Home > Articles > Software Development & Management > Agile

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

People First

Alistair Cockburn refers to people as “non-linear, first-order components” in the software development process. His observation, based on years of ethnographic work, is that people and the way that they collaborate are the primary determinants of success in IT solution delivery efforts. This philosophy, reflected in the first value statement of the Agile Manifesto, permeates DAD. DAD team members should be self-disciplined, self-organizing, and self-aware. The DAD process framework provides guidance that DAD teams leverage to improve their effectiveness, but it does not prescribe mandatory procedures.

The traditional approach of having formal handoffs of work products (primarily documents) between different disciplines such as requirements, analysis, design, test, and development is a very poor way to transfer knowledge that creates bottlenecks and proves in practice to be a huge source of waste of both time and money. The waste results from the loss of effort to create interim documentation, the cost to review the documentation, and the costs associated with updating the documentation. Yes, some documentation will be required, but rarely as much as is promoted by traditional techniques. Handoffs between people provide opportunities for misunderstandings and injection of defects and are described in lean software development as one of seven sources of waste. When we create a document we do not document our complete understanding of what we are describing, and inevitably some knowledge is “left behind” as tacit knowledge that is not passed on. It is easy to see that after many handoffs the eventual deliverable may bear little resemblance to the original intent. In an agile environment, the boundaries between disciplines should be torn down and handoffs minimized in the interest of working as a team rather than specialized individuals.

In DAD we foster the strategy of cross-functional teams made up of cross-functional people. There should be no hierarchy within the team, and team members are encouraged to be cross-functional in their skillset and indeed perform work related to disciplines other than their specialty. The increased understanding that the team members gain beyond their primary discipline results in more effective use of resources and reduced reliance on formal documentation and handoffs.

As such, agile methods deemphasize specific roles. In Scrum for instance, there are only three Scrum team roles: ScrumMaster, product owner, and team member. Nonteam roles can be extended to stakeholder and manager. The primary roles described by DAD are stakeholder, team lead, team member, product owner, and architecture owner. These roles are described in detail in Chapter 4, “Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities.”

Notice that tester and business analyst are not primary roles in the DAD process framework. Rather, a generic team member should be capable of doing multiple things. A team member who specializes in testing might be expected to volunteer to help with requirements, or even take a turn at being the ScrumMaster (team lead). This doesn’t imply that everyone needs to be an expert at everything, but it does imply that the team as a whole should cover the skills required of them and should be willing to pick up any missing skills as needed. However, as you learn in Chapter 4, DAD also defines several secondary roles often required in scaling situations.

Team members are often “generalizing specialists” in that they may be a specialist in one or more disciplines but should have general knowledge of other disciplines as well. More importantly, generalizing specialists are willing to collaborate closely with others, to share their skills and experiences with others, and to pick up new skills from the people they work with. A team made up of generalizing specialists requires few handoffs between people, enjoys improved collaboration because the individuals have a greater appreciation of the background skills and priorities of the various IT disciplines, and can focus on what needs to be done as opposed to focusing on whatever their specialties are.

However, there is still room for specialists. For example, your team may find that it needs to set up and configure a database server. Although you could figure it out yourselves, it’s probably easier, faster, and less expensive if you could have someone with deep experience help your team for a few days to work with you to do so. This person could be a specialist in database administration. In scaling situations you may find that your build becomes so complex that you need someone(s) specifically focused on doing just that. Or you may bring one or more business analyst specialists onto the team to help you explore the problem space in which you’re working.

DAD teams and team members should be

  • Self-disciplined in that they commit only to the work they can accomplish and then perform that work as effectively as possible
  • Self-organizing, in that they estimate and plan their own work and then proceed to collaborate iteratively to do so
  • Self-aware, in that they strive to identify what works well for them, what doesn’t, and then learn and adjust accordingly

Although people are the primary determinant of success for IT solution delivery projects, in most situations it isn’t effective to simply put together a good team of people and let them loose on the problem at hand. If you do this then the teams run several risks, including investing significant time in developing their own processes and practices, ramping up on processes or practices that more experienced agile teams have discovered are generally less effective or efficient, and not adapting their own processes and practices effectively. We can be smarter than that and recognize that although people are the primary determinant of success they aren’t the only determinant. The DAD process framework provides coherent, proven advice that agile teams can leverage and thereby avoid or at least minimize the risks described previously.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020