The basics of DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery)
Developed by Scott Ambler and Mark Lines, DAD is similar to SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) in that it uses Lean and Agile techniques. DAD’s framework has three phases: Inception, construction, and transition (delivery). DAD also offers process guidelines for each of four lifestyles. These are:
- Agile basic
- Continuous delivery, and
The Agile/basic lifestyle falls in the construction phase and is equal to Scrum. The Lean/advanced lifestyle in DAD uses Kanban processes which maximizes flow and minimizes work-in-process. Continuous delivery lifestyle stresses continuous integration, DevOps, and a deployment process that has frequent delivery to users. The Exploratory lifestyle has little early planning, but fast and frequent delivery. By having frequent releases of small, viable product to the user, the goal is to gain feedback, and then incorporating that feedback immediately into the next delivery. The overall goal of the exploratory lifestyle is to “fail fast”, thereby saving a lot of time and money if it turns out the project is not feasible. Within the exploratory lifestyle, the project is halted whenever the latest delivery of the product has a problem that is non-fixable.
DAD compared to Other Frameworks
DAD, when compared overall to the popular framework SAFe, is more compatible than not. DAD, with its four lifestyle models, is more flexible than SAFe because it recognizes the differences in projects and allows teams more flexibility in process decisions. Because it is more flexible, DAD then becomes almost automatically more adaptive, a key Agile concern.
Organizations with a good understanding of Agile can benefit from DAD’s flexibility. However, those organizations transitioning from a traditional Waterfall type model might not have the needed guidance that would be provided by a framework like SAFe.
DAD, rather than prescribing a detailed list of procedures to follow, does offer guidance on the type of tools and processes you might want to use depending on the type of project you are trying to complete. Up to now, adoption of DAD compared to SAFe has been slow. This may be because to successfully implement DAD it is more likely experienced consultants and coaches will be needed. This is particularly the case if a project is very large, or transitioning from a traditional model is involved.
In answer to what is next for DAD, Scott Ambler stated:
The Disciplined Agile framework is constantly evolving. Right now we are in the process of releasing Disciplined Agile 2.0, which extends DAD into the IT space to explicitly address areas such as Enterprise Architecture, Portfolio Management Reuse Engineering, Disciplined DevOps, and many other key activities.