The Disciplined Agile™ Mindset:
PMI South Asia

The Disciplined Agile™ Mindset: Why Practitioners are Adopting it

Managing projects in today’s uncertain and volatile environment needs new thinking and a wider set of capabilities. Many practitioners struggle to deliver because of one core mistake – their rigid approach toward how they manage work. Instead of getting stuck in a single methodology or technique, you need to stay open and adjust your approach to suit your context.

The Disciplined Agile™ (DA) toolkit allows multiple teams across an organization to choose tools and techniques to fit their o wn ways of working (WOW). Team members can pick from a wide range of Lean and agile tools by weighing in the trade-offs that come with that choice.

Being a non-prescriptive framework, it provides immense flexibility to practitioners.

DA offers a number of benefits to an organiza tion, such as more transparency, increased throughput, minimal costs, higher business value, and faster time-to-market. These benefits are driving the adoption of DA among agile practitioners.

We spoke to a few practitioners who have taken up the Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM)™ or the Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master (DASSM)™ certification to understand why they chose these certifications.

Works for Both IT and Non-IT Projects
Each project has its own context, and applying standard agile practices to every project is not a practical approach. The key benefit of DASSM is that it provides a context-based way of project execution. DASSM is helpful while executing both IT and non-IT projects. For example, it offers guidance on how to manage team talent, manage resources, and train a team.

Earlier, projects were delivered based on the customer and organization’s mandated approach. After getting the DASSM certification, it gives me the confidence to justify to the project stakeholder s the project framework I choose based on the current context. As per the DA toolkit, it is not mandatory to adapt or follow a single agile approach across an organization, like in the Scaled Agile Framework, or the Scrum Agile Framework.

The DASSM certification is beneficial for anyone in the organization who is involved in the project, program, and portfolio delivery management teams. Having a DA mindset can make the organization work in innovative ways. Continuous adaptations are possible with evolving business requirements without impacting the expected business value of the project.

Freedom to Choose Your Way of Working

I am among the first set of professionals who took the DASSM certification. I have been a certified Scrum Master for a few years. I chose DASSM because of the following benefits it offers:

It offers a hybrid approach to agile methodologies like XP, Scrum, and Kanban, choosing the best elements from each, and addressing the gaps in them.
Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) provides a pragmatic approach from which a team can tailor a solution-delivery process to suit the context.
It allows you to implement metrics to measure improvements based on the struggles you are facing.
DAD approach advances your focus from producing software to providing solutions—which is where real business value lies.

DASSM has helped me scale up the agile mindset and given me the confidence to decide on a way of working tha t is most beneficial to my customers and other stakeholders. The DA toolkit has introduced us to a great number of options to choose from and made us aware of the tradeoffs. It enables various activities like software development, IT operations or finance to collaborate better. Above all, the team has the freedom to choose their own strategies, methods, and frameworks.

Thus, the DASSM certification is a must-have for anyone who is delivering a solution internally or to customers, and project and delivery managers who want to scale up their delivery approach for better project success. It is also needed for Scrum Masters who want to move to a leadership role.

Organizations that are currently following hybrid methodologies and want to move to an agile approach must seriously consider DA.

Build an Agile Team Quickly

Most companies jump wholeheartedly onto the agile bandwagon, only to realize that when they pick up a particular methodology, say Scrum or Kanban, it does not exactly fall in line with their existing team structures. A lot of changes are then needed within teams to adopt an agile methodology.

Not all teams are inherently agile. Agile transformation is an uphill climb with additional rigid rules of agile methodologies. Hence, the Scrum Master finds it hard to resolve issues effectively.

With the DASSM, the changes are quite minimal. DASSM advocates starting from whatever point the team or the company is in at the moment in the agile journey. DA understands that one glove does not fit all, and hence it is devised in a flexible manner to address each team’s requirements. The concept of choosing your WOW is unique to DA and that helps every functioning team become agile within a minimal time frame.

The Scrum Master finds that the load of transitioning the team into agile with DA is relatively easy because of its adaptability. The team can slip into the agile mindset without too much strain. DA training can immensely benefit the companies that are looking for an agile transformation to meet their business goals.

DA Does not Support a Prescriptive Approach

What impressed me the most about DA when I first heard about it was the concept of choosing your WOW, as against prescriptive methodologies like SAFe®. And now after having undergone the DASSM training and certification, I am more enlightened about the power of the DA toolkit, and the breadth and depth of its coverage. DA is neither a methodology nor does it support a prescriptive approach. It gives a lot of flexibility in how and what you want to adopt. I have found the process goal diagrams to be very powerful when it comes to DAD.

DASSM has helped me look at the problems at hand differently. I now apply the goal diagram technique to go through the various options, and choose what fits the best in current needs.

Anyone who is delivering value should get introduced to the DA toolkit. Through this single resource, they will learn about various lean concepts and the power of a pull system. It will help value creators to break the mould and open their minds to new ways of doing things and eliminating waste in all forms.

As practitioners, we need to champion DA within our organizations so that the top management sees value and encourages senior executives to pursue the DASSM certification.

Powering Agile at Scale

The DASSM certification is driving agile practices and techniques to solve complex challenges. Anyone with an interest in pursuing agile can access a number of unique benefits. It focuses on skills that are critical for a Scrum Master while guiding the team to deliver productive results. Besides, it comes with practical tools and insights that enable development of the right team culture and collaboration for business agility.

Leveraging the right practices from the extensive DA framework is extremely useful for Scrum Masters who are involved in large-scale product development. This helps them scale and optimize the processes.

DASSM is an advanced course, for which one needs have a basic understanding of agile and scrum. Whether you are a Scrum Master, a team agile coach or a project manager, you will develop a good understanding of the right orientation and tools for agile at scale with this certification.

To know more, watch the video testimonials by certified DA Senior Scrum Masters here.