Certified Disciplined Agilist (CDA) from DA USD $50 Annually
Product Name: Certified Disciplined Agilist
Product Description: The Certified Disciplined Agilist (CDA) is an exam only certification provided by the Disciplined Agile Consortium. Disciplined Agile was purchased by PMI in 2019.
Review by Anthony C Mersino on February 17, 2020
See my previous review of the DA certification for general details about DA and the DA materials.
I took training from one of the Disciplined Agile trainers and the instructor was very good. Despite doing some pre-work (I read the first 6 chapters of the DA book “Choose Your Way of Working”), I had a hard time wrapping my head around exactly what DA was. I think it is best described as a context driven tool for decision-making.
The basic MO of Disciplined Agile seems to be to take what they can from others and then tweak them. For example, DA revised the 4 original values and 12 original principles of the Agile Manifesto, expanding each of them. In addition, they created DA specific principles, and then they borrowed quite liberally from other frameworks like Scrum, from Agile Modeling and from RUP.
I think the framework could be simplified considerably to make it more consumable. Visiting the website is like diving into the deep end of a very large lake. I found that even in the first day of training class all the materials just seemed like a big blob without a solid organization structure or outline. I had a hard time adding it to what I already knew about agile.
One thing that stood out to me in the readings, website and during the training class was the constant pep talk about how much better DA was than alternatives. Perhaps I was more sensitive because I was coming from a Scrum background, but it seemed like an unnecessary amount of sniping or criticizing other approaches. Scrum was described as too rigid, it contained too much weird terminology and adherents were “purists”. SAFe is too prescriptive. The irony is that DA incorporated all those alternatives and then they renamed things to suit with their own “weird” language.
There is also a consistency challenge. DA includes a certification for Disciplined Agile Lean Scrum Master though they purposefully don’t have a role for “Scrum Master” in the DA approach. They use Team Leader instead. Huh?
There were a number of other minor versioning issues and I suspect these will be addressed by PMI as part of this acquisition and integration.
I think the main value of DA is a set of considerations, choices and recommendations based on your context and most pressing challenges. DA calls these process goals and they shouldn’t be confused with process blades which was one of those weird things that DA made up. Anyway, those process goals and the underlying logic could easily become an smartphone App or a Chatbot powered by Watson.
Now let’s look at some specifics for the Certified Disciplined Agilist (CDA) certification. Unlike the Disciplined Agilist (DA) which is more like a membership, CDA does include passing an exam.
Applicable Role: Any
Prerequisites: Applicants for the CDA exam are required to take the 2-day training class and they are recommended to read section 1 of the Choose Your WoW book.
Cost: Applicants must take a training course. There is no additional fee to take the CDA exam. If you fail the exam on the first attempt, additional attempts are $150.
Renewal Requirements: Like the DA membership, the CDA certification must be renewed every year. There is a $50 annual membership fee as well as at least 7 hours of learning, 4 of which needs to be about Disciplined Agile.
Popularity / Recognition: The CDA is not very well known or popular. It pales in comparison to certifications from Scrum.org, Scrum Alliance and even PMI’s PMI-ACP. I gave it a popularity score of 2 out of 10.
Bottom Line: The DA framework is both quirky and interesting. The CDA certification is a step up from DA which was just a membership. The exam is challenging and you have to demonstrate that you know the material. I gave it a value score of 1 on a scale of 0 to 5.
- Disciplined Agile is more of a second tier provider and doesn’t have the following of some of the top tier providers
- The exam is rigorous
- One attempt at the CDA certification exam comes free with the attendance of any course
- The Disciplined Agile framework provides a useful and extensive set of resources through the website and books
- The Certified Disciplined Agilist designation is not well recognized and few or no employers are looking for it
- Must be renewed every year
- DA materials could be more consistent and could be updated to be more tolerant of other agile frameworks like Scrum
- The DA searchable directory is only available to members
- Training is required to take the certification exam
Disciplined Agile Consortium Profile and Contact Information
|Description from Website||Disciplined Agile Consortium (DAC) is the governing body for certification in The Disciplined Agile (DA) Toolkit - A Foundation for Business Agility. We offer training and certification services to those requesting to become certified instructors, coaches and partners. DAC supports the evolution of Disciplined Agile (DA), which provides light-weight guidance to help organizations streamline their processes in a context-sensitive manner, providing a solid foundation for business agility.|
|Thought Leadership||Scott Ambler and Mark Lines led initial the development and thought leadership for DAD. Scott Ambler was an early adopter of object modeling and became an instructor on the Rational Unified Process (RUP). He joined IBM Rational as Chief Methodologist from 2006 to 2012. He is a prolific author having written or co-authored over 20 books on a wide range of topics.
Mark Lines is the co-founder of DA. Like Scott, he was a RUP fan and worked at IBM during the acquisition of RUP. Mark left IBM in 2007 and cofounded UPMentors with two others before joining Scott at Scott Ambler and Associates which became Disciplined Agile.
Ambler and Lines continue to lead the evolution of DAD with the support of members of the Disciplined Agile Consortium. The Disciplined Agile Consortium is the governing body for certification in Disciplined Agile (DA). We offer training and certification services to those requesting to become certified instructors, coaches and partners. We provide information on curriculum, certification, access to certified members, and resources to support Disciplined Agile activities.
|Mailing Address||Project Management Institute:
14 Campus Boulevard, Newtown Square, PA 19073 USA
|Certificant Directory||DA Members