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PMI Acquisition of Digital Agile Delivery (DAD)

You may have heard the announcement that PMI has acquired the Disciplined Agile Delivery Framework (DAD). This is a very significant announcment.

PMI and Disciplined Agile Delivery

What Does The PMI Disciplined Agile Delivery Announcement Mean?

What’s the Impact of This Announcement?

I think this announcement is very significant for a couple of reasons:

  1. From the DAD perspective, it puts a “stamp of approval” and official recognition on the Disciplined Agile Delivery framework
  2. From a PMI perspective, it helps PMI move closer to a more integrated project management approach that embraces Agile as well as traditional plan-driven project management

However, it leaves open a lot of questions about the future direction of this acquisition. A key motivation of both PMI and Disciplined Agile Delivery is probably to increase revenue from training and certifications. An increased emphasis on making the whole approach highly-standardized for training and certifications will likely be difficult to do. An over-emphasis on marketing may take it in the wrong direction.

How Has the Disciplined Agile Delivery Framework Been Expanded?

Over the last few years, the Disciplined Agile Delivery framework has been considerably expanded:

  • The original Disciplined Agile Delivery framework only had a single life-cycle model; the latest version has six.  
  • The original DAD framework was limited to a project-level framework. It has now been expanded to include enterprise-level functionality such as:
    • DevOps
    • IT
    • Agile Enterprise

My Own Thoughts and Opinions on This

Here’s a few of my own thoughts and opinions on this:

This Is Not a “Cookbook” Solution

Applying Agile at an enterprise level is a difficult thing to do. It requires a lot of skill to fit an appropriate approach to the business.  There are two major competitive frameworks that are positioning themselves for this role.  One is DAD, the other is the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).   Both of those frameworks might lead you to believe that they each have a “cookbook” solution to this problem.   They do not; both of those frameworks only provide guidance and might need a considerable amount of tailoring to fit the business.

My Recommendation: Don’t get lost in the detailed mechanics” of implementing DAD or SAFe . Don’t think that either one is a canned solution to any enterprise-level problem. At least DAD recognizes the need for tailoring to select the right lifecycle model and an appropriate level of enterprise-level extensions.

This Is Only the “First Shoe” to Drop for PMI

PMI has a long way to go to develop a much more fully-integrated project management approach embracing both Agile and traditional plan-driven project management.

  • For a number of years PMI treated Agile and traditional plan-driven project management as separate and independent domains of knowledge.. There was little or no integration between the two
  • The acquisition of Disciplined Agile Delivery is an important step towards developing a more integrated project management approach. Having said that, there is still a large gap that remains to be filled. I observed that the Disciplined Agile Delivery framework does not directly recognize any role for an Agile Project Manager. That’s a major hole that needs to be addressed that has got to be critically important to PMI. There are significant questions such as “What is the message to existing project managers – where do they fit into this model?”

My Recommendation: Stay Tuned for more to come. Developing a more integrated project management approach embracing both Agile and traditional plan-driven project management is very difficult to do. It is not clear how it will evolve. I’m sure that there are some people who might think PMBOK v7 will be the answer to that problem.

Related Articles

Check out the following related articles on “Agile and PMI”:

Vitality Chicago has also published a very insightful article on the acquisition of Disciplined Agile by PMI: The Impact of PMI’s Acquisition of Disciplined Agile

Check out the following related articles on “Enterprise-level Agile”:

Additional Resources

Resources for Agile Project Management Online Training.

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