Adopting a Full Lifecycle Requires Discipline
Despite some agilists reluctance to admit that projects go through phases the DAD process framework explicitly recognizes that they do. Building serious solutions requires a lot more than just doing the cool construction stuff. It takes discipline to ignore this rhetoric and frame your project within the scope of a full delivery lifecycle. The basic and advanced/lean DAD lifecycles explicitly depict:
- Pre-delivery activities. There are portfolio management activities which occur long before your project begins, including the initial identification of potential projects, their prioritization, and finding initial funding for the Inception phase.
- Three-phase delivery lifecycle. Projects have phases that they go through. All efforts are initiated at some point, all of them go through a construction effort (or a configuration effort in the case of purchased solutions), and hopefully some sort of deployment effort. This is why the DAD lifecycles include explicit Inception, Construction, and Transition phases to respectively address these aspects. I’ve confirmed via surveys that the average agile team invests about a month in project initiation/inception activities, often referred to as Sprint 0 or Iteration 0, as well as about a month performing release/transition activities. From a product point they will go through at least the Construction and Transition phase many times throughout the life of the solution.
- Post-delivery activities. The fact that your solution is operated and supported in production, or in the marketplace for commercial products, is included. We do this to reflect the DevOps reality many DAD teams are in the position that they are working on a new release of an existing solution, and therefore are very likely to be getting defect reports and enhancement requests coming in about previous versions. As a result they require the discipline to treat these things as potential new requirements and act accordingly.
Without a doubt construction is an important aspect of the overall Disciplined Agile Delivery process, but it’s not the only aspect. Yes, for many people this is the fun part of delivery, it certainly is for me. But the reality is that as development professionals we need to explicitly consider more than just construction if we’re to be effective. It takes discipline to adopt a broader lifecycle that goes beyond the fun stuff that we would prefer to focus on.