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PMI Is Quietly Killing Disciplined Agile


Anthony Mersino

May 2, 2023

9:05 AM

Article at a glance
    • PMI may be quietly phasing out Disciplined Agile certifications due to its lack of popularity and traction in the market.
    • Possible reasons for this decline could include PMI’s inability to effectively nurture and promote the certification, as well as the structural challenges associated with Disciplined Agile training and certification.
    • There’s speculation that PMI might be reluctant to prioritize Disciplined Agile over its highly profitable PMP certification, potentially leading to intentional neglect of the former.
    • Despite incorporating more agile content into the PMBOK Guide, PMI’s efforts to promote Disciplined Agile have been limited.
    • The statistics reveal a stark contrast, with only 9,500 Disciplined Agile certifications registered in nearly four years, highlighting its dwindling popularity compared to other agile and Scrum certifications offered by Scrum.org and Scrum Alliance.

I haven’t written about Disciplined Agile in a while. And for good reason – there really isn’t much to write about. In fact, things are so quiet that I am pretty sure that PMI is quietly killing off Disciplined Agile.

Why Is PMI Killing Off Disciplined Agile?

Who knows?

Perhaps it is not Intentional

It could be completely unintentional. It is possible that PMI is not agile enough to nurture and launch a new certification like Disciplined Agile. This reason will make sense if you look at all the newer certifications from PMI that have gained little or no traction in the market.

Check out the list of non-PMP certifications below and the net increase in the last two years. Only the 11-year-old PMI-ACP has done moderately well and even that is nowhere near the success of the Project Management Professional (PMP).

PMI Certifications as of Jan 2023

Perhaps it was a lack of promotion. When was the last time you heard anything about the DA Certifications from PMI? It’s all crickets on DA since Mark Lines, Scott Ambler and Alan Shalloway all took their payout and exited PMI.

Perhaps it was the structure of Disciplined Agile itself that made it difficult. Unlike the PMI-ACP, training and certification for Disciplined Agile required an Authorized Training partner. After paying the annual fees for Authorized Training Partners ($6,999 or $9,999) and the course material fees of $180 per student, there is little margin left for partners.

Perhaps it was the requirement that those who achieve the Discipline Agile certifications need to re-certify (i.e. pay PMI) every year. I wrote about my own exasperation in, Why I did not Renew My PMI, Agile and Scrum Certifications.

Maybe PMI is Killing Disciplined Agile on Purpose

Or perhaps it is intentional. There is a strong argument for this. Who wants to cannibalize the growth of the PMP cash cow in favor of modern ways of working? Isn’t this the innovator’s dilemma?

Lending credence to this view is the fact that PMI incorporated significant amounts of agile content into the PMBOK Guide. The 2021 release of the Seventh Edition contains significantly fewer prescriptions and more agile ways of working. The 2017 Agile Practice Guide has been incorporated into the appendix of the PMBOK Guide and a new chapter, The Project Manager’s Role in Agile, has been added. And Agile content has been incorporated throughout.

However, the theory that PMI is killing Disciplined Agile on purpose is inconsistent with a recent LinkedIn post from current PMI President and CEO, Pierre Le Manh. Le Manh touted the benefits of Disciplined Agile in his post. It is one of the few times I have heard anyone from PMI promote the DA certifications.

Is it possible that Le Manh is trying to throw us off his trail?

PMI Disciplined Agile Certifications Just Aren’t Popular

The Disciplined Agile Certifications have faired poorly as I have discussed in several posts, including the 2021 Update on PMI DA, and the more recent, Where is the Wow Now?

The chart below shows the most recent stats for the DA certifications as of March 31, 2023.


So in the nearly 4 years since PMI purchased Disciplined Agile, they’ve registered 9,500 certifications. Meanwhile, Scrum.org and Scrum Alliance each log more certifications than this every month.

Bottom Line – PMI and Agile Certifications

The handwriting is on the wall. Either by neglect or intention, the Disciplined Agile certifications from PMI are dying.

Please do us all a favor and call the time of death. It would be a mercy killing.


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