Project Management

Disciplined Agile

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This blog contains details about various aspects of PMI's Disciplined Agile (DA) tool kit, including new and upcoming topics.

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Tatsiana Balshakova
Mark Lines
Mike Griffiths
Scott Ambler
Bjorn Gustafsson
Curtis Hibbs
James Trott

Past Contributors:

Joshua Barnes
Michael Richardson
Daniel Gagnon
Valentin Tudor Mocanu
Kashmir Birk
Glen Little
Klaus Boedker

Recent Posts

DA 5.6 is released

Disciplined Agile 5.5 Released

Choose Your WoW! Second Edition Is Now Available

Requisite Agility applied in Project Management

Disciplined Agile and PMBoK Guide 7th Edition

DA 5.6 is released

On 30 June 2022, we released Disciplined Agile (DA) v5.6. The focus of this release was to:

  • Add the Transformation process goal diagram.
  • Improve consistency in the way we describe governance in several blades: Asset management, Continuous improvement, Data management, Enterprise architecture, IT Operations, People Management, Product Management, Release Management, Security, Support
  • Update the following several process blades:
  • Update the following several process goals:
  • Add and update reference links to existing techniques. This is an ongoing effort and there is more to come.
  • Update descriptions of techniques. This is also an ongoing effort to keep our material up to date.

This release does not affect any DA exams or courseware.

Posted by Curtis Hibbs on: June 30, 2022 12:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Disciplined Agile 5.5 Released

Disciplined Agile Logo

On March 31st, 2022 we released Disciplined Agile (DA) v5.5. The focus of this release was to:

  1. Update several process blades:
    • Portfolio Management. We added the Address Portfolio Risk decision point to capture strategies for aggregating and addressing risk at the portfolio level.
    • Program Management. Added the Address Program Risk and Measure Program decision points which were previously options of Govern the Program. Address Program Risk is similar to Address Portfolio Risk, albeit at a different level, and Measure Program focuses on how to aggregate and work with metrics at the program level. We also refactored the Organize Teams decision point, pulling out a new Organize Program Leadership decision point to focus on those options and making Organize Teams an ordered list of strategies.
    • Product Management. Added the Citizen Development option to the Evolve Vision decision point in our ongoing work to support the great work going on in the CD space.
    • Vendor Management. Added the Intake Requests decision point to capture strategies to bring work into the VM team.  We renamed the Choose Commercial Model decision point to Choose Contract Model to increase consistency within this blade.
  2. Update several process goals:
    • Accelerate Value Delivery. We added the three new decision points: Optimize Team, Optimize Work, and Optimize Flow. As the names imply, they capture strategies to optimize how you have organized your team, your overall work strategy, and how to improve flow within your team and with teams that you collaborate with. These decision points capture great strategies for accelerate value delivery by your team.
    • Align With Enterprise Direction. In recent releases of DA we've added significant support for metrics, and recently we realized that we haven't explicitly called out strategies to align your team's measurement strategy with areas of the organization that you are part of.  As a result we added the Align Measurement Strategy decision point.
    • Form Team. We renamed the Structure of Team strategy Internal Open Source to Innersource to reflect current naming conventions for that strategy.
  3. Add and update reference links to existing techniques. This is an ongoing effort and there is more to come.
  4. Update descriptions of techniques. It is also an ongoing effort to keep our material up to date.
Posted by Scott Ambler on: March 31, 2022 01:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Choose Your WoW! Second Edition Is Now Available

Categories: book

Choose Your WoW 2nd Edition

I'm proud to say that the second edition of Choose Your WoW! is now available.  It was released in early February and as you can see my physical copies arrived today, and they look great.

 

Choose Your WoW! is Concise

The focus of the second edition is to provide an overview of the DA tool kit, rather than the first edition which provides both an overview and detailed reference information. As you know we updated the reference material on a quarterly basis, as per our version control strategy, which meant the reference material contained in the first edition has gotten out of sync with the current material. To address this issue we have removed sections 2-5 from Choose Your WoW, which provided reference information for Inception, Construction, Transition, and Ongoing process goals respectively. This information is now captured on PMI.org, via a combination of the process goal overview pages and in the DA Browser.

In short, pun intended, the second edition is 125 pages where the first edition was 441 pages.  As you can see in the picture below, the difference is clear.

Choose Your WoW 2nd Edition

 

Choose Your WoW! is Updated 

We have also updated the overview material in the book to bring it into alignment with version 5.3 of the DA tool kit.  The key changes that we made to the material are:

  • Chapter 1: Added Figure 1.4, a screen shot from the DA Browser; Updated Figure 1.6 (Scope of DA diagram), to reflect the simplification of the Foundation layer.
  • Chapter 2: Updated Figure 2.2 to reflect the updated scaling factors (we went from 6 to 7). Changes: We added the Skill Availability factor, renamed Technical Complexity to Solution Complexity, and made the choices on the vertices non-IT specific.
  • Chapter 3: Figure 3.3 (process goals overview) updated to list the three new Ongoing process goalsMeasure OutcomesOrganize Metrics, and Intake Work; Figure 3.6 (tactical scaling factors) updated to reflect the 7 tactical scaling factors.
  • Chapter 4: No changes of note.
  • Chapter 5: Figure 5.1 (process goal level of detail) updated to reflect the new scope of this book; Figure 5.2 (process goals overview) this is a repeat of Figure 3.3 above; Figure 5.5 is now a screen shot from the DA Browser rather than a text table; and Figure 5.6 added, a screen shot from the DA Browser showing how references work.
  • Chapter 6: Figure 6.11 (MBI/MVP overview) updated to make the descriptions clearer; Figure 6.14 (choosing a lifecycle flowchart) simplified to reflect feedback from practitioners.
  • Chapter 7: This is now an updated version Chapter 28 from the first edition.
  • References: Reduced the number of references because many of them were specific to Sections 2-5 in the First edition. All of those references removed from the book appear in the DA Browser as references.
  • Index: Reduced in size due to the removal of sections 2-5. 

 

Choose Your WoW! is in Color

The first edition was in monochrome the second edition, as you can see in the picture below, is in color.  Although my photo isn't the greatest, the color really is sharp.

Choose Your WoW 2nd Edition

 

How to Get Choose Your WoW! Second Edition

There are several ways that you can obtain a copy of the book:

  1. Free PDF. Like many PMI books, all current PMI members can download a personalized PDF of the book.  
  2. From the PMI book store. At the PMI bookstore we are selling it for $19.95 US for either paper or EPUB format.
  3. From Amazon. The book will be available at the various Amazons throughout the world in the coming weeks. 

All three options are linked to from the Choose Your WoW! book page.

Mark Lines, myself, and everyone at PMI hope that you find the book a valuable asset on your learning journey.

Posted by Scott Ambler on: March 01, 2022 03:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)

Requisite Agility applied in Project Management

Requisite Agility applied in Project Management

This blog provides an overview of how Requisite Agility can be applied to Project Management.

In the age, of the convergence of AI, IoT, Blockchain, Cloud Computing, Robotics and AGV’s, as the pace of change and disruptions accelerates, requires us to be more open to the unknown and therefore to be more nimble, flexible and adaptive than ever before.

Project Managers have always been concerned with ensuring deliveries based on quality specifications, on time, within budget. In our new realities, requirements change in real-time. Our deliveries on time to forecast is meaningless if the competitors are faster. A budget only matters if the organization is synchronized in real-time changes with the markets and communities it serves.

In the Origin of Species, the biologist Charles Darwin described evolution as the “survival of the fittest”. The fittest did not mean the species with the most resources and health. The fittest species were the ones who were most resourceful and adaptive in the face of changes in their context and environment.

We need to distinguishing Agility and Agile. Agile is a specific set of tools and practices developed for small, stable, software teams using semi-autonomous teams, visual metrics and rapid iterations and release of usable code. Agility is the ability to think and act quickly and flexibly. It is a characteristic that exists in every living thing in the universe.

Agility as a characteristic by itself is not enough. For example, a professional boxer can have amazing agility in the gym. Lightning-fast hand speed, head, foot and body movement and an open adaptive mind. But he, she or they will lose when he is in the ring with someone who has greater agility.

Agility by itself is not enough. We need is Requisite Agility. Requisite means what is required or necessary in any given situation. In our boxing example, requisite is measured by the agility of the opponent. A new mindset is required in complex ecosystems and competitive environments.

Requisite agility is the capacity to make fast and flexible changes in relation to required context and conditions. The best example of requisite agility is our heart. It is constantly sensing and adapting in relation to changing circumstances. If it did not make these requisite adjustments, we would die.

There are at least five ways Requisite Agility (RA) can be applied to project management.

Waterfall Project Management

Requisite Agility in Project Management

Control and Obedience

Command-and-control cultures rely on top-down approvals of bottom-up status reports. The individual is the unit of production. In a Project Charter has the name of the person “accountable” which means who will be recognized, rewarded or punished. Regardless of systemic, structural and cultural impediments. The role of the supervisor is to plan, organize, lead, inspire, control and educate. (POLICE). Project Management enforces this culture.

Collaborative Intelligence
Sensors (human and technical) are in distributed networks (like our brain). The more nimble and more adaptive the connections between the parts the greater the intelligence, productivity and resilience in people, teams and organizations. Managers at all levels apply Gemba on a daily basis.

Teams are the unit of production. Individuals are accountable to the team they serve on. The team is invested in the success of every individual on the team. Project Management facilitates the nurturing and development of collaborative intelligence.

Functional Fragmentation

The organization is designed around horizontal control relationships of supply (organisational capabilities) and demand (customer needs).

Each downstream team or function is the internal customer of groups upstream, demanding their needs to be met. Customers make demands to fulfil capacities they lack. Project Managers are passive sensors and enforcers of budget, quality and time constraints that are out of their control.

Synchronous
RA transcends industrial concepts of supply and demand. The doctor is as dependent on the patient’s capability as much as the patient is on the doctors. In a healthy relationship both work together. Both are dependent on the synchronicity of the system as a whole. Project Managers are active systemic sensors engaged in continuous feedback, learning and adaptation. In a world Beyond Budgeting they are no longer helpless observers of a system designed out of their control.

Compliance-Driven Values

Values are written on the wall. Policies on ethics, fraud, fairness, equity and diversity are published.  People are expected to comply.  Project Managers police the compliance of abstract values. The unintended consequence of these sincere, good intentions is to create a low-trust, fear-based culture. But the only true source of integrity comes from within.

Seva
Seva is the Sanskrit word for being in union with and in service of humanity. Agile Coaches or Scrum Masters are servant-leaders. They are not in a parent-child relationship, they engage in mature adult-adult relationships based on mutual service and success. Project Managers are attuned to the presence or absence of Seva in themselves and the people they work with.

Unidisciplinary
There have always been ‘trades’ so it was natural for the industrial age to force people into even deeper specialization. Disciplines define us. Power is centralized. Cross-functional teamwork, alignment and dependencies hold a fractured foundation together. But resources, rewards, metrics, and performance systems revert to the individual as the unit of production.  We work with each other in an inter-disciplinary manner but ultimately we are expected to “stick to our lane” and are measured by the success of our functional silo.

Transdisciplinary

In the digital age technical specialization has become even more critical. We recognise that organizations are living systems, where the health is in the quality of relationships between the parts. Power is decentralized in networks of relationships.  The boundaries of industry sectors are blurring. Value streams are being aligned across eco-systems. Value is created in the white space, beyond the boundaries of the disciplines that define us. Being transdisciplinary reduces risk, increases innovation and makes us more resilient because it draws more value out of specialization.

Change Management

Change Management models based on the formula of “unfreeze, change, refreeze” are too flat footed in the era of digital transformation. Project Management adheres to Chronos (clock) Time: Deadlines and on-time-delivery are necessary but not sufficient. What is the value in meticulously tracking change requests in a proactive, team-based learning organization that is continuously and purposefully changing and improving?

Shaping Transitions
Project Managers (PM’s) adjust their approach across different levels of complexity. PM’s are trusted advisors in the business, not outsiders used as enforcers to ensure compliance. PM’s attune to how customers experience value. PM’s attune to the coherence and cadence of community or customer needs, desires and potential. They apply this awareness to engage in continuous, real time learning and development of people, teams and the organization as a whole.


PMI’s own research shows the dramatic difference in performance outcomes between organizations that apply agility and those that don’t.

 Requisite Agility enables organizations to deliver performance outcomes even higher than those who are only focused on agility, alone.

Posted by Kashmir Birk on: December 10, 2021 05:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Disciplined Agile and PMBoK Guide 7th Edition

Categories: PMBoK, PMI and DA

PMBoK 7th Edition and Disciplined Agile

We are often asked what the relationship is between Disciplined Agile (DA) and A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®Guide) 7th Edition (PMBoK7). We thought we would share our thoughts on the topic, presented as a frequently asked question (FAQ) list. 

 

Q: Is PMBoK7 based on DA?

A: No, PMBoK7 was written independently of DA. Like DA, PMBoK7 is based on ideas and experiences from a wide range of people and sources so there’s clear overlap.

 

Q: How much coverage does DA include of PMBoK7?

A: A lot. As you can see in the DA Browser, techniques captured in both PMBoK7 and PMBoK6 are referenced extensively in DA. Having said that, we’re in the process of updating those references so that they point to the same topics in PMIstandards+, which is PMI’s digital version of our standards, guides, and how-to content.

 

Q: How much coverage does PMBoK7 include of DA?

A: It depends on how you look at it.  Explicitly, very little.  Implicitly, a fair bit. As we indicated earlier, there is a lot of overlap between what PMBoK7 covers and DA.  Both capture known, effective, and practical strategies.

 

Q: Why doesn't PMBoK7 include more DA concepts, given that it was published after PMI purchased DA?

A: DA was purchased by PMI in August 2019 and PMBoK7 was published in June 2021. Given that PMBoK7 is an ANSI standard, the submitted version of PMBoK7 was pretty much finalized at the point that PMI acquired DA. 

 

Q: How do the PMBoK7 principles map to the DA mindset?

The following table presents a mapping of the PMBoK7 principles to the principles, promises, and guidelines of the DA mindset.  We intend to publish a detailed blog on this topic in the near future.

PMBoK7 Principle

Disciplined Agile

Be a diligent, respectful, and caring steward

  • Principle: Be awesome
  • Principle: Enterprise awareness
  • Promise: Create psychological safety and embrace diversity
  • Guideline: Leverage and enhance organizational assets

Create a collaborative team environment

  • Principle: Be awesome
  • Promise: Keep workloads within capacity
  • Guideline: Create effective environments that foster joy
  • Guideline: Attend to relationships through the value stream
  • Guideline: Create semi-autonomous, self-organizing teams

Effectively engage with stakeholders

  • Principle: Delight customers
  • Principle: Enterprise awareness
  • Promise: Collaborate proactively
  • Guideline: Apply design thinking

Focus on value

  • Principle: Delight customers
  • Principle: Organize around products/services
  • Promise: Accelerate value realization
  • Guideline: Apply design thinking
  • Guideline: Attend to relationships through the value stream
  • Guideline: Adopt measures to improve outcomes

Recognize, evaluate, and respond to system interactions

  • Principle: Optimize flow
  • Principle: Context counts
  • Promise: Make all work and workflow visible
  • Guideline: Attend to relationships through the value stream
  • Guideline: Apply design thinking
  • Guideline: Adopt measures to improve outcomes.

Demonstrate leadership behaviors

  • Principle: Be awesome
  • Principle: Be pragmatic
  • Principle: Enterprise awareness
  • Promise: Create psychological safety and embrace diversity
  • Guideline: Attend to relationships

Tailor based on context

  • Principle: Context counts
  • Principle: Choice is good
  • Promise: Improve continuously
  • Guideline: Validate our learnings
  • Guideline: Apply design thinking

Build quality into processes and deliverables

  • Principle: Delight customers
  • Principle: Be awesome
  • Principle: Optimize flow
  • Promise: Improve continuously
  • Guideline: Adopt measures to improve outcomes
  • Guideline: Leverage and enhance organizational assets

Navigate complexity

  • Principle: Be pragmatic
  • Principle: Organize around products/services
  • Promise: Make all work and workflow visible
  • Promise: Collaborate proactively
  • Guideline: Attend to relationships through the value stream
  • Guideline: Create semi-autonomous, self-organizing teams

Optimize risk responses

  • Principle: Be pragmatic
  • Principle: Enterprise awareness
  • Principle: Delight customers
  • Principle: Optimize flow
  • Promise: Make all work and workflow visible
  • Promise: Collaborate proactively

Embrace adaptability and resiliency

  • Principle: Be pragmatic
  • Principle: Enterprise Awareness
  • Promise: Improve continuously
  • Guideline: Adopt measures to improve outcomes.
  • Guideline: Leverage and enhance organizational assets

Enable change to achieve the envisioned future state

  • Principle: Context Counts
  • Principle: Choice is good
  • Principle: Enterprise awareness
  • Promise: Improve continuously
  • Promise: Collaborate proactively
  • Guideline: Validate our learnings
  • Guideline: Attend to relationships through the value stream
  • Guideline: Change culture by improving the system
  • Guideline: Adopt measures to improve outcomes

 

Q: How do PMBoK7 and DA differ?

A: PMBoK7, and the supporting materials in PMIstandards+, is a deep dive into Project Management. DA’s scope is much broader in that it addresses enterprise agility, putting a wide range of strategies that include but go beyond project management into context.  Where PMBoK7 is deep, DA is broad.

 

Q: Where can I learn more about DA?

A: The Disciplined Agile Hub on PMI.org is a great starting point, as are the Introduction to DA and the Disciplined Agile Tool Kit pages.

 

Q: Where can I learn more about PMBoK7?

A: You can access A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®Guide) 7th Edition here. As a PMI member you can download a personalized PDF free of charge.

 

Acknowledgements

I'd like to thank Mike Griffiths for his input that went into this blog.

Posted by Scott Ambler on: November 09, 2021 03:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)
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