So you want to become a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner (CDAP)?

Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner (CDAP)

Knowledge + Experience

Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner (CDAP) is the second of three certifications in Disciplined Agile.  Being a CDAP indicates to colleagues and employers that you understand the fundamentals of agile delivery and have experience in applying agile strategies in practice.

This blog posting addresses the following questions:


Why should I be interested in Disciplined Agile certification?

First and foremost, this is respectable certification for agile practitioners who respect themselves. The Disciplined Agile Consortium (DAC) promotes a principled, Shu-Ha-Ri strategy to certification.  These are certifications that must be earned through learning and experience – if you’re looking for a quick, easy agile certification then this isn’t the path for you.  However, if your goal is to learn about Disciplined Agile ways of working, if it is to gain a better understanding of how to apply agile strategies within your organization, if it is to show employers that you’ve worked hard to gain this knowledge, then Disciplined Agile certification may be for you.

Disciplined Agile certification is for agile professionals working in enterprise-class settings such as banks, insurance companies, retailers, and government agencies to name a few.  You’re not working in ideal situations – you have legacy cultures, legacy systems, and legacy processes to overcome – but that doesn’t mean you can’t make things better.  You take pride in your work and you want to create environments where you can be effective, and you can do that by adopting Disciplined Agile strategies.


Why should I become a CDAP?

To earn the CDAP you must pass a comprehensive test that requires you to have a fundamental understanding of how the agile delivery process from beginning to end.  You understand how testing, analysis, design, programming, architecture, management, governance, and many more activities fit together in a streamlined manner from the start of a software endeavour to deployment into production. You understand that you have choices in how you work, that these choices have tradeoffs and that you must follow a strategy that makes sense for the context you find yourself in.

The CDA tells employers that you have a broad understanding of how agile works in practice, how it works in a pragmatic way.  It indicates that you’ll fit into agile teams better because you have a holistic understanding of agile delivery.  Disciplined Agile certifications are something that employers can trust because they need to be earned.


How do I become a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner (CDAP?)?

There is a four-step process:

  1. Meet the qualifications.  First, you need to be a Certified Disciplined Agilist (CDA) in good standing.  Second, you must also have at least two years experience on agile team(s) and be able to prove it (you need two references, see step 3).  Third, you fulfill two or more of the optional requirements for CDAP (see the list posted here).
  2. Pass the CDAP test. This test is similar to the one that you needed to pass to earn your CDA but it is more comprehensive and a bit hard to pass.  You will want to brush up on you Disciplined Agile knowledge (see below).   Take the CDAP test.
  3. Apply to become a CDAP. The final, and easiest step, is to apply to become a CDAP at the Disciplined Agile Consortium (DAC).  Email DAC informing them that you have passed your test and the will send you a reference application to fill out and return. When your 2 references are received and reviewed, your membership will be upgraded to Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner.
  4. Update your membership profile.  If you haven’t already done so, please update your membership profile to indicate your agile experience, references, and any other pertinent information.  Your profile information will be validated by us within a few days to determine whether you meet the criteria for Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner.  Good luck!


What’s after CDAP?

To be clear, the CDAP is an indication that you have comprehensive knowledge of agile solution delivery, that you have some initial experience in agile, and that you might be ready to start coaching of others under the supervision of a Certified Disciplined Agile Coach (CDAC).   The next step is to earn your CDAC, which requires at least five years of experience plus proven give back to the community.  At some point you may even want to become a Certified Disciplined Agile Instructor (CDAI).


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