I was excited to see that Mr. Ambler was working on Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) and was looking forward to this book. One of the biggest challenges I have is that most of the successful agile teams I interact with are isolated small teams using Scrum out of the box. It is working on the projects that have small teams with small scope, usually building one application in isolation. They don't have to be concerned with enterprise level integration.
The small successful teams I have seen also do no architecture. Although the end result is exactly what you do not want for high modifiability, they simply get it live. Usually a little buggy and slow, but they make it live nevertheless.
That is not true of all the projects I interact with. There are some large enterprise wide Scrum initiatives. The successful ones brought in an external Scrum coach to train them. Because of the complexity of the project they were also forced to do architecture and design. They ended up back at more of an iterative process. By the time they were done modifying the Scrum process, beside some Scrum names, they were much closer to the Unified Process than Scrum.
Until now my primary resource for information, that I also consider good information, implementing agile practices at an enterprise level has been Scaled Agile Framework. It is completely covered in the book Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise. The Scaled Agile Framework is great,but I am glad to have this second resource!!! The attempts to sell Scrum of Scrums for dealing with enterprise level concerns has failed miserably.
It has been a wild ride. When it was all about UP, RUP, EUP, PLE, and Waterfall I was always in a battle to trim back the process ceremony in order avoid waste being template zombies. Then the Agile Age of Aquarius took over and I couldn't get anyone to give any thought to anything before riding off into cowboy coding bliss. The majority of the projects went from tons of worthless documents to tons of worthless code!!!!
After spending a lot of time battling the Agile Age of Aquarius coding cowboys I am so thankful some of the leaders in the industry, like the authors of this book, are starting to swing the pendulum back the other way. I just wish people would get that it's about tailoring to meet the needs of a project with the resources available. One shoe size doesn't fit everyone.
The book goes into great detail explaining the need for DAD and break it down into digestible parts. The book has 7 parts. I have listed them below with the chapters in each.
Part 1: Introduction to Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)
Chapter 1: Disciplined Agile Delivery in a Nutshell
Chapter 2: Introduction to Agile and Lean
Chapter 3: Foundations of Disciplined Agile Delivery
Part 2: People First
Chapter 4: Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities
Chapter 5: Forming Disciplined Agile Teams
Part 3: Initiating a Disciplined Agile Delivery Project
Chapter 6: The Inception Phase
Chapter 7: Identify a Project Vision
Chapter 8: Identify the Scope
Chapter 9: Identify a Technical Strategy
Chapter 10: Initial Release Planning
Chapter 11: Forming the Team and Work Environment
Chapter 12: Case study: Inception phase
Part 4: Building a Consumable Solution Incrementally
Chapter 13: The Construction Phase
Chapter 14: Initiating a Construction Iteration
Chapter 15: A Typical Day During Construction
Chapter 16: Concluding a Construction Iteration
Chapter 17: Case study: Construction phase
Part 5: Releasing the Solution
Chapter 18: The Transition Phase
Chapter 19: Case study: Transition phase
Part 6: Disciplined Agile Delivery in the Enterprise
Chapter 20: Governing Disciplined Agile Teams
Chapter 21: Scaling Disciplined Agile Delivery
Chapter 22: Adoption and Tailoring
Chapter 23: Overcoming Organizational Impediments
Part 7: Conclusion
Chapter 24: Towards Lean Disciplined Agile Delivery
Chapter 25: Parting Thoughts
DAD is a hybrid of agile methods including Scrum, XP, Agile Modeling, Lean, Agile Data, and the Unified Process. It does what so many successful Agile projects are doing today that are larger in size. It uses what works, when its needed, and leaves the Agile Zealot Elitist Attitude behind. It is so refreshing to read an Agile book without the attitude.
DAD recognizes Scrum's shortcomings as primarily focused on management and brings back architecture and includes agile development practices that are easily excused from most Scrum projects.
DAD includes phases. It includes a project initiation and release activities that are missing from Scrum. DAD has three phases Inception, Construction, and Transition.
DAD also comes in two flavors, basic and advanced. The primary difference is that advanced is for more experienced teams that can take advantage of lean strategies which eliminates the iterations and the work item stack in favor of the work item pool. The book primarily focuses on the basic DAD process.
The only complaint I have about the book is that the diagrams showing the Disciplined Agile Delivery life cycle - Basic, and the Disciplined Agile Delivery life cycle - Advanced should have been full page diagrams. They are too small to read in the book. It is not really a big deal since they are available on the web.
The book is really well written. It is very detailed and also entertaining making very easy to read. Throughout the book "Lessons from the Trenches" sidebars bring real world experience to the topics being covered.
The authors also include a case study for each of the phases they cover based on a project that builds a point of sale system. This gives the reader the opportunity to see the artifact creating activities in action.
All in all I found the book to be an excellent resource for the agilist looking to move beyond small develop teams. It is an absolute must read for enterprise architects and other senior management working in the IT shop.