Friday, October 12, 2018

Why CMMI 2.0?

Jeff, There is a new CMMI in town. What's that all about? Why CMMI 2.0? ~ Tom Cagley, SPaMCast

[Editor's Note: Over the coming weeks, this CMMI Appraiser will be sharing excerpts from a recent conversation with Tom Cagley on the Software Process and Measurement Cast (SPaMCast) about CMMI V2.0, and how to begin transitioning to and using the new Model upgrade. Listen to the full interview at SPaMCast 512.]

Tom, as you know, the CMMI was developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI) as is a process improvement framework for software and engineering systems, and is currently administered and positioned more as a performance improvement framework by the CMMI Institute. The model is utilized by organizations large and small across the globe to improve capabilities and performance, but there hadn't been an upgrade to CMMI since 2010. Change was overdue.



When the CMMI Institute was spun off by the SCI and Carnegie Mellon into a standalone entity, now owned by ISACA, they were handed an existing product. The challenge was that few people from the Software Engineering Institute made the switch over to the new organization, and so, for a long time, they were really just keeping up in operations mode. They moved over some of the QA folks who looked at appraisals, along with a couple of the technical staff folks, only one of whom remains.

The product they were handed was CMMI v1.3. Everybody in the industry knew that version 1.3 had issues, despite being the defacto standard among the federal government contractors. For starters, it was very academic-focused. I always joke with my classes that v1.3 reads like it was written by 20 PhDs and 25 attorneys.

I believe there was an honest effort to try to make it more clear. But I think what they ended up doing was making it harder to read in the end. It's a particular flaw that has always gotten in the way of more general acceptance.

Another challenge has been that the appraisal method of version 1.3 was pretty heavy duty. As a result, lot of company owners and directors weren't excited about doing CMMI. They wanted to get that accreditation or “CMMI certification” as they called it (the accurate terms is to achieve a "rating"), but found it very difficult.

So not only was the wording ambiguous in many of the 356 practices in Maturity Level 3, but it also was an appraisal method that demanded a very high documentary evidence standard. Every one of those 356 practices required an artifact of some sort. You could have an artifact that spread across many practices, but on the whole appraisals were an exercise in collecting, categorizing and scoring mostly artifacts, and then adding some affirmations or verbal statements towards the end.

This was considered a very heavy, expensive time consuming effort. Companies were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars – sometimes less, sometimes more – in order to achieve that rating, and much of that cost was the appraisal.

So, between somewhat ambiguously worded practices and the way they were architected in the model, and the way the appraisal method was conducted, there was cause for the industry to scream out and say: “Hey, the federal government is going to keep demanding this. This is too much for us and too expensive. We need a better solution.” And that was the driver for change.

Fortunately, the CMMI Institute is blessed by a truly visionary leader, Kirk Botula, for whom I have a great deal of respect. Not only is Kirk a musician, and a fine musician at that, but he has also got a really good eye for the industry, having run a software company prior to joining the Institute. He brought a real industry-focused, consumer-focused view to the CMMI Institute that never existed in the SCI, in my opinion.

The changes started slowly. The industry was slow to react to Kirk’s new kind of approach. They were a little shell-shocked, I think, when they were asked to find out what their customers really wanted. Kirk was masterful at pulling together focus groups. He's traveled the world talking to people, and did a lot of industry research to find out what is it that people want. Then the Institute enlisted the help of partners, lead appraisers, and instructors -- and everyone they could talk to who did this for a living – and got them all to come together and help create this new product. The result was version 2.0.

There was a lot of talk about, “Should this be version 1.4?” Kirk was very clear in saying: No, it shouldn't be. It should be something totally new, totally different. The team worked hard on it, and released a version 2.0 just a couple of months ago.

As of yet, no appraisals have been conducted, but the very first public training class was done a couple of weeks ago and I was fortunate enough to teach that first class. I got to be the first one to stand up and talk about the new model and what was great about it, and honestly, some things that weren't as good as I had hoped. The class went swimmingly, and it really looks like CMMI V2.0 is going to be a game-changer in the industry.

If folks are interested getting training on all of the changes in the new model, we are hosting another CMMI 2.0 class in February. Feel free to learn more about “CMMI V2.0 Training! – Plus Optional Agile/CMMI Integration Workshop” on April 1-5, 2019.

# # #

I hope my readers have enjoyed this segment of my interview with Tom Cagley on SPaMCast #512. We'll be talking more about the changes in the new upgrade, CMMI V2.0, in the next segment. Please check back soon.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Won’t coders working on automation put themselves out of business?

Won’t coders working on Automation put themselves out of business?


When I was a young programmer (more decades ago than I care to remember) my first job was writing compilers. Everyone said to me, “don’t you feel bad putting all those assembler programmers out of business?” Of course, I didn’t because, well, I was getting paid to create compilers, but more importantly those compilers would go on to help the next generation of developers create great sites like google and Facebook - which never would have been written in 8086 assembler!
In the early 90s I had a job writing CASE tools - an early form of code automation, and we developed “point-and-click” interfaces that “wrote” c code in the background. “Wrote” is a strong word given that it all came from a database of code we had written previously, but that’s what it seemed like, and it enabled the next generation to easily create solutions without having to write in c themselves.
People asked me the same question about putting c programmers out of business, but it was obvious that it would end up helping, not hurting, the industry.
Sure - new tools and languages needed to be learned, but it relieved developers from even more drudge work, and let them focus on the good stuff - creating solutions.
Today, people are asking the same thing about automation. Automation will cause another shift in skill sets, but someone has to create and maintain the infrastructure, and then someone will exploit the outcomes to create entirely new, in-imagined solutions to problems. And the good thing about that is, humans will always have problems to solve!
So, stay sharp. Keep up on your skills, and don’t fear the future! Good luck!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

What Processes to "CMMI Companies" use?

What Process to "CMMI Companies" use?

Dear Readers – We've been having a lot of fun on Quora.com recently. For those who are new to the social media platform, I've found it to be a place for high-level discourse about (among other interesting topics) engineering strategy and software process improvement. Below is today's response. Enjoy! ~ the CMMI Appraiser

Great question!

The CMMI contains a set of Practices that our categorized by Process Areas (note: V2.0 calls them Practice Areas now, but both v1.3 and V2.0 are active).
These are not “processes,” they’re an academic breakout of the things great companies do, but think of them more like an inventory of behaviors.
Companies that adopt CMMI are using the model as a checklist of things to examine and, potentially add to, or improve, their processes based on the practices.
ALL companies that adopt CMMI have processes for:
  • Managing Projects (including plans, estimates, risks, data management and management suppliers, and measuring performance).
  • Defining, Designing, building, delivering, and testing solutions to requirements
  • Controlling work products (versioning), ensuring all the relevant work products are in sync.
  • Ensuring quality of performance and work products
  • Managing the continuous improvement of the organization
It helps to think of the CMMI this way, as opposed to focusing on the list or practices.
I like to use the CMMI as a check on what we are ALREADY doing, and to improve on our performance in all of the various areas.
And finally, if you want someone to verify that you’re examining all of these things, you can get appraised by a lead appraiser, and get a rating (Maturity Level).
You can find our more about this at www.broadswordsolutions.com.
Good luck!
Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

How can I become a Software Developer at 41?

How can I change my career and become a SW developer at age 41?

Dear Readers – We've been having a lot of fun on Quora.com recently. For those who are new to the social media platform, I've found it to be a place for high-level discourse about (among other interesting topics) engineering strategy and software process improvement. Below is today's response. Enjoy! ~ the CMMI Appraiser

That’s an excellent question!
I myself was a late starter. My first career was in music, and I was in my 30s before I picked up my first computer. Now, at 58, I’ve been a developer, analyst, project manager, architect, CTO, VP, and CEO - all in the software business - so it’s definitely possible!
It’s hard to break into this business as an older person. It’s definitely dominated by young, bright, energetic people, so it can be intimidating.
Obviously, you’ll need to gain some competence in coding and analysis, and this can be done at your local community college, or even through self-study and sites like Kahn Academy, which offers college level courses for free. Strive to be the best - because competence will be your most valuable asset.
I would start by building some of your own software applications right away. Just pick something simple, and just write some programs. College courses are good, but nothing beats actual development of a working app!
It’s going to be tough to walk into a job where you’re competing with younger folks that have experience, but let’s focus on the things you’ve probably learned along the way:
  • Focus
  • Patience
  • Complex problem solving
  • Controlling your ego (that’s a big one)
  • Pacing yourself for the longer-term
  • Understanding what high quality looks like
  • Experience collaborating with a lot of other people
  • An interest in a long-term position where you can build a career, instead of looking for the next raise or promotion. There is nothing wrong with that, but it tends to be a greater focus on the younger employee.
It's no coincidence that this closely maps to the principles in the Agile Manifesto!

I’m not saying that some young people don’t have this, but someone that’s a little more experienced WITH PEOPLE, not code, tend to have the 10,000 hours of experience in these skills that are still being learned by younger, newer developers.
So, don’t sell yourself short, your age is an asset. There area lot of smart people in the SW industry, and the competition is fierce, but you do have a few things in your corner, and you can exploit them to help equalize the conditions of employment.
Good luck!
Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

What are DOD and DOR in Scrum, and Why Should I Use Them?

What is DOD and DOR in Scrum, and why should I use them?

Ceremonies and techniques like “Definition of Done,” and “Definition of Ready” are common across many different types of agile teams and frameworks, not just scrum, they are often implemented as an “agile best practice.” Neither of these are new to the software business - frameworks like CMMI and PMBOK have been using these, with different names, for decades.

They are both a type of “validation” and are quite valuable.  And positioning them as "ceremonies" allows them to act as a control so that all team members agree to move forward.  Good stuff, and much needed.

Definition of Ready, or DOR, and sometimes called "Ready for Work," is a set of criteria that must be satisfied in order for an Epic or a Story to be accepted by the team. The story should be instantly “actionable,” and ready to build. This happens BEFORE you build it, so you can think of this as “pre-validation.”
According to the SW Engineering Institute, over 70% of defects are injected at the point of requirements acceptance by the team, mostly because they fail to be validated in one or more of the established criteria. The most common method for doing this is INVEST:
  1. Is the Story Independent?
  2. Is the story Negotiable (with the team, product owner, etc)
  3. Is the Story Valuable?
  4. Is the Story Estimable?
  5. Is the Story sized correctly (or “small”)?
  6. Is the Story Testable?
Other companies use SMART Goals, or their own set of criteria. Some companies use a meeting like “Three Amigos,” or “Three Diverse Humans” to do this as well. Boeing uses the CAM method (“Cranial Analysis Method”), which is like Three Amigos but with people who say they’re really smart :)
The important part is that they address the question “Is this a GOOD story?”
Definition of Done, or DOD, is the team’s agreement on what it means to complete a story. This happens AFTER you build it, so you can think of it as “post-validation.”
  1. Typical criterion for DOD are:
  2. The Story is Tested
  3. All defects are fixed
  4. The Product Owner has approved it
  5. The documentation is complete
Developing a good, solid set of criteria to validate stories both BEFORE and AFTER you build them is a basic function of software engineering, and there use will help to eliminate defects earlier.
There is more information about these, and other agile ceremonies, at agilecxo.org.

Good luck!


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Which book is a good start on CMMI, coming from a Scrum/agile background?

Which book is a good start for learning about CMMI coming from a Scrum/agile background? ~ Quora User

Dear Readers – We've been having a lot of fun on Quora.com recently. For those who are new to the social media platform, I've found it to be a place for high-level discourse about (among other interesting topics) engineering strategy and software process improvement. Below is today's response. Enjoy! ~ the CMMI Appraiser

Dear Quora User,

If you’re looking for the definitive “CMMI-Scrum” book, commissioned by the CMMI Institute, you can download my book “The Guide to CMMI and Scrum” free from the CMMI Institute site, or from the Broadsword web site.


Here’s a review with links to a free download: A GUIDE TO SCRUM AND CMMI®: IMPROVING AGILE PERFORMANCE WITH CMMI.

It’s filled with tables and examples for all types of Agile ceremonies and techniques.

Have fun!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Using Agile on a Waterfall project – What are the challenges?

What are the main challenges of using an Agile methodology on a Waterfall project? ~ Quora User

Dear Readers – Below is my response to a question posted on Quora.com by an Agile Leader who is thinking about using Agile methods in a "waterfall" environment - which can mean different things to different organizations, which I detail below. Regular users of Quora.com know this social media platform as a place for high-level discourse about engineering strategy and software process improvement, and the conversation has been especially thought-provoking recently. Enjoy! ~ the CMMI Appraiser

Dear Quora User,

The agile community has done a great job at defining and branding agile frameworks like Scrum and XP, although technically, they’re not methodologies. But they do provide great guidance for how to do things, what the roles are, and in what sequence actions are to take place.


“Waterfall,” is more ambiguous. There really isn’t a “waterfall community,” or a methodology that is called waterfall - although it is generally thought of as phased, task oriented, and planned for the project duration. Because of its use of project managers, strong oversight, metrics, and reporting, it’s often thought of (by agilistas anyway) as “low trust,” where “agile” is thought of (by agilistas) as “high trust,” due the the focus on self-organization and relying on the people who are doing the work to make important decisions.

A lot of people think they are implementing “agile” by adopting some techniques (ceremonies) such as the daily standup, or using a structure like a backlog for requirements. Some implement a tool like Jira (Atlassian), or TFS (Microsoft) and then call themselves “agile.” In the real world, “Agile” is a philosophical approach to running an organization based on a set of core values that include things such as “Transparency,” “Collaboration,” “Fail-fast” and others. Once an organization establishes their values (and people subscribe to them), then a set of methods, tools, and frameworks are established that align or trace to them.

For instance, “daily standup” traces to transparency and collaboration. “Sprints” trace to “fail-fast,” and so on. Scrum and XP are good examples of frameworks that have done a good job of aligning with agile values. Opinions vary, but there a some people who say SAFe (Scaled Agile) doesn’t do as good a job - one reason it is resonating so well with the government!

So, if by “waterfall” you mean “low trust” and “command-and-control,” you can use all the agile ceremonies you want, but you’ll struggle and not get a lot of value from them. If you mean that your work is “phased” with project mangers, and you have a strong culture based on agile values, you “are agile,” although you are not using Scrum or XP (for example). It’s possible to use waterfall techniques and still be agile, although it’s not very common in the industry. It’s also important to realize that Scrum does not equal agile, although it is a manifestation of agile values, if implemented properly.

If you choose to run a project using “waterfall,” but you want to encourage teams running their sub-projects to use Scrum, you are free to do that (in fact, I recommend it), but it all starts with leadership, who need to demonstrate a culture of agility and ensure the values are adopted by the organization - regardless of the techniques you use.

Good luck!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Where can I get CMMI V2.0-related content for studying?

Where could I get CMMI V2.0-related content for studying? I can’t get it because it is paid. I am working as a CMMI implementer in an IT company. ~ Quora User 

Dear Readers – recently I've been answering questions about performance improvement, CMMI, and Agile from engineering and software professionals and leaders, on Quora.com. Below is my response to a CMMI adopter who wants to be understand the new Model upgrade, CMMI V2.0. Enjoy! ~ the CMMI Appraiser

Dear Quora User, the only place to get the new version of CMMI V2.0 in online format. There is no longer a book that you can purchase or download. Neither are there CMMI-DEV or CMMI-SVC "constellations," just one model with different “views." These are some of the many changes you'll find in the new Model upgrade.


The reason for this is because the CMMI Institute has moved to an online subscription model, where you can only see the detailed content if you have an annual license. The price on this has been fluctuating as they experiment, but it’s somewhere between $400-1500US per user, depending on what you are buying.

The new CMMI is separated into two sections - protected content (anything that describes the meaning of the practices, including examples) and un-protected content (names of the Practice Areas (new terminology) and Practices. So you can see the list - just not what THEY think the meaning of each item is! For that you must buy a license.

Here are a couple of new things to get you started:

  • Process Areas are now Practice Areas
  • The sub-Practices have been eliminated
  • The Generic Practices have been eliminated
  • There are new Practice Areas for Governance and Implementation Infrastructure to replace and enhance the content from the Generic Practices
  • New CMMI appraisals will see the CMMI Institute determining the sample, not the Lead Appraiser or Sponsor
  • Each Practice Area has multiple levels within it (Practice Groups)

I’ve written pretty extensively on CMMI V2.0 here my blog, and have also done a number of videos (including interviews with the CMMI Institute’s Chief Architect) at CMMI-TV.com.

For more in-depth learning about CMMI V2.0, check out our upcoming CMMI V2.0 webinar, "CMMI V2.0 Is Here! Why It's the Best CMMI Yet.

Also consider signing up for a CMMI V2.0 Training class (where you will get the license as part of the training).

Good luck!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Large organizations adopting agile: How well is it going?

Jeff, in your exploration of over 300 organizations, a lot of them are the very big ones. When we look at the adoption profile, it's the late majority, the laggards, that are getting into Agile now. How well is that going? ~ Shane H.

[Editor's Note: During the coming weeks, this CMMI Appraiser will share excerpts from a recent conversation with Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods on the “Engineering Culture by InfoQ” podcast about leadership, and the kind of leadership that is needed in today’s Agile world. Today’s blog post is the first installment. Listen to the full interview at http://bit.ly/infoqpodcast]

Well, Shane, this isn't a popular opinion, but based on the empirical data we've collected, it's not going well. The marketing of agility is doing far better than the reality of agility, for a lot of different reasons. I always say it's the early adopters who kind of set the tone for adoption.

Of course, the early adopters of Agile tended to be smaller, more compact organizations, and subsections of companies or organizations that were trying Agile. They had great success with Scrum and XP and some of those things. But as Agile has scaled, and as more and more big companies have adopted Agile, it hasn't been as successful.


The reason? Start with the culture. It’s the culture of the company that drives the behaviors of the people. Small startups, small subsections of teams, tend to have very collaborative, transparent cultures. But look at large organizations like General Motors, the Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin, and Nationwide Insurance. All of these organizations have 300 or 400 teams working together, and the culture of those teams is the culture of their organization.

I’ll use General Motors as kind of a metaphor because there are a lot of big companies like them. Why are General Motors’ software teams very document-heavy and very process-heavy with lots of low trust oversight? Because that's how the company operates. It has nothing to do with their software teams. It has everything to do with the culture of the company.

The same has been true with the CMMI. The CMMI has a reputation of being kind of a heavyweight process-burden model. But the only reason people think that is because the early adopters were General Electric, General Motors, Lockheed Martin and the DoD. These are organizations were already heavy, overburdened, over-processed companies, so when they adopted CMMI, they made it a process-heavy model. And when they adopted Agile, what do you think they did? They made it heavy, and over-burdened.

In my work assessing the agile performance of large organizations like these, I’ve found that they all have Project Managers that do tasking. They use Microsoft Project. They do a lot of things that you would think were Agile anti-patterns, or antithetical to agile values. They all do them!

It's only the smallest companies that are running Scrum projects using the Scrum roles as defined in the Scrum Guide. Most larger companies have Project Managers, Architects, Directors, Process Quality, and audits. They have all the things that you would say agile teams would never have. I observed this early on, and said, “Hey, there's a culture clash.”

I'm sure your audience knows what a “type mismatch” is in software, Shane. We call this phenomenon an “organizational type mismatch,” when the values and philosophy of the company are at odds with the values and philosophies of Agility.

When you look at the core agile values – collaboration, transparency, fail-fast, and so on – you see they are directly antithetical to the corporate philosophies of a company like General Electric, for example, and other large organizations that are very much command-and-control, low-trust, document-focused, audit-focused, etc. We noticed right away that senior management -- CIOs and CTOs especially -- were keen on becoming more Agile. But they weren't so keen on changing the corporate culture. That itself was an impediment to their success, and continues to be today. That's why I say it's not going well.

# # #

I hope my readers have enjoyed this segment of my interview with Shane Hastie on the InfoQ podcast. We'll be talking more about leadership, and whether leadership is more or less important in today’s Agile world, in the next segment. Please check back soon.

http://bit.ly/infoqpodcast

For those interested in a deeper dive into learning about Agile Leadership, please visit agilecxo.org for white papers, blog posts, podcasts and performance models to help software and engineering executives guide their organizations to be more agile, from top to bottom.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.





Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What's the best way to provide guidance for Scrum teams?

What's the best way of making sure that teams working on different projects follow the same Scrum process? Would you use a rigid approach or allow a degree of flexibility for each team? ~ Quora User

Dear Readers – Engineering strategy and software process improvement are popular topics on Quora.com, and I try to go in and answer questions as frequently as I can. Below is my response to an Agile Leader who wants to be more successful with Scrum. Enjoy! ~ the CMMI Appraiser

Dear Quora User,

Scrum, one of several popular frameworks that fall under the “agile” umbrella, is an “empirical process model.” This means, for this context, that teams learn and improve as they go, and may end up with different approaches over time, as compared to other teams.

Providing Scrum teams with guiderails 

The very nature of empirical models means that a “rigid” approach is not acceptable, and would corrupt the very architecture you’ve adopted - probably leading to negative results.

That doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t be provided with guidance (sometimes called "guiderails" in the community) on how the company expects them to perform.

Like a great musician, artist, or writer, the best performing scrum teams have MASTERED the art of scrum before they go off an make a lot of changes, versus the worst garage band, that just turns up the volume and celebrates their rebelliousness.

One performance model that is gaining in popularity is the Agile Performance Holarchy (APH) from AgileCxO.org. This set of guiderails is intended to influence leadership to set expectations of performance using a very disciplined approach, but then encourages teams to improve, adjust, learn, and modify based on their needs - but only AFTER mastering the craft. Makes sense.

Good luck!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Why is there such a disconnect in how Agile is marketed and how Agile is adopted?

Dear CMMI Appraiser,

For defense industry CMMI organizations like ours, why does there seem to be such a disconnect between the way Agile is marketed and the way it is actually adopted by teams? ~ Quora User

Dear Readers – Because there is often a high level of discourse at Quora.com about engineering strategy and software process improvement, I try to go in and answer questions as frequently as I can. Below is my response to an engineering professional in the defense industry who wants to be more successful with agile. Enjoy!

Dear Quora User,

Because reality is a harsh teacher.

Agile: why is there a disconnect?

When you consider that most marketing is about the “happy path,” and by its very nature doesn’t advertise the complexity of the product or service, or its potential points of failure, it makes more sense. Agile is complex, hard, and fraught with risk. It’s also rewarding.

Agile is popular because it espouses self-organization, collaboration, transparency, optimism, trust, rapid delivery of value, and celebrating early failure (among other things). These are all things that, in theory, produce more value, more quickly than what we sometimes call “waterfall,” or “traditional” project management techniques.

Then comes the reality. Companies, customers, teams, and humans are often NOT collaborative, optimistic, trusting, or willing to celebrate early failure. This is especially true in the government, health care, and aerospace industries. If they naturally were all those things, it would be simple to adopt and embrace agile values, ceremonies, and techniques, and everyone would happily march down the path to a more agile future. But they’re not - almost never.

For instance, as a reaction to top-down, command-and-control approaches to managing projects, Scrum doesn’t identify “project manager” as a role. After all, a Scrum team is self-organizing. Why would they need a manager? That sounds great - except there are MANY things a project manager needs to do related to product development that have nothing to do with tasking and oversight, and of the over 200 agile organizations I’ve assessed, 100% have project managers. Some are good at it - they limit the PM's role to ensure it aligns with agile values. Some are terrible at it, and have PMs that can’t resist being dictators.

The other problem is that leaders often don’t even know what agile “looks like,” and they go about the process of “agile transformation” without any attempt on their own part to change and become agile themselves. This creates immense friction in the organization and makes “real” agile adoption (as opposed to just adopting some techniques) almost impossible. AgileCxO’s model, the “Agile Performance Holarchy,” is the defacto standard for agile leaders who are serious about this, and AgileCxO’s research has shown that leaders, not teams, or the largest impediment to agile adoption.

So, the bottom line is that Agile is hard and requires very strong leadership - although not the kind we’re used to. Try marketing that!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

CMMI in Aerospace - some things to think about

Dear Appraiser - we're a large aerospace engineering company, and we're just not sure how CMMI fits into our company. Give me some ideas please! ~Paul G Cincinnati, OH.

Paul - CMMI and Aerospace? it's a great question because it opens up the idea of multi-dimensional process deployment - something I'm super passionate about.



You see, we tend to think about process in a single dimension - we plan, we estimate, we design, build, test, and deploy.  But no!  It's much more interesting and cool than that.

In a typical aerospace, defense, or aviation organization, there are many sub-organizations that execute a process, but they each need to do it differently.  On size does not fit all.  And then after they are done their pieces, they need to do it together. So there isn't ONE process - there are many.

Even though the CMMI has one "Project Planning" process area, and one "Technical Solution" process area, they are MANY instantiations of it within a large aerospace organizations - and each one is different - because each one has different goals, objectives, and needs.

For instance, the software teams may be using a product backlog, planning poker, and an entire set of agile frameworks, methods, and techniques.  The Systems Engineering team may be using MS Project, Gantt charts, and a set of waterfall techniques.  Yes - they're both executing Project Planning.

Take this organization that I work with in Mason, OH.  They design and build cameras and other optical equipment that goes in to space.  They have the following types of independent engineering organizations.:

Systems Engineering
Design Engineering
Software Engineering
Hardware Engineering
Validation Engineering
....and more.

Each one of these groups has to 1) estimate the work, 2) plan the work 3) understand the requirements, 3) design the solution 4) integrate the solution design with the OTHER engineering disciplines, 4) build the solution 5) integrate it with the OTHER engineering disciplines and 6) test both the individual and integrated solutions and finally, implement the overall solution.

Each one of them is very different - with different goals and objectives, and a flexible set of processes is needed.  The CMMI does a great job at providing the architecture for this.

How does CMMI play into this?

CMMI helps us create an architecture that aerospace, defense, and aviation companies can use to develop a flexible and tailorable process that makes sense to all of the sub-organizations. The opposite of "everyone doing everything the same," the CMMI enables a process that is modifiable and flexible enough to meet the needs of all of the various engineering disciplines.

So take a look.  At its core, the CMMI is not a process (or really even a process model), it's a flexible, agile, and modifiable architecture that let's you apply different processes and behaviors at all levels, in multiple dimensions, to deliver high quality products.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

How do Maturity Levels work in CMMI V2.0?

Dear Appraiser, it seems like Maturity Levels are different in CMMI V2.0.  Can you tell us what's up? ~Miriam

You're right!  It's very different.

If you recall from v1.3, we had the "Staged Representation" and the "Continuous Representation."  In the staged, you were told which process areas had to be successfully appraised in order to reach a certain maturity level (7 in ML2, 11 in ML3, and 2 each in ML4/5).  If you chose to go the "continuous" route, you could get a "Capability Level" in any one Process Area, up to Capability Level Three by applying the corresponding Generic Practices and Goals.

CMMI V2.0 semi-conflates these two concepts.  There are no Generic Practices anymore, but each Practice Area has a set of "Practice Groups," which are a little like Capability Levels from v1.3, and all Practice Areas, except Configuration Management,  have at least three of these (CM has two).  Some also have four practice areas, and a couple have five.

In order to achieve a maturity level, you need to successfully satisfy all the practice groups (there are no more goals) in all of the pre-determined Practice Areas to achieve a given level.  Here is the list:


The following Practice Areas must be rated at Practice Group 2 (think of a practice group like a capability level):

Managing Performance and Management
Supplier Agreement Management
Process Quality Assurance
Configuration Management
Monitor and Control
Planning
Estimating
Requirements Development and Maintenance
Governance
Implementation Infrastructure



The following Practice Areas must be rated at Practice Group 3, with the EXCEPTION of CM, which only goes to Level 2


Managing Performance and Management
Supplier Agreement Management
Process Quality Assurance
Configuration Management
Monitor and Control
Planning
Estimating
Requirements Development and Maintenance
Governance
Implementation Infrastructure
Causal Analysis and Resolution
Decision Analysis and Resolution
Organizational Training
Risk Management
Process Asset Development
Peer Reviews
Process Management
Verification and Validation
Technical Solution
Product Integration


The following Practice Areas must be rated at Practice Group 4, in addition to everything above


- Managing Performance and Management

- Planning

- Governance

- Causal Analysis and Resolution

- Process Management




The following Practice Areas must be rated at Practice Group 5, in addition to everything above


- Managing Performance and Management


- Causal Analysis and Resolution


So that's it!  EZPZ!

Don't forget, all appraisal team members must now also be CMMI V2.0 Certified Associate!  In order to do that, we recommend you sign up right now for one of our CMMI Development V2.0 classes.

Looking forward to seeing you and learning about this, and many other topics, in the new CMMI V2.0 class!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What’s different about the new CMMI V2.0 Training classes?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, I took your “Introduction to CMMI-DEV v1.3” training in Detroit, Michigan.  Now we’re looking at a 2020 appraisal, and want to get our Lead Appraisal Team together for CMMI 2.0. What’s changed in the CMMI 2.0 Training class? ~ Mitch M. 

Mitch, thanks for staying in touch. As I said in class, the CMMI is 100% about solving business problems. It’s not about documents, ratings or certificates. That’s one thing that will never change. In fact, CMMI V2.0 focuses even more on that.

But you’re right – just about everything else changes with the CMMI 2.0 upgrade, including the way the CMMI Training class is conducted.


To begin with, there no longer will be a 3-day “Introduction to CMMI” class.

It’s still a 3-day commitment for you though. But instead of one class, there are two classes. The first class, “Foundations of Capability,” is two days, followed by a one-day “Building DEV Excellence” class.

FOUNDATIONS OF CAPABILITY

Many significant changes occur in the two-day part of the class.

CMMI V2.0 Associate Exam Included 

Included in the price, and as part of the class, you get the CMMI V2.0 Associate Exam. Now, everyone who takes the class will have an opportunity to become certified, but you don't HAV to take ik - unless you want to be on an appraisal team.  Which brings us to . . .

New Appraisal Team Requirements 

Everyone who will be on your Appraisal Team for CMMI V2.0 will need to complete the CMMI V2.0 Associate Exam successfully. Previously, it was only necessary for them to complete the class. Now, you also have to take the test and pass it.

You Get Access to a Model Viewer 

During the CMMI V2.0 training class, you will be given a license to use the Model Viewer. As the name implies, the Model Viewer is your view of the Model, replacing the old “constellations” such as DEV, SVC and ACQ. You’ll be able to use the Model Viewer in class, as you’re learning, and for up to thirday days afterward for the test.

So that's the required two-day class. It is followed by the required one-day class.

BUILDING DEV EXCELLENCE

This class is your one day add-on if your organization is interested in an appraisal for CMMI Development, or if you just want to learn about CMMI Development.

Think of it as a supplement class, like the ones available today for SVC or DEV. The one-day CMMI V2.0 class serves the same function. You can take the DEV supplement, and in the future take a SVC or the People or a Cyber Security supplement – whatever you choose to add on to your basic Foundations of Capability certification.

My classes take place three days in a row. We administer the CMMI Associate Exam on the third day, so that everyone gets the benefit of all three days before they have to take the test. You can sign up for one here: https://broadswordsolutions.com/events/category/classes/

Just remember that your team must complete the CMMI certification exam before they can sit on an appraisal team.

Looking forward to seeing you in the new CMMI V2.0 class!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

What Training do I need to be a CMMI V2.0 ATM?

Dear Appraiser,

My company just told me I was slated to be a CMMI V2.0 Appraisal Team Member next year, and they asked me to go get trained.  What do I need to do?  ~Manny

Thanks Manny.  Congratulations?



Being on an appraisal team is a great experience no matter what Jimmy Stewart thinks!  But, there are some pre-requisites.

All CMMI V2.0 Appraisal Team Members must now be "Certified CMMI Associates."  Here's how you make that happen:

If you have NEVER taken the official CMMI v1.3 Introduction to CMMI Class:

- Sign up for the 3-day set of classes, now called "Foundations of Capability" (2 day) and "Building DevExcellence" (1 day)

- Use the 30-day license you get before class for the  CMMI Viewer tool to study up on the model

- Attend the 3-days of training

- Sit for, and pass, the CMMI V2.0 Associate Exam


If you HAVE taken the official CMMI v1.3 Introduction to CMMI class

-either take the class (above) or sign up for the online CMMI v1.3 to CMMI v2.0 transition course at http://CMMIInstitute.com.  (3 day V2.0 class is recommended)

- Sit for, and pass, the CMMI V2.0 Associate Exam


Once you've completed one of these options, you'll should purchase an annual license to the model viewer for $400 in order to have access during the appraisal.  Your appraisal is a long time out, and there could be changes between now and then. 

Good luck!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.






Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Is there a video that gives an overview of CMMI 2.0?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser,

I was looking for an overview of CMMI V2.0 on video.  Can you recommend something about CMMI 2.0 on Youtube? Thanks. ~ Scott B.

Hey, Scott! The best place to go for videos on CMMI 2.0 is CMMI-TV, our YouTube channel.

Check out my series of videos highlighting all of the CMMI V2.0 model on CMMI-TV:



If you are interested in learning more about using CMMI V2.0 to improve the performance, or just to get a rating for your company in this new model, we offer classes in both CMMI and Agile.  Go to cmmi2training.com for more information.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.