Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Discount code -- $400 off! -- for Agile Dev East Conference

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, I saw a Tweet that you'll be speaking at the Agile Dev East conference. What topic will you be addressing? ~ John B.

Hey, John - thank you for following me on Twitter!


Yes, I'll be presenting at the Better Software Agile Dev East Conference, which takes place in Orlando in November.  My topic is agile leadership, and I’ll be introducing folks to a new model for evaluating high performing teams, the Agile Performance Holarchy. The Agile Performance Holarchy is a late-binding, soft-coded performance model for adopting, transforming and mastering agility within your software or technology organization.  With the Agile Performance Holarchy, current and future leaders now have an object-oriented model for building and assessing agile capability.

I’ve assessed hundreds of agile teams over the last 15 years, and I’ve learned that there are two impediments that exist to successful and scaleable agile adoption. It’s not that we need a new method. We don’t need to turn Agile into Waterfall.  And we certainly don’t need lower trust or more command and control.

What we need is for leadership to understand, embrace and project agile values, and how they trace to the ceremonies and techniques that we’re using. And we need teams to execute those ceremonies with discipline and integrity.

The Agile Performance Holarchy is a clear definition of great agile for leaders and teams alike, and it provides a sustainable path to agile capability, while preserving the value of high trust and empirical process control.

I hope you can stop by the session, John, and learn about verifiable agile performance.  For those who haven't registered yet, here's the link: Agile Dev East Conference.

Feel free to use my code (BE17JD25) and get $400 off!

It will be my pleasure to see you there.

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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Friday, August 11, 2017

When is the best time to adopt CMMI?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser --  Our company just performed a self-assessment, and we are looking at CMMI as a way to push process improvement across our entire organization.  What are some of the factors we should consider as far as timing ... i.e., when is the best time to adopt the CMMI? ~ Brian G.

First of all, Brian, congratulations on completing a self-assessment.  That's the first step to improving you company, your products, and the satisfaction of your customers.  You are on your way!

For a lot of organizations, the best time to look at adopting the CMMI is when you identify the need to change behaviors and establish an environment for operating like a great company – for the long term.  For example:



If you are having trouble with estimates, CMMI can help make your estimates better.

If you are having trouble with late projects, CMMI can help improve predictability.

If your bosses are micromanaging you, CMMI can give them more information to help them understand what is going on with projects.

If you have a lot of tedious rework, CMMI can help avoid that by bringing clarity and validation to the process by making sure the requirements are right when you get them.

If you have unhappy customers, CMMI can help put a framework in place that helps you manage their expectations.

If you experience a lot of chaos in your business, CMMI can help you bring stability to that as well.

If you are interested in defining the Way you do business as a group, the CMMI can help you define your Way and be the great company that you are.

So what should you do next? 

I recommend learning everything you need to know about CMMI as a large collection of lessons learned and best practices.  You can get this information for free on our next webinar, "CMMI: Everything You NEED to Know," on Friday, August 18th at 2PM.


After watching the webinar, you'll be that much closer to getting started with CMMI. Please check back if we can offer further assistance.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you on the webinar!

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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Check out Ask The CMMI Appraiser TV!

That's right!  We're now have our own YouTube Channel!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYOtm0XSGzxoxy8O4ME9XMQ

Below, you’ll find a list of current "Ask The CMMI Appraiser" episodes. Click on the title to view the video, or use the link above to see them all!
Video 25:  What Is CMMI?
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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

CMMI: Do you know what "done" looks like?

Check out this video to see it all drawn out for youhttps://youtu.be/_eM1FVFH-04

About once a week my phone rings with a request to "get a level" of CMMI "as soon as possible."

Some of my friends in the CMMI community would chastise me for even entertaining the question and engaging these callers in a helpful conversation - one in particular (you know who you are)  might even slam down the phone (do people even still do that with cell phones?) while yelling "DUMMY!"

It goes without saying that the true purpose of CMMI is to serve as a model for performance improvement, and many say that companies who chase a certificate or plaque (we call this "plaque buildup") are doing nothing good for themselves, and probably damaging their company in the process.  

But I'm not with them on this.  Here's why.

These callers, often company owners, are in a very tight spot. Often they are qualified for the work, sometimes they're even ALREADY doing the work, but then the government (or customer) throw the CMMI requirement at them as a pre-requisite for keeping their revenue coming in.  Many of them have never even heard of CMMI.  I can excuse them for thinking this a tactic meant to unfairly exclude them from winning work for which their are qualified.

Frankly, asking how fast they can get to CMMI MLx is a fair question.  Especially since they don't really have a good feel for what CMMI even is.  They deserve an answer for how to "get it done."

So what does "done" look like?

We recommend starting with an independent, unbiased assessment.  This is a great way to get at the "single source of truth" and bypass all of the emotions, opinions, and roadblocks.  The CMMI has hundreds of nooks and crannies where performance weaknesses can hide, and we want to make sure you understand exactly what is in front of you and what needs to be done.

Once you have that under you belt, you'll have everything you need to put together a "plan-to-achieve." The data tells us that it's not a short process, but if you treat it like a project, and take a deliverable, purposeful approach, it can be done by any company.  Duration depends on a lot of factors: where you are today, resources commitment, sponsorship, and company culture.  I've seen companies take 5 years to get to ML2, and others take 6 months to get to ML3.

As we like to say in our business, "it depends." It's impossible to know without getting into the details.  Anyone who tells you otherwise ("sure, I can get you there in 2 months...") is lying.  Or unethical. Or both.

Once the plan is defined, there's some work to do.  You'll design some processes, develop some training, deploy both, and have your projects adopt the improvements.  In some cases, you may change the way you're working altogether.  Along the way we usually provide some training (Introduction to CMMI), workshops, and consulting, and when you're ready.....

We plan your appraisal(s) by selecting projects and people to sample, developing a schedule, documenting the plan, and reviewing/approving it with key stakeholders.  In the background we'll register your appraisal with the CMMI Institute, and make other key preparations.

About 30 days before your scheduled "onsite," we'll conduct some Appraisal Team Training with four or more of your team members, and conduct a Readiness Review.  That's where it all starts.  From there there will be same data collection in preparation for the big day arriving!

The "onsite portion of your appraisal (known as "Phase II") will take place over a week or more, and will include interviews, artifact reviews, and characterization of practices (a kind of "scoring"), all leading up to the development of a final findings report that will spell out the result.

Did you "pass?"  Well - that's up to you.  Good luck!

Check out this video to see it all drawn out for you: https://youtu.be/_eM1FVFH-04

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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.






Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Adopting Agile frameworks and techniques doesn't make you Agile - does it?

It's undeniable that "agile" is all the rage and is growing exponentially, and that frameworks and techniques that are frequently associated with "agile" (Scrum, XP, TDD, BDD, Planning Poker, et al) are being adopted at a furious pace.  But its growth is horizontal *across projects* and not vertical from projects up to the C-Suite.  This is a problem.

In other words, management isn't really on board.  In most cases, they're still running a "waterfall" operation.  And Agile values? Not so much.

The adoption and projection of Agile values are what provides the necessary culture and state-of-mind that enables true agility.  Without leadership on these, enterprise agile will never happen.  Ever.

So adopting frameworks isn't enough, is it?

I've lost count of the number of companies I've worked with that started out by telling me that they were "agile - sorta."  By that they meant they were working "a little more iteratively" (whatever that means) and holding "daily meetings." Good stuff, for sure, but it's just the beginning.

Most of these companies were diligently trying to adopt agile frameworks and techniques, but they were doing it in a vacuum - without leadership support.  They were doing yeoman's work without leaders fertilizing the crops with a solid demonstration and projection of Agile values - especially high trust, transparency, fail-fast, and collaboration.

"Sure - be agile.  Just make sure to provide a 24 month program plan."

"Sure - be agile.  Just don't bother the customer."

"Great!  We love agile.  Can you fit this new feature into this sprint?"

I wish I could say this is rare problem, but it's not.  I've assessed more than 100 "agile" organizations and 90% of them had leadership that was not actively engaged in agile adoption.

Nothing against the folks who are doing great work at the team level, or the people leading the industry with new and innovative techniques for enterprise agile, SAFe, or DAD  (great stuff, really), but the real impediment is more basic - leaders need to get up to speed on what great agile is, better understand what they're role is in the agile ecosystem, and change the way their leading!

Until they do that, we're pushing rope uphill.

To make matters more complicated, there hasn't been an industry model for them to lean on to check themselves - until now.  Check this one out.

I'll be speaking on the of Agile leadership, values, and more at the upcoming 2017 Agile Leadership Summit in Washington, DC on September 22nd, 2017.  There will be eight great speakers, and networking with other Agile leaders who are looking to address this problem in the industry.  Why don't you join me?  agilecxo.org.

The first keynote is Kevin Fisher, VP at the Nationwide Insurance Advance Development Center.  Kevin is responsible for the capability lift of their 225 Agile teams.  Talk about Enterprise Agile!

The second keynote is our good friend Tom Cagley from SPaMCast.  Tom's interviewed 100s of Agile luminaries, and will be sharing his lessons on Agile leadership.

Register for the Agile Leadership Summit at www.agilecxo.org.



Jeff Dalton is an author, coach, and instructor for Agile leaders.  He is President of Broadsword, a Performance Innovation company, and Chief Evangelist at AgileCxO.org, a resource an development organization that provides models for Agile leaders.













Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Where can we find an agile and lean version of the CMMI Training Class?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, We heard your CMMI training class is a little different from other CMMI training classes because you take an agile and lean approach to the CMMI Institute's "Introduction to CMMI-DEV v.1.3". Where can we sign up? ~ Galen D.

Galen, you heard correctly! As an organizational performance innovator, this CMMI Appraiser designed an agile and lean version of the CMMI Institute-authorized training class, "Introduction to CMMI-DEV v1.3," just for people like you. We're conducting the class on August 14-16 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and I'd love for you to experience it with us!

REGISTER NOW >> 

As you may already know about CMMI, (Capability Maturity Model Integration), the Model is a high-performance framework for engineering and software organizations that will give you the tools you need to focus on doing the things you signed up for - writing great software and building great products.

If your company is conducting a CMMI SCAMPI A Appraisal, this is a required course for Appraisal Team Members.

What will you learn in the CMMI training class?

In the class, you’ll learn how to use the CMMI as a guide to help you ...

  • Establish a useful level of control over your processes
  • Improve the speed of software delivery, engineered products, and technology services
  • Change and improve the behaviors within your company needed to deliver high-quality services and products

What's in it for you?

  • Learn about ways to improve performance and remain agile
  • 21 PDUs towards your PMP certification
  • More than a 30% discount
  • Fun and entertaining learning experience with hands-on games, exercises, and lectures

What do you get to take home?

  • CMMI Institute Authorized training materials
  • Broadsword exclusive training materials
  • A copy of CMMI: Guidelines for Process Integration and Product Improvement
  • CMMI v1.3 quick-reference card
  • CMMI v1.3 Reference Poster
  • Certificate of Completion

In "Introduction to CMMI" you will not only learn, but learn to apply what you’ve learned, so that you always know how things are going and how they can be made better.

Will you join us?


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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What does it mean to "labor in freedom"?


Dear Readers,

Happy Independence Day!

This Fourth of July, we're pausing in our mission of helping companies improve organizational performance to reflect on all we have as Americans.  Once again we are deeply humbled by the heroism of countless servicemen and women who gave their lives to ensure the rights and freedoms that we enjoy every day.

For many engineering and software professionals, this includes the freedom to build great companies that solve real problems.  Truly, what could be more important to the health and viability of our nation?  As Albert Einstein said, “Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.”

That’s why Broadsword is so passionate about helping companies adopt CMMI and agile as tools that can help them be as great as they can be.  We want you to “labor in freedom” and be free of burdensome process debt, free of unhappy customers, and free from life-draining overhead and excessive, rigid compliance.

So let’s all enjoy our precious free time on this, our nation's 240th birthday.  As we celebrate the holiday with friends and family, as we wave flags, sing patriotic songs, and attend picnics, parades and fireworks celebrations, let’s take a moment to appreciate how the values that helped build this great country can also help us build great companies.

To your freedom!

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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Announcing CMMI training August 14-16

Hey, CMMI Appraiser

I’m part of an executive leadership group that is made up of several very different software and engineering companies. Many of us are interested in CMMI training, but it's complicated. We’ve got an aerospace engineering firm with an Agile team approach, a Department of Defense contractor with a Waterfall approach, and an automotive industry supplier with a CMMI-based approach. Is there one CMMI training class that can meet all of our needs? ~ Ethan M.

Hey, Ethan,

You’ve come to the right place. Our CMMI training is a good fit for just about every type of company and every variety of leader and staff person. All you need is a desire to learn.


With learning as your goal, you’ll find can use the CMMI as one of the tools that helps you set the right goals and objectives, ask the right questions, and establish the type of environment for operating like a great company.

So if you and the executives in your group love learning, here’s an interactive learning experience that will feel just right:

Announcing "Introduction to CMMI-DEV v1.3," a CMMI Institute-approved CMMI training class that Broadsword is conducting on August 14-16, 2017, in Knoxville, TN.

Register HERE for "Introduction to CMMI-DEV," August 14-16, 2017, in Knoxville, TN.

"Introduction to CMMI-DEV v1.3" is designed to help engineering and software professionals.  Some are CMMI-focused and looking for guidance on being lighter and more flexible.  Some are on Agile teams that are still seeking the kind of results they’ve been hoping for.  And some represent Waterfall organizations that are considering new perspectives.

If you’re coming "Introduction to CMMI-DEV v1.3," be prepared for a different kind of CMMI training experience.  You’ll play games, do exercises, tell stories and listen to your peers.  With real life examples, lessons and proven techniques, you take away – and retain – valuable information to be used on the job, immediately.

Register now.

We hope to see you there!

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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Announcing Capability Counts 2017 Presentation: 20-Day Countdown to SCAMPI A

Dear Readers,

The good times are about to roll!  CMMI Institute’s Capability Counts 2017, our industry’s premier conference for performance improvement, Agile and CMMI, kicks off next week in the Washington, DC area, with in-depth learning opportunities for using the CMMI to improve organizational performance and increase capability!

As you know if you’ve been reading our blog this month, Broadsword is delivering eight presentations at the event I like to call “The Greatest Show on Earth.”  One presentation in particular you won’t want to miss is Cathy Henderson’s “20 Days Out – NOW WHAT?  Countdown To SCAMPI A” on Tue, May 16th, 9:00 AM - 9:40 AM.


Cathy and I had a chance for a little Q&A recently:

CMMI Appraiser: Why “20 Days Out”?

Cathy: To use a juggling metaphor, the 20-day mark is the critical point that represents all of the balls being in the air at once. At 4 weeks before the scheduled SCAMPI A, organizations are conducting Appraisal Team Training and the Readiness Review; they are collecting appraisal evidence, scheduling interviews, and of course still maintaining their day jobs! There is a lot going on, and folks need a good strategy to be successful. My presentation shares this strategy.

CMMI Appraiser: What is the big problem organizations typically are facing when they get to the 20-day mark?

Cathy: Most organizations are not very well prepared at that critical point. Unprepared organizations put stress on their teams and have to scramble to the finish line, if they can make it without postponing.  It’s not a good way to market the valuable processes designed to make their organization better.

In “20 Day Countdown to SCAMPI,” any organization that is preparing for an appraisal will understand the best method to plan and monitor tasks while avoiding major pitfalls that may affect the success of the SCAMPI... and sanity of their teams!

CMMI Appraiser: What solutions have people tried, but failed?

Cathy: People try to prepare for the SCAMPI at the same time they are deploying processes and training project teams. They do this because they have underestimated the planning piece and associated dependencies, a mistake that often leads to failure.

CMMI Appraiser: What are some leading indicators that a CMMI appraisal is heading toward a disaster?

Cathy: If an organization has not finished deploying standard processes, then projects cannot produce outputs, and appraisal teams cannot collect evidence. That’s a danger sign.

CMMI Appraiser: What are some leading indicators that a CMMI appraisal is heading toward success?

Cathy: There has been a plan with tasks, milestones, and it has been monitored as well as shared with the Lead Appraiser. Now you’re on the right track!

CMMI Appraiser: What is an “a-ha” moment people will get from your presentation?

Cathy: Look to the CMMI Model and the processes developed to guide you towards a successful SCAMPI.

As a bonus, here’s my Best Kept Secret: If you have applied PP, PMC, GP 2.10 and M&A to your SCAMPI planning process, you are on Easy Street!

CMMI Appraiser: Thank you, Cathy! I hope our readers will join us for your presentation next week for Capabilty Counts 2017. For those who haven’t purchased a ticket, there’s still time to register here.

See you at Capability Counts 2017!

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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What are the Gamers' Alley sessions at Capability Counts 2017?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, What are the Gamers'Alley sessions at Capability Counts 2017? ~ Software and Engineering People Everywhere

Hey, all you good people of the software industry! One of the reasons I'm so passionate about Capability Counts 2017 is all the great opportunities we'll have to learn from (and with) one another. Like "Gamers' Alley," for instance. Ross Timmerman, from Broadsword’s Performance Innovation Team, is presenting two sessions of Gamers’ Alley at the conference. Gamers' Alley is an innovative, hands-on learning environment for experiencing breakthroughs in performance ...

But let's let Ross tell it.

Take it away, Ross Timmerman!


CMMI Appraiser: Welcome, Ross! Please enlighten our readers. What is Gamers' Alley?

Ross: Gamer's Alley is a fun and fast-paced way to learn about key concepts at the core of CMMI and Agile without really knowing that you're doing that while you play. It's noisy, chaotic, messy and intense all at the same time, much like working on a project.

CMMI Appraiser: What are some of the big a-ha moments people get at Gamer's Alley?

Ross: One big a-ha moment is when the gamers grasp the massive power of reflection and working together to get better early and often. It's so different than doing lessons learned at the end of a multi-year project. Another big a-ha moment comes when the concept of understanding value from the perspective of the user (customer), and then intentionally delivering value to the user (customer) as rapidly as possible creates questions about the value of thousand line project plans for multi year projects. Change happens so fast that we can't predict what will happen in a month much less a year.

CMMI Appraiser: What is the most astonishing thing you've seen happen at Gamer's Alley?

Ross: The most astonishing thing I see are the quiet, deliberative, engineering types throwing all that off, and diving in with wild abandon. Let's face it, work should be fun. If it's not, maybe we should buy some Legos!

CMMI Appraiser: Thanks, Ross! I hope everyone will come check out Gamers' Alley for this fun way to learn about improving performance.

See you at Capability Counts!

Register here.


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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Who Else Needs CMMI Training?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, we're looking at adopting the CMMI and getting CMMI training as a way to give us more control over the way we do our work. Can CMMI really help in this direction? If so, as QA, I'll sign up. Also, can you tell me who else from our organization needs CMMI training? ~ Cathy B, QA

Hey, Cathy - yes, the CMMI can and will give you more control over the way you do your work. Without CMMI, you can feel like you're just being dragged along ...


You can take control of the way you do your work by signing up for “Introduction to CMMI-DEV v1.3,” a three-day CMMI Institute-authorized training class on June 6-8 in Arlington, Virginia.

When: June 6, 2017 @8:30am – June 8, 2017 @1:00pm
Where: Arlington, Virginia (outside of Washington, DC)
Cost: $1300 (that’s more than 30% off!)
How to register: Click here!

As to your question "who else from our organization should take CMMI training?" the class is open to all IT leaders, software engineers, software developers, project managers, business analysts and line managers.

Your teammates NEED to take CMMI Training when …
  • Your company is interested in improving software and engineering performance
  • Your management wants an approach to remedy consistently late or over-budget projects
  • Your team needs a way to make its work sustainable and scaleable
Your teammates are REQUIRED to take CMMI Training when …
  • You intend to participate in a SCAMPI Appraisal team
  • You wish to become a CMMI Lead Appraiser
The CMMI is designed to give you more control over how things are going and what you need to do to get better.  So take the first step to taking control of your work.

Hope this helps, Cathy. Register now, and we'll see you in 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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The #1 Reason I'm Going (Back) to Capability Counts This Year: To Build Stronger Relationships with Key CMMI Institute Leaders

Hey, CMMI Appraiser - will we get a chance to meet some of the CMMI Institute leaders at Capability Counts this year? ~ CMMI program sponsor in Maryland

Dear Readers, 

Get those bags packed!  It’s almost time to head out to the Washington, DC area for Capability Counts for indepth learning about using the CMMI to improve organizational performance! But before we go, I have one final thought to help you make the best use of your time at Capability Counts 2017.

Today our countdown of the Top 5 Reasons to Attend has worked all the way down to #1. 


Drum roll, please! The #1 Reason to Attend Capability Counts 2017 this year is …

To build stronger relationships with CMMI Institute leaders.

Whether you’re new to the CMMI Conference, or are a regular attendee of our industry’s premier event on process improvement and the CMMI, introducing yourself to your hosts is not only the polite thing to do, it is one of the best reasons for going to the Capability Counts. Especially this year, when key CMMI Institute leaders will be in attendance.

Space on this blog is limited, so I’d like to call attention to five of the many important and influential people that you’ll want to be sure to meet at the Conference. They are:

1. Kirk Botula, CEO of CMMI Institute. Kirk is a team-builder, visionary and just an all-around terrific guy. Meeting with Kirk will give you peace of mind that the CMMI is alive and well and has a strong future. You’ll get insight into his vision for how the CMMI will grow, evolve, sustain and be successful over time.

2. Dan Torens, COO. Dan’s in charge of managing product releases and executing strategy, and can help end-users get a feel for how the CMMI Institute operates, how its future products will be released and what some of the major internal projects might be.

3. Rawdon (“Rusty”) Young. Rusty is a key player and an invaluable resource. He is involved in the hands-on creation of new products and next-generation releases of the CMMI. Talk to Rusty about your questions on CMMI, DMM, and SCAMPI.

4. Katie Tarara, Manager of Partner and Client Services. As every CMMI Partner learns, there is no better person to connect with at the CMMI Institute than Katie. Katie is all about listening. She loves to reach out to Partners and end-users for their suggestions and ideas on making the CMMI Institute even better.

5. Chavonne Hoyle, Director of Marketing. Chavonne is the Institute’s chief buzz-builder and also has responsibility for the conference. You’ll find Chavonne a joy to know!

As key representatives of the CMMI Institute at Capability Counts, Kirk, Dan, Rusty, Katie and Chavonne are a big part of the face of a product lines that we use every day. If you are a CMMI user – or are considering adopting the Model – you’ll want to get to know them and tap into their vast expertise. If you are a CMMI Institute Partner, it’s important to meet with these leaders, so you can join us in working more closely with them on reinforcing the brand. Capability Counts is the perfect place to do that.

While I don’t have space to write about ALL of the great people at the CMMI Institute, I’d also encourage you to connect with everyone on the CMMI Institute team.

Other great folks you don’t want to miss at Capability Counts this year are the leaders of the many general sessions and workshops of the Conference. These CMMI users are on the front lines of process improvement and performance acceleration, so you get practical, relevant and valuable learning experiences straight from the ones who know!

From Broadsword, you’ll have an opportunity to meet our speakers:

Jeff Dalton: Featured Presentation – Stability, Agility, and The Capable Organization; AND Holacracy – Abolish Hierarchy while Leveraging CMMI to Radically Change Your Organization

Ross Timmerman: Gamers’ Alley

Julie Calfin: The Great Service Multiplier - How Our Consulting Firm Doubled Revenues and Reduced Costs by Implementing CMMI-SVC

Laura Adkins: The Buy-In Effect – How Getting Alignment Can Get Your CMMI Adoption UnStuck

Tim Zeller: Agile Performance Management

Cathy Henderson: 20 Days to SCAMPI A – How to get to the Finish Line and Keep Your Sanity

And that’s it, my friends! Those are my Top 5 Reasons to Attend Capability Counts – and there are many more reasons that you are sure to discover on your own. I’m looking forward to hearing about YOUR experience.

Register here.

See you in our nation’s capital!

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

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI nstructor, 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 trainings 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.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The #2 Reason to Attend Capability Counts 2017: To Improve Organizational Performance

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, what can I tell my boss about why she should send us to Capability Counts this year? ~ CMMI sponsor in Florida

Dear Readers,

Time flies, and if you don't convince your boss soon about why she should send your team to Capability Counts this year, the opportunity may soar away without you! Capability Counts 2017 (a/k/a SEPGNA, a/k/a The CMMI Conference) is coming up fast, on May 16-17, 2017.

If your boss has expressed concern that it might not be worth your while to attend, that's actually a good sign. She just needs a better understanding of the value, which is not unusual, I've found. Whether you are just starting to consider adopting the CMMI for your organization, or already have extensive experience with the Model – you want to know whether this year’s CMMI experience is right for you.

Tell your boss to be concerned no more! As a veteran attendee, regular speaker at Capability Counts and other industry conferences, and longtime practitioner of the CMMI, I feel so strongly about the value of the Conference that I’ve developed a list of Top 5 Reasons to attend Capability Counts 2017, and we’ve been counting them down.  Today we're down to the penultimate reason!


Drum roll, please! Reason #2 is …

To improve organizational performance.

As you know if you’ve attended the Conference in the past, Capability Counts is the premier organizational performance improvement conference. Hundreds of professionals come from around the world come to learn, network and explore solutions to their performance challenges. It’s such an amazing event that I like to call it “the greatest show on earth!”

This year, the show will be even better! Our host, the CMMI Institute, has been working hard to make sure this year’s Conference has something for everyone who attends, wherever you are in your professional journey. The Program Committee has created three days (including the PreConference sessions on Monday, May 15th) of content focused on positively impacting the way you do your work.

The format is designed to help you explore using the CMMI to improve performance through first-person case studies, interactive workshops, and powerful presentations that can help you to get started with CMMI or take your organization to new levels of success.

Whether your interest is multi-model, practical process improvement, high maturity, agile, DevOps, Services, Acquisition, or any other discipline, you will find ample opportunities to dive into the principles and practices that can help your organization better harness the power of performance improvement with the CMMI. Check out the Capability Counts schedule.

The variety of learning opportunities alone is incredible. You can expect to come away with real life, practical and implementable ideas. For full details about the Conference logistics and to register, navigate around the Capability Counts site.

The Capability Counts is a terrific opportunity to spend two days focusing on how you can  get better at what you do. For some, this will be reason enough to attend this year’s conference. Others may be preparing for their SCAMPI Appraisals, want to learn how to scale Agile, or just want to learn more about CMMI.  Why will YOU go?

The countdown continues!  Be sure to check back soon for Reason #1.

Register here:

We hope to see you at Capability Counts 2017!

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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The #3 Reason to Attend Capability Counts 2017: To Be an Agile Gamer!

Hey, CMMI Appraiser – What does Capability Counts 2017 offer Agile teams?
~ Agile Scrum Training teammate, State IT organization

Hello, my friends!

In my stops in software and engineering organizations all around the country (and planet), I’ve been talking a lot about Capability Counts 2017, which is being held near Washington, DC this year. So, in honor of the historic cadence of nation’s most sacred document … allow me to borrow a phrase from Thomas Jefferson.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

  • Capability Counts 2017 was formerly known as SEPG NA, The CMMI Conference and (by this CMMI Appraiser, anyway) “The Greatest Show on Earth!”
  • The industry's premier event for Organizational Performance Improvement will be held in Alexandria, VA on May 6-8, 2017
  • We would love to see you there!

And now, on with the countdown. As we do every year here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser, we’re listing the Top 5 Reasons to Attend Capability Counts 2017. If you missed it, reason #5 was “To Build Capability!

Reason #4 was “To Take Advantage of All Our Nation’s Capital Has to Offer.”

Drum roll please!

The #3 Reason to Attend Capability Counts 2017 is …


To Be an Agile Gamer!

Yes, back by popular demand, “Gamer’s Alley” promises to be a highlight of the conference once again this year. If you’ve never heard of Gamer’s Alley, it’s a great way for anyone interested in Agile methods to acquire and develop skills while playing agile games.

How does Gamer’s Alley work?

Gamer’s Alley works by offering a fun, competitive environment, where engineering executives and professionals can learn new agile skills in the ultimate learning experience.

Do you love a test of wits? Do you get fired up over the idea of having a coach helping you win? My friend, this is the session for you. You’ll learn more about collaboration, iterative delivery, and continuous improvement in a hands-on environment that leverages CMMI and Agile methods. Your coaches and facilitators are experienced Game Masters who are also CMMI and Agile coaches and instructors. Make sure you stop by and check out concurrent events including the XP Game, the Collaboration Game, and more! There will be prizes and plenty of fun.

Do you have to know what Agile is to participate in Gamer’s Alley?

There are experience restrictions at Gamer’s Alley! This is where you get experience, in a safe, controlled atmosphere. Whether you’re just starting your capability journey, learning how to use CMMI in an Agile environment, or a seasoned veteran, you’ll take away valuable lessons that you can use right away.

Register here for Capability Counts 2017.

Need more reasons to go? Stay tuned for Reason #2!

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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The #4 Reason to Attend Capability Counts 2017: To Take Advantage of All Our Nation’s Capital Has to Offer

Hey, CMMI Appraiser - Should we send our team to Capability Counts 2017 this year? 
~ a small business client that provides IT Services to the Federal Government

Hello, my friends!

Absolutely you should send your team to the big annual industry event I like to call "The Greatest Show on Earth"! We'll be there, celebrating our umpteenth (yes, that's an official statistic) time that we'll be presenting our strategies, techniques, tips and tactics about organizational performance innovation, Agile and CMMI to the most passionate group of engineering and software executives and professionals on the planet, and we'd love to have you join us. To help you decide, we're counting down the Top 5 Reasons to Attend Capability Counts 2017, and today we’re down to Reason #4.

If you are just joining us for the countdown, here’s what you missed:


And now, we're on to Reason #4. Drum roll please!



The #4 Reason to Attend Capability Counts 2017 is …

To Take Advantage of All Our Nation’s Capital Has to Offer

As you may know, each year a different, unique American city plays host to the annual Capability Counts conference. This year’s picturesque setting is Alexandria, VA, located just across the Potomac from our nation’s capital and a stunning destination in its own right. Rich in history and bustling with energy, this northern Virginia hotspot has something for everyone:

  • Before the White House, there was Mount Vernon. Less than ten miles from Alexandria, visit the home of our nation’s first president.
  • An incredible selection of restaurants, many featuring outdoor dining
  • Hop onto the Metro and make your way into D.C. to visit some of the new monuments that may have opened since your last visit, like the MLK Jr Memorial and the National WWII Memorial
  • Gorgeous public gardens
  • Abundant historical military sites, including Fort Stevens, the Lee Mansion, and the Lincoln Cottage
  • Take a spring evening stroll along the Potomac, and stop for a cocktail or dessert at a riverfront bistro
  • Tour the Newseum in nearby D.C. to learn about the history of our nation’s press
  • Take part in one of Alexandria’s many walking tours, featuring costumed guides and local experts
  • Visit King Street, Alexandria’s charming shopping destination

…and much more. There are many compelling amazing reasons to attend this year’s conference; between the excellent technical learning, influential networking opportunities, and historic location, you’ll find yourself immersed in knowledge and opportunity.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Register today

Still undecided? Stay tuned for Reason #3!

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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit https::/broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Countdown to Capability Returns! Top 5 Reasons to Attend Capability Counts 2017. Reason #5: To Build Capability

Hello again, my friends!  Are you ready for our industry’s premier event? Yes, it’s almost time for Capability Counts 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 16-17 – and I for one can’t wait!

To help the time go by faster, as I do every year, I’ll be counting down the Top 5 Reasons to attend. So let’s get started with Reason #5.


Reason #5: Acquire valuable information about building capability

There’s a very good reason I call this event, “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Formerly known as SEPG conference, and f/k/a CMMI Congress, Capability Counts 2017 offers attendees a banquet of information about building capability:


  • Opening Keynote presentation from Greg Williams, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA
  • 80+ speakers will share their knowledge of CMMI adoption and capability improvement experience
  • 7 Tracks with captivating sessions - customize your schedule to fit your business needs

There’s a lot here for you. Learning experiences range from formal presentations to tutorials to workshops to informal conversations and social interactions. We’ll share strategies and tactics, tips and techniques, best practices to adopt, and pitfalls to avoid.  Also we will be reprising the popular "Gamers' Alley" track.  And we’ll have the truly unforgettable experience of building our capability, together.

Yes, Capability Counts 2017 offers the best of the best in performance improvement and building capability. But what did you expect?  When so many great people get together around their shared passion for process improvement, performance innovation and CMMI, cool things happen.

Will you join us?

Register for Capability Counts

Need more reasons to go? Stay tuned for Reason #4!

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 trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit https::/broadswordsolutions.com for more information.