Project Management Institute

How to Optimize Your WoW with Disciplined Agile

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08 June 2020

Scott Ambler

Scott Ambler

Vice President and Chief Scientist Disciplined Agile, PMI

Organizations know that agile—a major driver of successful projects—is here to stay, but a cookie-cutter approach to agile doesn’t allow businesses to reap the full benefits. With the Disciplined Agile tool kit, professionals can explore hundreds of frameworks to find their customized “Way of Working.”

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is on a mission to help the project management community become more agile and, in turn, enhance business value through its Disciplined Agile (DA) tool kit. Here, I’ve outlined three ways the DA tool kit helps professionals optimize their Way of Working (WoW).

Agile Reimagined: Basics of Disciplined Agile™

True business agility comes from freedom, not frameworks! Learn how to choose the right agile solution for your situation.
Cutting through the Clutter

Organizations know they need to be more agile, but in too many cases they view agile as a one-size-fits-all methodology. Leveraging a cookie-cutter approach doesn’t allow businesses and teams to reap the full benefits of agile, which leads to people questioning the overall value of the methodology. But agile offers a full scope of methodologies and frameworks that can meet the needs of a variety of project objectives—from Scrum to Lean to Kanban and beyond. 

Understanding the needs of the specific project at hand and leveraging the appropriate methodology and framework is key to your team’s success. The question is: how do we navigate the wide range of methodologies and frameworks that exist? 

Organizations need a way to cut through the clutter and identify the techniques best suited for their projects, and that is exactly what PMI’s DA tool kit is designed to do.

Finding your Way of Working (WoW) 

There is more than one approach to agile, and it’s important to understand what makes the most sense for your project. Teams must be empowered to choose and evolve the process to what works best for their situation and address any obstacles that may arise.

We call this Choose your WoW

To successfully lead your team to meet your goals, you must know how to choose a WoW appropriate to the specific situation you’re facing. A single “standard” process or collection of “best practices” may not fit your team needs. Teams must be able to choose and then improve their WoW as their situations evolve. 

As organizations continue to adopt this approach, the DA tool kit helps them choose their WoW in a context-sensitive manner.

Applying Agility at Scale

The DA tool kit distinguishes between two types of “agility at scale,” allowing for the application of agile and lean strategies across both teams and entire organizations.

Individual Disciplined Agile teams can apply agile and lean strategies to implement tactical agility at scale. This application of agile addresses a myriad of complexities and scaling factors, including team size, geographic distribution, domain complexity and more.

On the other hand, companies can employ strategic agility at scale to infuse agile and lean strategies across the entire organization. This includes all divisions and teams from an enterprise point of view, including your organization’s value streams. 

Versatility in Project Management

PMI offers professionals the tools, resources and certifications—including the DA tool kit—which they need to best navigate project-based work. From waterfall to agile to hybrid, it’s about empowering professionals to be versatile and giving them the skills to be successful. Looking at agile specifically, our goal is to provide options for agile practitioners that meet individual needs and career paths. 

PMI supports organizations and individuals looking to holistically navigate agile—from a certification that tests and validates their understanding and application of agile principles and practices to learning how to leverage the DA tool kit to choose their WoW for the project at-hand. 

The PMI-ACP®, for instance, certifies an individual’s experience working on an agile team in any role, while the Disciplined Agile offerings focus on tailoring practices to optimize agility. DA offerings are distinct from PMI-ACP in that they include training for individual practitioners, as well as teams. This is a great way for PMI-ACP credential holders to continue on their journey to learn effective ways to tailor and scale agile across organizations.

Looking Ahead: 2020 and Beyond

Agile is here to stay. The forthcoming new PMBOK® GUIDE and PMP® exam will include more agile content, and we will begin to see an increase in the meaningful agile certifications that are earned. Books covering this topic are being updated, and will soon be available as PMI publications. And new online and instructor led training (ILT) courses on agile will become available to PMPs.

Once organizations, teams and project managers fully understand what their options are—and which of those options will work in different contexts—they will start seeing better outcomes.

PMI is here to help the project management community navigate this next wave of agile, and we are excited about what the future holds. For more information about Disciplined Agile, PMI's DA certifications, and upcoming training classes, please visit the Disciplined Agile hub.