22 September, 2022

What is Disciplined Agile (DA)? | Video

In this video, I want to answer the question, what is the PMII’s agile toolkit, Disciplined Agile, DA?

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Disciplined Agile Delivery

IBM introduced Disciplined Agile in 2012 with the book Disciplined Agile Delivery.  PMI acquired ownership of the toolset in 2019 and relaunched it in 2020.

The Disciplined Agile Toolkit

Disciplined Agile, is not a methodology, but a toolkit. It makes use of a wide range of other practices to provide guidance for a range of contexts. 

It is also scalable, to work at anything from the level of a single team to an entire organization. 

And it focuses on the choices you need to make, the alternatives available to you, and the trade-offs associated with these options. 

And it draws on resources and ideas from Scrum, Kanban, SAFe®, and others to allow you to tailor and scale your own approaches. 

PMI’s Claims for Disciplined Agile

PMI asserts that:

‘Organizations that adopt Disciplined Agile go to market sooner, deliver value faster and make their customers happier.’

And that:

‘The Disciplined Agile (DA) tool kit offers guidance to help organizations streamline their processes in a context-sensitive manner, providing a solid foundation for business agility.’

The Eight Principles of Disciplined Agile

Within disciplines Agile, there are 8 Principles to guide agile teams;

  1. Delight customers
    Go beyond satisfying your customers’ needs and meeting their expectations. Strive to delight them. Internal & external customers.
  2. Be awesome
    Strive to be the best you can and always get better.
  3. Context counts
    Every project, requirement, team member, team, and organization is unique. And situations evolve through time. So, you must choose a way of working (WoW) that reflects the context, and then evolve your WoW as the situation evolves.
  4. Be pragmatic
    Your aim is to be as effective as possible, and to improve from there. To me, pragmatism means that all project management is hybrid project management.
  5. Choice is good
    To find the best WoW, you need the widest range of techniques and tools. Having choices, and knowing the trade-offs associated with those choices, is critical.
  6. Optimize flow
    Optimize flow across the value stream and, better, across your organization.
  7. Organize around products/services 
    To delight your customers, organize around producing the products and services they need. These are your value streams that produce value for external and internal customers.
  8. Enterprise awareness
    Look beyond the needs of your team to the long-term needs of your organization. This means you need Business Acumen to leverage, and sometimes enhance, existing organizational assets. 

Disciplined Agile Certifications

To support Disciplined Agile, PMI offers 4 certifications:

  • DASM: Disciplined Agile Scrum Master 
  • DASSM: Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master 
  • DAVSC: Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant 
  • DAC: Disciplined Agile Coach 

Strengths and Weaknesses of Disciplined Agile


  • It’s a hybrid that pulls the best elements from several proven methodologies
  • Allows teams to follow the agile method while also tailoring it to specific needs


  • Not a good starting place for organizations new to agile. There is not enough guidance.
  • As a result, organizations trying to implement the DA framework are likely to need consultants to help implement it.

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Other, more substantial videos:

What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

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For more of our videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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