first one.

      The first book in the series is An Executive Guide to Disciplined Agile and should be out in August.

      The next book in the series, which we’re aiming to have written by the end of the year, will be more of a reference book that is designed to most replace the first book. We’re also writing a mindset book to follow the reference. We may switch the order of the mindset and reference books, you never know. Right now we’re finishing up the exec book and are focusing on that.

      Reply
      1. GUILLERMO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ

        Thanks for you quick answer Scott.
        Is the current certification covering the 4 flows?
        Which book can I use be take the first cert?

        Reply

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