We are often asked how Disciplined Agile (DA) and PMI-ACP fit together and whether DA is meant to replace PMI-ACP. Fair enough. So I thought I would write this short blog to help clear the air. Here are the key points:
In summary, you don't have anything to worry about and it's only getting better.
I'm often asked how can someone learn about the Disciplined Agile (DA) tool kit. There are several ways that you can do so:
I was recently part of a business agility webinar for PMI's MENA (Middle East and North Africa) chapters. At the very end of the webinar we were asked a question that was along the lines of "How can you apply DA when you're unable to adopt new technologies?" which I answered quickly as we were out of time. My answer was a bit harsh at the time, which I share below, and in hindsight I wish I'd had time to answer more thoroughly. Hence this blog posting which presents a more thorough answer.
First, improvement doesn't always require new technology. Many of the techniques referenced by the Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit are technology independent. For example, consider the Coordinate Activities process goal diagram of Figure 1. Many of the techniques are manual in nature, such as Agile Modeling sessions (OK, you require the "technologies" of whiteboards, markers, and sticky notes), architecture owner teams (a cross-team group of people), and release windows (scheduled times when it's possible to release/deploy something to your customers). On the other hand, some improvements may require new technologies. For example, the strategy of adopt collaborative tools to coordinate between locations explicitly requires the adoption of agile management tools such as Atlassian's Jira or Zoho's Sprints. The point is that your organization's potential inability to adopt new technologies doesn't completely prevent you from making improvements to your way of working (WoW). As always, it depends.
Figure 1. The Coordinate Activities process goal.
Second, it's not that you can't adopt new strategies, it's that organizationally you choose not to. Stop looking for excuses to not improve, to not do what needs to be done for your organization to survive in the new competitive landscape that you face. Really. You need to stop making excuses. Your competitors are finding ways to adopt new technologies and so can you. You need to start making some hard choices now. My recommendation is that choose to succeed, and then choose to do the hard work required to do so.
Third, if you can't respond and improve quickly in the age of COVID-19 you're not likely to survive. This was pretty much my answer in the webinar. If there are groups in your organization preventing you from making the improvements that you need to compete and better serve your customers then you need to remove those blockers now. This may mean that you educate those people as to why you need to improve, help them find budget to support the changes, or even ask them to get out of your way. Yes, that final strategy may require leadership within your organization to rethink whether those people should still be employed by your organization - even if that includes some of them.
Fourth, helping your organization improve sounds like a great opportunity for your project management office (PMO). Earlier in the webinar PMI's Srini Srinivasan had addressed the issue of what role PMOs have in an agile organization. He understandably indicated that PMOs must offer real value and be seen doing so. If your organization is struggling to make the changes it needs to improve, that sounds like a pretty good opportunity for a PMO to add tangible value.
I can't tell you exactly what the "new normal," or perhaps more accurately the "new abnormal," will be in the COVID-19 and post COVID-19 environments. But I know that it will be much more competitive than what you've been used to up until now. I also know that it will require you to be able to better sense and respond to the changes in your environment. The Disciplined Agile (DA) tool kit can help you to do exactly this.
For years I’ve been involved with estimating a wide variety of things, have read about and then experimented with different estimation strategies, and taught and coached others in estimation. I’ve worked with, and learned from, hundreds of people who also have a wide range of estimation experience. Throughout all this I’ve identified several things that I believe to be true about the act of estimation.
In my experience, the quality of an estimate increases when:
The further away you are from these truisms the less dependable an estimate will be. As the old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.”. In the next blog in this series we will explore the trade-offs associated with estimation.
I recently wrote an article for PMI's ManageIndia magazine entitled Going Beyond Remote Agile: Are You Ready For Your Next Change? In the article I argue that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a “black swan event” that has forced most organizations to scramble to figure out how to do their work remotely. Many agile teams are struggling to work remotely, this being particularly tough for some agilists who had mistakenly convinced themselves that they needed to be co-located to be agile. Most teams now are well on the way to adopting common solutions to this challenge.
But what about next time? I work through five important points to lead you to organize your work smoothly and what you can do the next time you need to identify a new way of working (WoW):
We live in interesting times. The article Going Beyond Remote Agile: Are You Ready For Your Next Change? goes into detail and should provide valuable insights. You can download the full issue of PMI's ManageIndia April 2020 as a pdf.