Top 8 Reasons Why Disciplined Agile is Important for a Project Manager

Disciplined Agile. 

At first, this may appear to be an oxymoron. Disciplined is defined as controlled and some define “agile” as a philosophy in which to manage projects (or people) with little to no defined guardrails. 

The Agile Manifesto describes agility only as a set of values and principles and does not prescribe a method. 

Yet, there are many methods that fall under the umbrella of agile which is why so many PowerPoint decks use a picture of an umbrella over a word cloud of agile methods as a visual to teach this concept. 

Organizations are so eager to reap the benefits that agile (and its methods) provide but if the incorrect method is applied, the organization may be flirting disruption and if no method is applied, perhaps chaos.

This is especially true when launching new teams who are in a delicate forming and storming state as well as disruption to well-formed, high-performing teams who may not need a rigid method.

Disciplined Agile (DA) is a process decision framework to help guide teams towards identifying better ways of working through control or disciplined action. 

So why is Disciplined Agile important for Project Managers?

Here are our top 8!

1) It's easy to introduce to teams because the teams start with what they know.

When you start with what you know and do in a current state, this helps to reduce any disruption to what is currently working.

This means you keep what’s working for your team and throw out what isn’t. 

2) It uses "agnostic" language meaning it's easier to teach and adopt.

Mention the term “Scrum” to your team and notice their reaction. Do they instantly cross their arms and give you the “side eye”?

Using agnostic language reduces resistance to learning something new. 

3) Disciplined Agile uses the best of all methods so there is no need to be an expert in any one method.

While getting certifications in all the methods may be possible, it would take a lifetime to gain the applicable experience to truly become a master of all methods. 

4) It can be used for any type of project including non-IT projects.

Project Managers manage various types of projects and not all projects fall under the umbrella of Information Technology and Software Development. 

Disciplined Agile can apply to any type of project, enabling the project manager and the team to experience the benefits of being agile. 

5) Encourages pragmatism.

Disciplined Agile helps the team to identify the best way of working for their specific needs and environment and how to incrementally improve those ways of working. 

6) Increases team morale, resulting in happier people and improved innovation and productivity!

The act of taking a pragmatic approach to improved ways of working allows the team to “write their own way” which as a standalone activity, is a morale booster. 

However, did you know that Disciplined Agile also helps to ensure that team members work within their capacity and build things of value versus striving to simply meet a project deadline?  

7) Helps to establish psychological safety.

Disciplined Agile helps Project Managers and organizations to focus more on the people by helping to create an environment of psychological safety allowing everyone to show up as their authentic selves and bring their diverse ideas to the table. 

8) It's a marketable skill!

Having knowledge of Discipled Agile can be a competitive advantage for a Project Manager’s career and of course, a team of Project Managers. 

If you are a Project Manager professional or lead a team of Project Managers, Disciplined Agile can make a huge difference in your teams!

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Born 1965, San Antonio, Texas and lives in Dallas, Tx.
Mr. James, Ronald, Maverick holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at The University of Texas, San Antonio.

Mr. Maverick or JR as many call him is a “slick” but warm and friendly character in our upcoming book on the DevOps Mindset. Mr. Maverick cares about his IT team very much and could charm the socks off a Texas Longhorn. JR is liked by many in his organization; however, he is not as well trusted by the Overlords as he used to be. Mr. Maverick has a group of loyal staff, including Mr. Barker a bit of an opposite to JR. Of course, Mr. Barker would never call him JR; he would only call him Mr. Maverick because well, Mr. Maverick is his boss. Mr. Maverick has held many IT positions in the past, including starting as a Sales Professional for HP and IBM mini and mainframe computers. Over the years he has risen through the ranks to hold this senior position by delivering using high-paid consultants and Big name firms. He also received his promotion from outsourcing to a foreign country where he was able to reduce his IT spend significantly. Recently he has discovered (actually this was made painfully aware to him by the Overlords) that both the Offshore roadmap and use of external consultants was not giving him the value and velocity for his IT department, and he was probably paying more than he bargained for

So, after hearing a talk at a DevOps event by the Agents of Chaos, JR decided to enlist them to help with their digital transformation roadmap and help improve the value, focus and velocity of his department. However, MR. Maverick has a few ideas about agile and DevOps, something he has heard about for a while and read in various CIO magazines; he thinks of these as Marketing terms and something that can be bought. While Mr. Maverick has held on for many years to traditional IT ways of working he has come to the end of his tenure if he doesn’t do something fast and get DevOps working quickly as he has promised to the Overlords providing him with a little more rope to get the transformation completed more quickly as they view his IT department ageing, procrastinators who are not able to keep up with business demands. JR says in his mind, “I will get it done, they don’t call me Maverick for nothing!“