DSDM Agile- Definition, Principles, & Advantages.

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Jan 31, 2022

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One of the most widely used incremental and iterative approaches which help in enhancing better user involvement, DSDM which stands for Dynamic System Development Method is known as the best agile approach for most of the projects. It was created in 1994 which helps in using agile methods for the full project lifecycle. It is making its way in the IT industry and with many successful cases in many projects; it is becoming the number one choice for many organizations. So today in this article, we are going to cover many parts of this approach like how it originated and what it is exactly. Later on, we will have a look at the phases, advantages as well as the eight principles that are associated with DSDM. After reading this article, you will be able to expand your knowledge and start working for your PMI ACP certification.

What is DSDM and How Was it Created?

Needed for adding more disciplines and structure to the process, DSDM is used as an agile approach that is iterative in nature for the software development in the project. Following the definition and motto of these agile methodologies, it states that the projects should be aligned to the strategic goals which are clearly defined in the project and there should be an early delivery of the goals which will help in business.

If we have a look into the history, we will find that back in the 1900s, when the Rapid Application Development known as RAD was becoming very popular, there was a need for a more structured approach to having more user engagement. There were no common processes between the various RAD teams and this started problems in following the frameworks in the organizations. Therefore, to overcome these issues DSDM was founded and in this, the structured software development framework was developed. So after that, various enhancements were done and many versions were made available. It is free to use now.

Advantages of the DSDM Approach

Now that we are aware of what is DSDM, we are going to learn about the advantages of this approach in detail in the section below.

  1. When the DSDM approach is being used in the projects, it can be made sure that the projects are going to be completed on time without the breakdown in the middle of the cycle. Not only this, the flexibility in the work is attained even though the pace is maintained through the project lifecycle.
  2. Using the DSDM Agile approach, the progress of the project can be measured during the initial stages of the project starting. This will give time to the team to prepare according to the plan and deliver the tasks efficiently throughout.
  3. As this approach has more user engagement, the continuous feedback from the user helps in delivering the project that is similar to the needs and requirements of the users. This is the best way which can ensure the interaction between the parties that are involved in this project and deliver the project as per the needs.
  4. In the DSDM model, the business cases are taken into account which will lead to developing the project as per the business value. By the end of the project, there will be a great deal of business value to the project which is very helpful for the organization.
  5. This is developed to resolve the complex problems that come in the project lifecycle. The DSDM framework can help in having an on-time budget as well as delivery time. This is ensured and this can be very useful for the success of the project. Furthermore, this framework can be applied to non-IT projects as well.

8 Core Principles of DSDM

Moving into the next section of the key principles of DSDM structure:

Focusing on the business need

As mentioned above, the business value of the project is given high importance in this methodology. In this framework, it is made sure that the business case is present for the project and the team is aware of the priorities in the project so that they can deliver while increasing the business value of the project. The DSDM approach focuses highly on business needs.

Delivering on time

In this approach, the time box timeline is being followed that ensures timely delivery of the project objectives. In this, it is made sure that the team members are aware of their duties which will help them to deliver their tasks on time and also make sure that there is flexibility in the project as well. The team should stick to this principle and complete the project on time no matter what.


One of the main things that work well in the organization is collaboration within the teams that are working on the project. They should be working together rather than separately and should share a goal for the project. This highly focuses on team spirit and collaboration which also includes user engagement and the participation of the stakeholders from time to time. All the teams including the business, development, and other areas work together in this approach to attain the shared vision in the project.

Quality delivery

In these projects, the quality of the product to be delivered is decided in the beginning and that is fixed. There is no compromise on the quality of the product that is needed in the end and the team should abide by this till the end. The continuous testing of the products throughout the project lifecycle will ensure that high-quality products can be delivered on time.

Build Incrementally From Firm Foundations

One of the main differences between the DSDM approach and others is that in this the foundations of the project to be delivered are decided on much early and they are fixed throughout the project. The foundations do not need to be very well explained, it simply includes what the problem is and how the solution can be delivered. During the incremental phases of the project, the team ensures the priorities and time limit to deliver and then work like this.

Developing iteratively

According to the DSDM approach, there is nothing in the project that needs to be developed perfectly in the first place as changes are being embraced if we talk about the real world. So the development work is being completed in the iteration that includes demonstration, feedback, and consultation from the stakeholders from time to time so that maximum satisfaction can be achieved when the final product is being delivered by the team.

Continuous and clear communication

Communication is the key to a highly successful project and when we are talking about the DSDM approach, this plays a major role. The daily calls along with informal communication, continuous feedback, workshops, and the building of various prototypes can ensure that there is transparent communication between the teams in the project. Practical methods are much preferred than the documentation in the DSDM approach. In your PMI-ACP certification training, you will come across these approaches and learn more about them.

Demonstration of control in the project

Having control over the delivery and the overall project is much necessary in order to ensure the success of the project in the end. The project manager, as well as the team leader, should always be transparent with the plans and progress of the team. Along with this reporting and tracking of the progress is very much needed in order to demonstrate control.

Emphasis on the Structure of DSDM

There are 7 phases of the structure of DSDM mentioned below:

  • Feasibility Phase: During this phase, the feasibility of the project is being discussed which includes the strategies, the costs, and resources evaluation.
  • Foundation Phase: During this phase, the robust foundation of the project or the base for the project is being created. Keeping business, solution, and management in the account, the base is being established.
  • Pre-project Phase: In this phase, the business problem that needs to be solved is addressed and there are points that are taken from the feasibility phase.
  • Exploration Phase: This is a conditional phase and can be avoided if it is not needed in case of small changes or business requirements. In this, the requirements that are needed for the development solution are being discussed.
  • Engineering Phase: In order to meet the nonfunction needs including security and performance, the engineering phase is needed in the project. It can be used to upgrade the product if needed.
  • Deployment Phase: In this, the distribution of the final products outside the organization is being achieved. It is also used for maintaining future needs that may arise from time to time.
  • Post-Project Phase: It is the last phase where the deployment phase is being accessed. The company can close the project before this phase which can be evaluated in this phase.


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On this page, we have gone through one of the most widely used agile approaches in IT solutions- DSDM. We have covered how this came into the picture when there are some limitations with the RAD approach and how DSDM is very advantageous for organizations. Using this approach, the team in the project can navigate through the complex decision-making process in the project and is equipped with the approach to deliver timely and quality products in the end. The DSDM principles focus on a complete project lifecycle that helps in having an effective delivery with proper focus on all segments including the business needs. Later on, with the defined phases in the process of structured DSDM, the team can plan the whole project in advance and can work in collaboration with other teams to deliver the best work.

So now if you are also wondering about your ACP certification, then we have the best platform for you to explore. Not only here you are going to find the best courses for you, but at StarAgile, you are going to work with the best professional and like-minded people to resolve the problems that may arise in the real world. Therefore, you should come to StarAgile for your PMI-ACP certification and start your journey with it to gain better chances at the best career of your dreams and start working towards them today.

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