In the early part of the 1990′s a new term “Rapid Application Development” (RAD) was launched upon an unsuspecting IT industry. RAD was intended to be different from the Waterfall methods for application development. Indeed its origins sprang from the frustrations of users and IT alike with methods that were seen as inappropriate for a fast moving business environment, forced users to fix their requirements in concrete early in the cycle and did not allow for rapid iterative delivery.
However, RAD grew as a movement in a very unstructured way; there was no commonly agreed definition of a RAD process, and many different vendors and consultants came up with their own interpretation and approach. By 1993 there was momentum in the market place with a growing number of tools for RAD and vendors developing or repositioning their products to meet a growing demand from their customers for RAD technology. But still there was a piece missing….. for every customer that needed RAD tools to improve their development capability, there was a customer who needed to change the development process.
It was out of this recognition in the market place for an Industry Standard RAD Framework that the DSDM Consortium was born. The 16 founding members of the DSDM Consortium met for the first time in January 1994 with the single objective of jointly developing and promoting an independent RAD framework. At a meeting in February 1994 it was agreed that a high level framework should be produced in time for the next meeting in March and at that meeting the high level framework was approved by the by then 36 members unanimously. The basic concepts have remained in place since that time, but the framework has been developed and refined over the life of the Consortium. It has been found to be applicable in nearly every technical and business environment where systems are needed quickly.
Three main Work groups were created to oversee the various activities.
- The Technical Work-group, which created the DSDM Framework, and established the Task groups to fully define the detailed contents of Framework.
- The Policies and Procedures Work-group, to devise the decision making process and produce a Consortium rule book. Having completed its work late in 1996, this was replaced by the Training Accreditation Work Group, which monitored and controlled all activities related to DSDM training and accreditation.
- The Promotional Work-group, to put together and manage the marketing plan.
The Technical Work-group was the engine behind the development of the framework; in order to achieve rapid results, the Work-group created Task Groups for version 1 of the DSDM Framework.
- The Development Tools and Techniques Task Group was responsible for defining default structured and Object Oriented techniques and JAD guidelines.
- The Management Tools and Techniques Task Group was responsible for defining guidelines on change control, configuration management, risk management and estimating group.
- The Personnel Task Group was responsible for Project Management and Team Structures..
- The Quality Task Group was responsible for addressing Quality Management, Quality Assurance and Testing issues.
- The Software Procurement Task Group was responsible for addressing contractual issues.
Version 1 was completed on time, agreed unanimously by all members of the Consortium in January 1995 and published in February 1995. Alongside the publication of the framework, the Consortium put in place a training scheme, with half a dozen accredited training organisations, and examination procedure for DSDM practitioners to gain certification. To verify the framework in practice, an Early Adopters Programme was launched in parallel with Version 2. As RAD projects are soon complete, the feedback from the Early Adopter Projects together with the work from further Task Groups led to Version 2 being published in December 1995 (three weeks ahead of schedule – but what would you expect from the DSDM Consortium?). In January 1997, a workshop was held to decide what changes may be needed to the framework. There was increasing use of DSDM in business process change projects, whereas the previous focus had been on purely application development. This was felt to be a major shift that should be reflected in the framework and Task Groups were set up to consider its implications. Version 3 was published in October 1997. The current version in use is DSDM Atern.