Overview of Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)

Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) is a human-centered, learning-oriented hybrid agile approach to IT solution delivery. DAD addresses all aspects of the entire delivery cycle and supports multiple Ways of Working (WoW) that can be tailored to each context. DAD encompasses all aspects of agile software development in a robust, pragmatic and controllable manner.

Disciplined Agile Delivery is based on a single premise: Agile work does not allow teams to be undisciplined.

Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) evolved from the origins of Extreme Programming (XP), Scrum and Lean. As the original forms were codified, it became clear that many teams were using Agile to avoid good sustainable development practices. “We don’t do that, we’re agile” was a common phrase that frustrated many in the company. DAD offers a compromise that many people today find extremely valuable in order to fit into the organization.



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The key features of Disciplined Agile Delivery are:

  • People first
  • Learning oriented
  • Agile
  • Hybrid
  • Goal oriented
  • Delivery oriented
  • Business oriented
  • Risk and value oriented
  • Scalable


To achieve these goals, the Disciplined Agile Delivery process uses a hybrid framework with phases aligned to the traditional stage-gate model, from concept to retirement (disposal). The focus is generally on very large solutions that are required by or developed within large organizations that are introducing a product line.

The main difference between this model and the typical Scrum model, which starts when a team is initiated with funding, is that DAD uses a starting phase called “Inception”. During this phase, many important things happen that help with scaling:

  • Modelling the solution
  • Proof of concepts are explored
  • Common architectures between teams are initiated
  • High-level release planning and feature roadmaps are created


In this phase, teams often work in functional and cross-functional groups. This initial phase enables a shared understanding that feeds into the solution development or “construction” phase.

Disciplined Agile also allows many more roles than Scrum:

Primary Roles

  • Stakeholders – these are the same as in Scrum – everyone affected by the solution being developed (owners, support, customers, etc.)
  • Team member – focuses on creating solutions for stakeholders, the Scrum “generalization specialist”

  • Team Lead – servant leader who coaches and helps organize delivery and is often considered an “agile project manager”
  • Product Owner – is the “voice of the customer”, either as a representative, actual customer, or business expert
  • Architecture Owner can simply be the “Senior Developer” or an architect; with the aim of reducing the risk of technical debt on a large scale

Secondary Roles

    • Specialist – can be the specialist for a specific technology or tool used in the solution
    • Domain Expert – provides detailed expertise on critical topics for parts or details of complex solutions
    • Technical Expert – may be an expert in key non-functional areas (user interface, security, databases, etc.) required for performance
    • Independent tester – may be required for complex solution environments or for regulatory requirements (e.g. from authorities).
    • Integrator – can be a separate role for integration and deployment mechanisms in complex solutions, e.g. B. DevOps teams

    Disciplined Agile Delivery works in such a way that there are always primary roles (even if sometimes the architect and team leader are the same person). Then the secondary roles are added as needed.

    To enable scaling across multiple teams, DAD uses the “Team of Teams” model, which is built on the “Scrum of Scrums” concept invented by Jeff Sutherland.

    • DAD Agile teams meet in daily standups
    • DAD Team Leads meet separately to coordinate delivery as the Product Delivery Team
    • DAD Architecture Leads meet separately to coordinate the architecture and resolve dependencies, it is the architecture team
    • DAD Product Owners meet separately to coordinate planning as a Product Management Team.

    These teams of teams are then coordinated by a senior program manager as needed.

    Starting from this basic scaling model, Disciplined Agile then extends these concepts to the organizational level. How can we mature the organization into a “learning” organization? The idea is that the Agile model is a starting model for Disciplined Agile that can be used to create a lean, agile organization that continually moves through the “stages” of development as needed.

    Built-in concepts include the idea of scaling the “supporting cast.” Those in the secondary role can become their own agile teams, producing products that are used by the disciplined agile teams to deliver new products. Support teams encompass everything that could be described as “development operations” or DevOps:

    • IT operations
    • Customer support
    • Security
    • Data management
    • Version management (release management)

    These teams are then expanded to the entire area of product management, called “Disciplined IT”, and governance and product reuse (Commercial-off-the-shelf – COTS, Government-off-the-shelf – GOTS, Free and open -source software – FOSS) as well as enterprise architecture, human resources management and portfolio management.

    Disciplined Agile goes one step further and suggests that the entire company can behave in an agile manner. Each part of the organization can be its own agile team or team of teams. This applies to sales, marketing, legal and finance departments as well as other areas of the company.

    For the entire organization to be aware of its own structure, it requires “organizational assets” and the “knowledge base”. This means that the organization becomes its own market where it consumes products both internally and externally. By maintaining a central portal for access to the key information and tools needed to run the organization, each team can work without dictating to the others.

    This is the realization of the ideas of an adaptive learning organization. The individual phases are listed below (abbreviated from longer forms, which you can find below


    • Tribal – impulsive and driven by urgency; management “exploits” its employees
    • Traditional – authoritarian, characterized by protocols and formal roles and hierarchies
    • Scientific – Profit or growth oriented, driven by innovation and performance thinking
    • Postmodern – Consensus-oriented, with values-based decision making
    • Alive or self-organizing – Cellular management models with an evolutionary goal

    Do these ideas make sense to you? What type of organization do you work in? You can learn more about the concepts and ideas of Disciplined Agile Delivery here: https://www.pmi.org/disciplined-agile


Webinar announcement

Our next webinar will take place on November 7th, 2023 at 1 p.m.

Topic: Meeting and appointment culture

Your employees complain about the number of meetings? Is the day too fragmented to be able to work on important topics undisturbed? Meeting preparation takes too much time? Do you often leave meetings without solving a problem and take your work back with you?

In this webinar we want to show you how to reduce the number of meetings and how to prepare and conduct meetings effectively.

VOQUZ - Masterclass

  • VOQUZ offers training in the IT sector under the label VOQUZ Masterclass. The training offer and concept is based on years of project experience of our coaches on site with our customers.

    • Scrum Masters
    • Product Owner

    5 days – high practical content – Scrum outside of IT – certification exam



    Introduction to Disciplined Agile

    Disciplined Agile Lifecycle

    Disciplined Agile Company

    Disciplined Agile Teams – Roles

    Disciplined Agile teams at scale

    Books used:

    • Disciplined Agile Delivery: A Practitioner’s Guide to Agile Software Delivery in the Enterprise, Scott Ambler and Mark Lines, 2012.

    #scrum #agile #agiletransformation #agilecoaching #scrumtraining #dad #disciplinedagiledelivery


    Find more interesting articles in our VOQUZ blog: www.voquz.com

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