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Methodologies & Frameworks
What Happened To The DSDM Consortium?

What happened to the DSDM Consortium? You have probably heard of Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), which is an agile methodology traditionally used in software development but now used more widely in project management in general.

Much like PRINCE2, Critical Path Management (CPM), and Extreme Project Management (XPM), DSDM is—very simply put—just a way to get things done.

DSDM was introduced in 1994 to replace the more unstructured Rapid Application Development (RAD) framework. Dependant on stringent resource management and constant user/customer feedback, DSDM worked best under a heavily formatted guide of principles and philosophies. That’s where the DSDM Consortium came in.

The Birth of the DSDM Consortium

The DSDM Consortium came together as DSDM was introduced to the IT world. It was a group of vendors and software engineering experts dedicated to promoting DSDM as a viable RAD alternative. They also took it upon themselves to develop and deploy best practice suggestions for the emerging methodology.

The group first came together during an event by the Butler Group in London, UK, and it included representatives from British Airways, American Express, Oracle, and Logica. Other participants, like Data Sciences and Allied Domecq, have now been absorbed by other groups—though they were independent members at the time.

The DSDM Consortium, made of the above listed IT and software experts, put together a publicly available version of their DSDM handbook version 4.2 in July of 2006. The consortium if a not-for-profit and membership allows those within to also sell the DSDM in various forms. The DSDM Consortium’s main purpose was to develop and deploy the DSDM methodology and bring together like-minded groups.

The DSDM Consortium Rebrands

In October of 2016, The DSDM Consortium rebranded itself as the Agile Business Consortium (ABC). They announced the name and branding change during London’s annual Agile Business Conference of that year. The announcement was first made to conference delegates, consortium members, and other partners as well as being sent out as a press release.

The associated press release quoted Agile Business Consortium CEO Mary Hensen, who noted that:

“Some years ago, Agile became the mainstream approach to software and systems development and in those fields, it’s now used more than any other approach. Increasingly, businesses recognise the benefits of adopting Agile methods in many different parts of the enterprise but struggle to understand how to enable it, implement it, and ensure robust governance. The Agile Business Consortium has evolved to address those challenges and, particularly, to develop the Agile Business Change Framework – a new framework that will enable businesses and organizations to take an Agile approach wherever in the enterprise it’s needed and on whatever scale it’s needed.

The evolution, per Hensen’s quote, came after more than 20 years of championing Agile in IT, including but not limited to the introduction of such products as Agile Project Management (Agile PM), Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA), and Agile Programme Management (Agile PgM). The update was, among other things, a symbolic representation of what they stood for: agility. The ability to move quickly and adapt during changing times.

A longtime partner of the ABC, and the DSDM Consortium before it, Michael C. Cooch of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), had this to say about the change: “At the heart of many of the most successful businesses is a simple concept – ‘agility’. Maintaining competitive advantage now and in the future requires businesses to re-think the way they operate.”

So other than the name, what changed?

The Agile Business Change Framework

The ABC’s rebranding efforts came at the same time as a preview of their new project was unveiled: the Agile Business Change Framework. The Agile Business Change Framework was praised by Manav Mehan, Global Agile Consulting Lead, TATA Consultancy Services, as such: “[I]t is an innovative and practical framework for effective Business Change at the enterprise level.”

Presumably, the name change came about as a way to more closely align themselves with their new product. However, one could also say that it was simply a needed refresher for an organization that prides itself on employing change effectively.

The Agile Business Change Framework adheres to the following philosophy: “The best value emerges when business changes are aligned to clear business goals, deliver frequently and are powered by the effective leadership of fully engaged, autonomously collaborative teams.” This framework highlights the following 10 principles:

  1. Strategic goals are always explicitly defines
  2. Measurable goals enable effective portfolio control
  3. Resource allocation is based on rolling forecasts
  4. The change funnel is continually reassessed
  5. Small commitments with defined values are encouraged
  6. Change is aligned to strategic goals
  7. Capacity continuously determines the amount of change in progress
  8. Content and prioritization of the portfolio is dynamic
  9. Transparency of portfolio content and control is imperative
  10. Management of the portfolio is inclusive of all stakeholders

The Agile Business Consortium

The Agile Business Consortium continues to be a not-for-profit, vendor-independent membership organization that offers training and certification on DSDM’s post-rebrand suite of products. They continue to create and share agile research, case studies, resources, and other tools through

By Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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