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The Disciplined Agile (DA) Certification Journey


It is rightly said, “Journey is more beautiful than the destination”. The Disciplined Agile (DA) certification journey will set you free on the path to scale and leverage your existing project learnings into a world of Agile which you thought does not exist. As mentioned in the previous pieces of this content series, “context awareness” is key in DA, that is, every team is unique and every situation is unique, so you can start implementing your learned skill set of DA immediately across your team/organization.

PMI offers different levels of certifications, from a beginner level to the highest level of expertise in DA.

In Japanese, it is called Shu-Ha-Ri. The “Shu” is the one who follows the rules – the Beginner and Disciplined Agile gives the DASM certification for the same (Disciplined Agile Scrum Master).

The “Ha” is the one who tries to make his own rules as he attains mastery – The Intermediate. And Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master (DASSM) is the certification for the same.

And the Ri- The Master where you can do Disciplined Agile Coach (DAC) and Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant (DAVSC).

Below are some steps you can follow to realize your aspirational DA learnings, and fame by becoming a DA-certified professional.

Step 1:

Before starting off your DA certification journey from a pure certification viewpoint, it is important to brush up on two aspects of Project Management:

  1. Agile
  2. Lean

These topics will give you enough food-for-thought when you start with the DA syllabus and you will be able to relate to concepts in an insightful way. Even if you don’t have any clue what Agile or Lean is, you need not worry! As these are to be understood at a very basic level which will also enrich your knowledge of the marvelous world of Lean.

Step 2 (optional):

PMI also offers a basic intro course on DA (they also offer a free preview of a few chapters), which you can access here

Step 3:

The first step in the certification journey is the course on “Disciplined Agile Scrum Master”(DASM). With this certification, you well and truly deep dive into the world of Agile, Lean and DA in detail. The word “Scrum Master” has been added as this certification is a lethal combination of Scrum, Lean, and Disciplined Agile foundation principles. You will be introduced to different DA concepts such as:

  1. DA mindset
  2. DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery) team roles
  3. Communities of Practice (COPs) and Centers of Excellence (COEs)
  4. Disciplined DevOps
  5. Value streams (Business Operations, Continuous Improvement, Governance and Portfolio, Product and Program Management)
  6. Disciplined Agile Enterprise (DAE)
  7. Tactical and Strategic Agility

among other knowledge-enriching concepts.

The goal is to eventually help you to adopt a DA mindset and choose your team’s Way of Working (WoW).

The content on PMI’s website is really, really well put and will equip you to learn about DA concepts in depth as required for certification.

Step 4:

You are eligible for “DASSM” – Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master. This further elevates your knowledge and skill and prepares you to be a master in the Agile space. Remember, one of the principles of DA is “Be Awesome” – so make the best of these certifications to be an awesome professional!

Step 5 (advanced, yet to commence):

After achieving the above certifications and implementing DA across your team and organization, you can then move on to become a DA coach role via a Certified Disciplined Agile Coach (DAC) and Certified Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant (DAVSC). These two certifications are yet to commence.

Hope this content piece was useful and you start your DA certification journey soon and get real value out of it!

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