Disciplined Agile certification is for agile professionals working in enterprise-class settings such as banks, insurance companies, retailers, and government agencies. 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.
For organizations the primary value of disciplined agile certifications are that they indicate that people have gained a certain level of knowledge and in some cases expertise in Disciplined Agile methods. Our principled approach to Disciplined Agile certification results in respected certifications that you can trust. There are several benefits of Disciplined Agile certification for organizations:
- It is meaningful. Disciplined Agile certification has to be earned. It is an indication that your people have a comprehensive understanding of enterprise-class development, and not just cargo cult agile.
- It forms the basis of measurable skills assessment. Because the certifications build upon each other you can use them as a measure of how well agile skills and knowledge are spreading through your organization.
- It’s trustworthy. Because Disciplined Agile certification is externally managed it is difficult for teams to game the numbers, unlike the self-assessment approach that is becoming all too common.
The Disciplined Agile Certification Program
The Disciplined Agile Certification program has three main certifications for practitioners – Certified Disciplined Agilist (CDA), Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner (CDAP), and Certified Disciplined Agile Coach (CDAC) – that build upon each other. There is an additional designation, Disciplined Agilist (DA) and a fifth designation for trainers, Certified Disciplined Agile Instructor (CDAI).
Certified Disciplined Agilist (CDA): Shu (Beginner)
This certification indicates that the holder has comprehensive knowledge of how the Disciplined Agile solution delivery process works from beginning to end. To earn this Shu-level certification you need to pass a comprehensive test. It typically takes between 10 and 15 hours of classroom or reading time to prepare for the test. The primary benefits of this certification are that it:
- Indicates that you have an understanding of how agile solution delivery works in enterprise-class settings;
- Is a meaningful certification that sets you apart from the multitude of “certified masters”;
- Shows that you have the desire to go beyond “cargo cult agile”;
- Directs you down a path that reflects the realities faced by agile teams working in enterprise-class settings, enabling you to recognize and avoid the time consuming pitfalls common to Scrum teams.
Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner (CDAP): Ha (Intermediate)
This certification indicates that the holder has comprehensive knowledge of how the Disciplined Agile solution delivery process works from beginning to end and has experience applying agile strategies in practice. To earn this certification you must have earned the CDA first, have at least two years of agile work experience (you are required to provide references), and you have passed the CDAP test. The primary benefits of this certification are that it shows you’re:
- Proficient at agile development and on the path towards mastery;
- Ready to start helping others learn, potentially in a junior coaching role supervised by someone more experienced, such as a CDAC.
Certified Disciplined Agile Coach (CDAC): Ri (Expert)
This certification indicates that the holder has comprehensive knowledge of how the Disciplined Agile solution delivery process works from beginning to end, has experience applying it in practice, and has proven giveback to the community. To earn this certification you must have earned the CDAP first, have at least five years of agile work experience (you are required to provide references), and have gone through a board-level interview. The primary benefit of this certification is that it shows you’re qualified to coach agile delivery teams. Effective coaches must have deep knowledge in what they are coaching people in, and that requires proven experience.
To retain your certification you should be dedicated to continuous learning of agile strategies in general, and in Disciplined Agile (DA) strategies in particular. Once someone is certified there are no direct membership dues. For CDA’s to retain their certification level they must take and pass the CDA test every two years. Having said that, at the two year point a practicing CDA is eligible to apply to become a CDAP anyway. Anyone with a CDAP will need to either pass the CDAP test every two years, or if they are qualified to apply for and become a CDAC. CDACs must provide proof of continuing give back to the DA community.