DSDM Foundation Exam Course (Agile)

This week I was lucky enough to be able to undertake some Agile training. This was held at UCLan and run by wonderful Dot Tudor from TCC and organised by the ever efficient Katie Taylor. There were 10 of us on the course and it turned out to be a great 3 days spent on working together towards learning something new.

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The specific course I was on is geared towards passing the DSDM Foundation exam.

What is DSDM?

DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method) is a robust Agile project management and delivery framework that delivers the right solution at the right time.

DSDM has been for many years the leading, proven Agile approach, providing governance and rigour along with the agility and flexibility demanded by organisations today. The approach is the culmination of practitioners’ experience drawn from a wide range of public and private sector projects over nearly two decades.

The DSDM Philosophy is that any project must be aligned to clearly defined strategic goals and focus upon early delivery of real benefits to the business.  DSDM is vendor-independent, covers the entire lifecycle of a project and provides best practice guidance for on time, in budget delivery of projects – with proven scalability to address projects of all sizes and for any business sector.

DSDM advocates the use of several proven techniques, including:

  • Facilitated Workshops
  • Modelling and Iterative Development
  • MoSCoW Prioritisation
  • Timeboxing

DSDM is designed to be easily tailored and used in conjunction with traditional methods such as PRINCE2® or to complement other Agile approaches such as Scrum.

What is Agile?

The term ‘Agile’ is derived from ‘The Manifesto for Agile Software Development’ which describes a collaborative way of working based on a set of twelve principles.

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In February 2001 in Snowbird, Utah seventeen people met to find common ground among the various ‘lightweight’ approaches as an alternative to document-driven, heavyweight software development processes dominant at that time.  The invitation came from Bob Martin of Object Mentor who said: ‘The purpose of this conference is to get all the lightweight method leaders in one room.’ After two days of discussions the Manifesto was agreed and signed by all participants.  DSDM was represented by Arie van Bennekum.

Although there are twelve principles, the Manifesto can be summarised as follows:

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.

Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

To quote from the Manifesto website:

“At the close of the two-day meeting, Bob Martin joked that he was about to make a “mushy” statement. But while tinged with humour, few disagreed with Bob’s sentiments that we all felt privileged to work with a group of people who held a set of compatible values, a set of values based on trust and respect for each other and promoting organizational models based on people, collaboration, and building the types of organizational communities in which we would want to work. At the core, I believe Agile Methodologists are really about “mushy” stuff about delivering good products to customers by operating in an environment that does more than talk about “people as our most important asset” but actually “acts” as if people were the most important, and lose the word “asset”. So in the final analysis, the meteoric rise of interest in and sometimes tremendous criticism of Agile Methodologies is about the mushy stuff of values and culture.”

You can read more about the Manifesto at www.agilemanifesto.org

(Information derived from the DSDM website).

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I’m please to say that I took the exam on Friday afternoon and passed it, so now eagerly awaiting for my certificate to arrive in the post!