The Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant

This section of the portal is for supporting the Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant Workshop (DAVSC), currently under development. Discussions on the pages here will take place on the Disciplined Agile LinkedIn group.


The role of the DA VSC

The Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant has the responsibility for guiding an organization to improve the way they create new products and services as well as maintain their existing products and services. Doing this requires guiding the organization to:

  • understand underlying principles that enable this to all roles in the organization
  • decide what practices would work best for them
  • effectively organize and allocate people to the work that has to be done
  • agree to metrics to use
  • work with the business operations side so they can see how to support these efforts
  • make agreements across the board that supports the transformation

To do this requires attending to the main areas of IT, product and service development:

  • Strategic planning and budgeting
  • Lean management
  • Portfolio management
  • Product management
  • The development intake process
  • How to create effective value streams
  • Dependency management, collaboration and planning
  • Shared services
  • DevOps
  • Support

Why Value Stream Consultant?

Value streams describe the steps of work that take place from the origination of an idea until value is delivered to the person(s) for which it was created. Many Agile approaches focus on only part of the value stream, typically the development or IT area. One can think of the value stream as a pipeline of value being created. A clog at the front or back blocks the pipe. Even though most of the work is in the development group the entire path has to be attended to.

Comparing the DA VSC with the SPC

From the Scaled Agile Framework website: Certified SAFe® Program Consultants (SPCs) are change agents who combine their technical knowledge of SAFe with an intrinsic motivation to improve the company’s software and systems development processes. They play a critical role in successfully implementing SAFe. SPCs come from numerous internal or external roles, including business and technology leaders, portfolio/program/project managers, process leads, architects, analysts, and consultants.

There are a few significant differences between a DAVSC and an SPC:

The DA VSC is both a consultant and a coach. DA FLEX addresses a common dilemma – “people want a set solution but no one-size fits all.” The DAVSC is not attempting to implement particular practices that form a framework. Disciplined Agile is not a framework. There are no set practices to implement. Rather, Disciplined Agile is a process-decision toolkit that provides straightforward guidance to help people, teams, and organizations to streamline their processes in a context-sensitive manner. The DA VSC’s role is to help decide what to do (consultant) while helping them implement it (coach).

The philosophy of implementing change is different in Disciplined Agile than in SAFe. SAFe typically starts at the program level. Its focus is on getting Agile teams organized into Agile Release Trains (ARTs). Agile Release trains are long-lived teams of Agile teams, which, along with other stakeholders, incrementally develops, delivers, and where applicable operates, one or more solutions in a value stream. ARTs are usually created by looking across the organization and having all of the necessary people work together. This is often a good start to unjam an organization that has many silos. But the DAVSC will look toward better ways to form smaller, more Agile teams. The DAVSC will consider multiple options for team and team of team creation.

The DA VSC is not limited to SAFe principles or practices. Several key concepts are missing in SAFe. The DA VSC must introduce these to their organization. In addition, the mindset of the DA VSC is significantly different and rooted more in Lean, Flow, ToC and organizational development than SAFe.

Disciplined Agile attempts to decompose Agile Release Trains (ARTs) into what we call “dedicated product teams.” For organizations that couldn’t get anything released for a year or more SAFe’s creation of ARTs and using program increment planning to get value out the door is fantastic. However, after this initial silo-busting, these ARTs need to be broken out into teams or team of teams that are dedicated to a particular product or service.

Upon Completion  of the Workshop You Will Be Able To:

  • discuss how Disciplined Agile FLEX can improve SAFe adoptions
  • provide training of the tailored DA approach to leadership and management roles in the organization
  • work effectively as a lean transformation agent with organizations of any sizes.
  • work with organizations to jointly perform an assessment to understand and demonstrate where they are
  • work with organizations to use this assessment to create a suggested improvement backlog
  • work with the organization to jointly create an adoption backlog for them
  • start each step of the improvement backlog
  • work with an organization to clarify its objectives
  • show organizations how to effectively implement effective governance without restricting how teams can choose their own Way of Working.