How New Teams Can Get Started Using the Disciplined Agile Toolkit


In my previous article, we explored how to help your team succeed faster using Disciplined Agile. In this blog post, I would like to walk you through how a new agile team can figure out how to plan and establish a starting point leveraging the Disciplined Agile Toolkit including the DA Browser.

For those of you new to the Disciplined Agile Toolkit, you can leverage the DA Browser for free on the PMI website.

How the Disciplined Agile Browser Can Help a New Agile Team

Let’s say you want to leverage Disciplined Agile as you form a new team. The team wants to practice an agile way of working, but they are new to agile and need help figuring out where to start. They need more guidance in establishing a starting point.

In a scenario like this, the Team Lead can be more involved in guiding the team to establish a good starting point. The team lead and team members can leverage the DA Browser to get ideas on strategies and practices the team can implement to get the team moving in the right direction. The DA Browser content can be used as a reference to identify and help the team determine the state of the team’s capability and what approach they should take.

The “Form Team” Goal Diagram in the DA Browser

In the “Form Team” goal diagram, there are “Member Skills” and “Team Completeness” Decision Points. Within those decision points, there are options that team members can review and decide whether it is applicable to them or makes sense to implement one of them at the current point in time.

Disciplined Agile Process Goal for New Teams - Form Team

For example, the “Member Skills” Decision Point” lists three options with one of them being “Generalizing specialists”, which is the most preferred option (bold and italicized)

Looking at these options and assessing the team’s capability is especially beneficial if team members need a better understanding of their teammates’ skill sets and capabilities.

Suppose the team members agreed to become “Generalizing Specialists”. In that case, team members will work towards becoming “Generalizing Specialists” during the project if they are currently not.

Suppose the team identifies itself as a “Core Team” under the “Team Completeness” decision point. In that case, the team recognizes that they are not cross-functional, at least not yet, and will require others to support them to complete their work as needed.

The “Form Team” goal diagram helps the team identify, acknowledge, and plan towards improvements they need to become an effective team.

Using the “Plan the Release” Goal Diagram

Another area to consider applying Disciplined Agile as a new team is planning. A new team can look at the “Plan the Release” goal diagram to get some ideas on what options are available in regard to the work estimation approach. The “Estimating Strategy” category (decision point) under the “Plan the Release” goal diagram provides various options available to choose from if the team does not know what type of estimation approach they will use. In addition, the “Choose Estimation Unit” category provides a list of different estimation units (Relative Points, T-shirt sizes, hours, etc.) the team can choose to use on the project.

Disciplined Agile Process Goal - Plan the Release

Given their context, the team can explore many other strategies and practices in the DA Browser and consider them for implementation. Again these are examples of how one team might leverage DA Browser and the Disciplined Agile Toolkit to uncover or understand the options available and implement them in their environment.

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By Jonathan Lee

Jonathan is a Certified Disciplined Agile Instructor (CDAI), coach, and servant leader. His passion is to help individuals, teams, and organizations in their agile transformation. Jonathan has over 26+ years of experience in the IT consulting industry in various roles including Developer, Business Analyst, Solutions Architect, Project/Program Manager, Team Lead, Product Owner, Architecture Owner, and coach. He was a former President and Board Member of the PMI Chicagoland Chapter and currently serves as the Chapter's Strategic Advisor.

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