PMI plus Disciplined Agile might be a marriage made in Heaven

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The announcement of the acquisition of Disciplined Agile (DA) by PMI is almost a month old so I thought I would share my thoughts on it.

There is no doubt that PMI has been flirting with agile progressively over the past decade. The launch of the PMI-ACP credential, the addition of adaptive life cycle considerations to the PMBOK® Guide, Sixth Edition and the release of the Agile Practice Guide were all signs of this growing interest.

However, PMI suffers from being perceived as a champion of bureaucratic, traditional approaches to business value delivery which has generated a fair bit of cynicism from the agile community. The partnership with the Agile Alliance which led to the development and publication of the Agile Practice Guide were viewed by some as a unhealthy dalliance or a marriage of convenience.

Correcting perceptions and developing sufficient intellectual property (IP) would have taken PMI many years to do organically so acquiring legitimate thought leadership, credibility and IP was the better strategic move. A key decision was to choose either a method-centric (e.g. SAFe, LeSS) or method-agnostic (e.g. Disciplined Agile, Modern Agile) organization. Given the need to address a global market with varied needs, agnosticism won out.

There are a number of potential advantages to PMI, DA and practitioners.

PMI now has the ability to incorporate the significant intellectual property of DA within their knowledge base and by doing so, enhance the value proposition of their standards and practice guides. While tailoring considerations were minimally explored in the PMBOK® Guide, Sixth Edition, they can now go much deeper by leveraging the DA process decision-making framework. PMI can also expand the breadth of their credentials and by doing so, will add credibility to the existing DA ones. Given the strategic relationships which PMI's senior leadership has forged with major global corporations, this acquisition will open doors for DA which might not have been possible otherwise which in turn might accelerate the evolution of DA. It is also an opportunity for the DA framework to go beyond technology delivery.

But there are some risks, including the dilution of thought leadership, the obsolescence of existing credentials and the risk of PMI actively competing with partners (e.g. Registered Education Providers). PMI might also make the mistake of not fully integrating DA into their offerings which would limit the benefits realized from this acquisition.

If there is a single piece of advice I'd like to pass along to PMI & DA, it is from Audrey Hepburn: “If I get married, I want to be very married.

Posted on: September 08, 2019 07:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (9)

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Interesting points Kiron - Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We shall wait and see how this marriage will shape up.

Insightful and well-written, Kiron, as always. Thanks for sharing with us.

You mentioned the perception that PMI favors bureaucracy. This is very real and deeply embedded in Agile communities. If PMI wants to truly benefit from this acquisition, we need more than just DA's brand. I hope there are plans to use DA to teach us, the PMI members and practitioners, so we can finally shed this negative perception by consistently demonstrating competency with modern agility culture and practices.

Thanks Rami - we certainly shall!

Wade - 100% agree. My hope is that PMI will start to demonstrate agility in not just their knowledge resources (e.g. standards) but also in how they engage with their membership and partners.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kiron

Thank you very much for sharing

nice read. Thanks for your contribution.

All points that you emphasize make sense, nevertheless I will wait to see if in practice this will result in a successful marriage, I cannot forget as you said and well that there are strong competition from well successful and recognized providers of agile methodologies or frameworks, at least in Europe in agile they lead the market, I do not have a deep knowledge of the USA market so I do not know who leads there. Aside from that your article is an excellent reflection of this strategic decision of PMI.

Good points, Kiron and thanks for sharing.

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