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Is Disciplined Agile STILL Standing Tall?


Disciplined Agile is slowly making its mark. It started as a new novel concept in the world of Agility. 

Our journey with Disciplined Agile started almost a year back when Prothoughts was awarded as a Premium Disciplined Agile Partner. We were among the 3 worldwide chosen for Disciplined Agile as a Premier partner. And the 1st year was magnificent with lots to learn and we are very proud to be one of the largest content giver on Disciplined Agile, be it through webinars and blogs or articles, and also trained one of the highest participants in a year. 

Check out the 1st year journey on Disciplined Agile:

Also, we are proud of our achievements in the 1st year in Disciplined Agile. We did not realize till some customers commented that a lot of great content has been created by Prothoughts

This was a by-product of growing Disciplined Agile among the community. Many thanks for our speakers, content writers, participants and PMI India for the super collaboration. 

In this 1 year, PMI also had some key clients onboarded for Disciplined Agile, and that has been a great achievement. What I heard soon, there would be an announcement that USA’s top 2 Telcos have adopted Disciplined Agile and Europe’s big players are also experimenting with the same. 

There has been a lot of buzz initially on Disciplined Agile as we had started, especially with the PMI loyalists and slowly we saw some great organizations going after it. We have seen some steady increase in the rate of adoption for Disciplined Agile. Be it increased experimentation by some corporates or the participants who are enrolling for Disciplined Agile certifications. 

However, there are many who are adopting the wait and watch policy for Disciplined Agile and it’s certifications such as Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM), Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master (DASSM), Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant (DAVSC) and Disciplined Agile Coach (DAC). 

The immediate question which then comes to the mind – Is Disciplined Agile STILL standing tall? Or is it losing its sheen? Or is it just a marketing gimmick from PMI? Does it really have a value proposition? 

Let’s explore some of the critique and challenges of Disciplined Agile, and figure out really if Disciplined Agile is still standing tall? 

Critique 1 

Frameworks are a particular set of rules, ideas, or beliefs which you use in order to deal with problems or to decide what to do. Frameworks help in implementing Agility and not Tool-kits. No idea how Tool-kits work actually

Yeah, right – Disciplined Agile is a Tool-kit. And that too, a Hybrid Tool-kit. What do you mean by a Hybrid Tool-kit? 

Tool-kit helps you with different tools to solve your problem. And Disciplined Agile gives the different tools or options as per your current context. And how does it manage to do that? It leverages the different Agile practices available and used by practitioners and experts, studies them and picks up the most relevant as per your context. Any idea why there are 100’s of Agile practices? Because one solution does not fit all and in Agile, you are on a mission to continuously improve on your current way of working (WoW). Disciplined Agile leverages these varied practices and analyses the context, and provides you the right decision or option. It takes away yours and the team’s process overheads. 

And you and your team can concentrate on what you do best – your work. 

In fact, It is more than a Tool-kit. It provides you the freedom to choose and provides you the guidance to make the decision. 

Critique 2 

Disciplined Agile provides many Options and has too many things which can be confusing.

If you look the other way, it gives Many choices as it believes one size doesn’t fit all. I do agree that Disciplined Agile looks overwhelming with a great amount of knowledge and so many options. And top it, you are not sure how each option works as well. 

A Disciplined Agile Coach or a DASSM certified professional may help at your 1st interactions with Disciplined Agile. Post your familiarization and when you start implementing the tool-kit, it may not appear to be so confusing. 

The WoW Book can elaborate the Options further which can be more self-explaining. The WoW book is a kind of bible for your implementation. However, the word “Discipline” makes an interesting point – to be effective in your options, you need to be Disciplined in your approach. You cannot expect a silver bullet if you choose an option and it does the trick. It provides the right tool which you can experiment with and subsequently, evolve your Way of Working (WoW). 

Critique 3

Looks a Great Idea – But the ideas are not executable it remains an Idea

I do agree that Idea is an Idea till it gets executed and proves the point. The idea should be simple enough to be adopted and executed, else ideas do not work. 

Disciplined Agile had already made its mark before PMI acquired it in 2019. It had super customers such as Franklin Templeton and Barclays who had adopted the organization. 

And as we are speaking, I have heard that many top organizations have already started implementing Disciplined Agile and an announcement will be soon around the corner. The implementation is increasing and with more DA knowledge in the market, things will be more acceptable. 

DA actually offers to start small and to scale as and when required. Many confuse Agile Adoption with Agile Transformation. Check the blog on Agile Adoption V/s Agile Transformation. One of the best differentiators of Disciplined Agile is that it offers both Agile Adoption – you can start small and later scale across the organization. This is missing in many of the Agile practices and frameworks.  

Critique 4

The Agile Options are the same and nothing new to offer.

Disciplined Agile is an incredible combination of Agile, Lean and DA. Although these practices are well-known, DA has packaged it well and offers a novel way for implementation. 

Disciplined Agile offers certain new things which may not be possible in other Agile practices and frameworks such as 

  • Disciplined Agile is designed for Business Agility and includes all functions in the organization
  • It provides Freedom to Choose and helps you to choose the right option from variety of Agile practices 
  • It provides the guidance to improve continuously in a shorter period of time 
  • You can choose the options as per your context / your situation
  • It is a Hybrid Tool-kit and leverages varied Agile practices 

These are some unique points which sets Disciplined Agile apart from other Agile practices and frameworks available. 

It recognizes that every team is in a different situation and need not work in a set format. It demands a hard and a long look at bringing Agility to the organization.

Critique 5

The Disciplined Agile Tool-Kit is not crowd-sourced tool kit and limited to a handful of experts

This is an agreed point that it does not leverage different expertise available in the pool of PMI. And depends on a few handful experts, especially Mark Lines and Scott Ambler. Both have graced Prothoughts Webinar platform and delivered highly effective knowledge series on Disciplined Agile. Unless the tool-kit gets transformed into a crowd-sourced tool-kit, it will be a limited tool-kit with limited experience. I guess PMI will be working towards a crowd-sourced tool-kit. 

Critique 6 

There is hardly any content on Disciplined Agile in the public space currently and it does NOT give confidence to adopt

It is a new novel. And presents an unique idea and opportunity. And it has just started to roll out. Many organizations and practitioners are trying it out and  giving their feedback. The content is slowly coming. At Prothoughts, we are proud of generating great content on Disciplined Agile and Agility. We have almost 30+ original content videos and blogs to know about Disciplined Agile. Read it  here

2 Major Challenges 

Despite the good work by many, Disciplined Agile lacks the momentum and hopefully it gains in the coming year. The coming 12 months are going to be key for the future and momentum of Disciplined Agile. 

Currently, Disciplined Agile as a new novel idea in Agility space lacks the awareness and real-life case studies. The buzz around it is there, but not enough to revolutionize a new concept. It is extremely important the buzz gets louder with every passing day and I feel, with the partner network, PMI should take a lead in creating a great strategy and execution on Disciplined Agile.

The confidence that many will get is when they see real-life examples of Disciplined Agile gets implemented across the industry. Someone from your close circles is implementing Disciplined Agile (DA) and suggesting a few good things encourages you to try it out for your teams. 

Hope these 2 challenges fade off sooner than later and a great institution such as PMI with its strong network can make a great impact in adoption of Disciplined Agile (DA) Tool-kit. 

What People are saying 

As an organization, we get a chance to interact with many people who are customers, corporates who attend our webinars and interact with us on Agility. Good to note that we are getting a favourable response from practitioners at large. This is an initial response and we need to gauge the response as it goes mainstream. 

I have captured a few of the responses below. 

“An interesting Training and a New Knowledge to have a newer way on how we do projects” “I guess I can start it right away!!”

“Very comprehensive and offers Choice”

“It is contextual in nature and can be applied to even perhaps a hybrid approach in our company”

Further, you can also check the responses by clicking the following links and you will get to hear their experiences and their views on DA, DASM and DASSM. 

Click here to read Customer Reviews

Watch Videos of Customer’s Review

Join Webinars, learn from our experts.

Read Success Stories

Closing Thoughts 

The coming next year will be crucial wherein, people outside the PMI loyalists and organizations trying out Disciplined Agile. The key is to try Disciplined Agile and see the outcome, to evangelize further. If we do not implement, Disciplined Agile like PMI-ACP will fade away. 

Can PMI use their influences and enable their partner network to infuse the implementation in the organizations? It has to be seen…

I have learnt in my entrepreneur lessons, that however your idea is great, it is the execution and the passion with which we build things. Can PMI and their partner network show their execution, because the idea is great – Disciplined Agile provides a Novel concept and a brilliant proposition. Can the folks implement DA easily and get the required value? 

Let’s wait and watch – Is Disciplined Agile still standing tall? 

Your comments and thoughts are most welcome. 

Drop a mail to [email protected] for any assistance.


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