I’m writing this from the Agile Business Conference in London where I did a talk on DAD yesterday. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to go into DAD in depth. A gentleman approached me today, saying that he is very interested in learning more about DAD but is not sure why it is needed with all the other methods out there.
This is a very good question, and I guess I should have been more clear in my talk. First of all, DAD is not a new method, but rather a general framework from which you can pick some “good ideas” which might makes sense for your organization or project. It also adds some structure that is missing from most agile methods. Here are some reasons that we think that the framework is worthwhile:
- DAD is a hybrid of leading agile methods, bringing together a set of complimentary practices from methods such as Scrum, XP, Agile Modeling, Lean, & the Unified Process
- most existing methods such as Scrum, do not have practices related to the full lifecyle (by design). Scrum for instance is focused mainly on management, rather than say, architecture. DADs hybrid approach harvests leading practices from across the lifecycle
- DAD goes beyond agile rhetoric and acknowledges that certain enterprise practices don’t go away with agile, such as the need to collaborate with other projects, enterprise authorities such as architecture, database , and PMOs
- an explicit recognition that most enterprise projects go through startup (Inception) and deployment (Transition) phases
- DAD avoids branded terminology such as “sprint” and rather uses common sense terminology that is understandable regardless of one’s methodology preference
While the DAD framework is the work of IBM’s Chief Agile/Lean methodologist Scott Ambler, it is open and not trademarked by IBM. It is meant to help promote and simplify proven agile practices, not replace them. Rather than having to say “our shop does Scrum, with some XP practices, a bit of Kanban, etc…”, why not say that you are using the DAD framework? You can choose from any of the techniques from these methods without some agilist criticizing you that “you are not doing Scrum actually because it doesn’t believe in the XYZ practice that you are using from ABC method”
If you are doing Scrum now, for instance, you could currently say that you are using the DAD framework, as its guidance is a subset of practices you could use in DAD, As you add agile capability, and want accelerate your projects and increase quality, or add some required scaling techniques, you could draw additional ideas from DAD. BUT only if required and makes sense for you.
In summary, DAD provides a breadth of non-prescriptive guidance (good ideas that MIGHT make sense for you) with non-branded ideas that go beyond traditional agile methods to help deal with enterprise considerations that are a reality on most non-trivial projects.