Since Disciplined Agile (DA) joined the PMI family in August 2019 we've gotten a collection of questions from people along the lines of "Why is there a difference between the advice in DA and PMI's advice?" So I thought I would write a few blogs examining why that is. This is the first.
There are several reasons why there are differences between existing DA and existing (non-DA) PMI materials:
- They were created by different groups of people. It's natural to get different takes on a topic from different groups of people.
- DA took on a broader scope than PMI traditionally has (until now). PMI has focused on project management and critical topics surrounding it such as program management, portfolio management, and governance (amongst others). That is the scope that PMI chose to focus on and has frankly done a very good job at doing so. The scope of DA, on the other hand, has been to address how to take an agile/lean approach to all aspects of an organization, including but not limited to management. This is a much broader scope than what PMI has taken on, until now. As a result DA addresses marketing, finance, enterprise architecture, operations, governance, software development, and many other process areas that are important to modern organizations. Why is this broader scope important to PMI? Because all of these areas need to be managed/led and governed. I believe there's an interesting implication there. ;-)
- PMI has traditionally gone very deep into management and the governance of management activities. I'll let the great material in our standards and practice guides speak for itself. As Stan Lee was prone to say, 'Nuff said.
- DA has traditionally taken a more holistic view. DA includes both what is being managed as well as the management/leadership of it. For example, consider The Standard for Program Management Fourth Edition. Where the existing PMI standard does a fantastic job of addressing the management aspects of a traditional program it doesn't go into critical "doing aspects" of programs such as how to address architecture, requirements, and quality activities (it does address planning and management though) for example. This isn't meant to be a criticism of the standard but merely an observation - When we (PMI) developed the standard our focus, and once again rightfully so, was on management and governance. It was not on the overall, holistic view of what occurs with a program. With DA we choose to take a more holistic view, as do agile frameworks such as SAFeR and LeSS amongst others, and go beyond management and governance.
My point is that there are very good reasons for the differences between what is in DA and what PMI has traditionally focused on. These differences are an important aspect of the value proposition of DA for PMI, and more importantly for our membership, because we can learn from these differences and then improve and grow based on those learnings. We're currently evolving DA based on the great material encompassed by the existing PMI standards and practice guides and our hope is that the existing PMI offerings will evolve to reflect Disciplined Agile ways of working (WoW) too.
In the next blog in this series I will do a deep dive into the differences between DA's take on Program Management and the PMI Program Management Standard. I suspect this will help to make some of the ideas in this blog more concrete and it will certainly make the opportunity before us a bit more explicit.