Thursday, August 27, 2015

Where can I get CMMI training in Michigan at a discount?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser,

We're a supplier to the automotive industry that is adopting CMMI in Michigan, and my boss wants everyone on the Lead Appraisal Team to find a CMMI Training class that goes easy on the budget.  Where can I get a good class for a good price? ~ Al B.

Hey Al,

You've come to the right place!  We still have a few seats left for "Introduction to CMMI" in Southeast Michigan on September 15th -18th.  It's a top-notch learning experience, and your boss is going to love the price!

Register for "Introduction to CMMI" now and save 30%!

"The Introduction to CMMI" training class, which includes an optional 1-day CMMI-SVC supplement, is designed for software and engineering professionals who are interested learning about CMMI, process models, and how to use them to be a great company.

The cool thing about this CMMI Training, versus the other guy’s, is that we help you learn to use the CMMI to learn about yourself, so you can get on the path to greatness. With learning as your goal, achieving a Maturity Level of the CMMI will be just one byproduct of your journey.

In addition, professionals can earn 21 PDUs towards your PMP Certification (or 2.5 CEUs) while learning to improve software and engineering performance with the CMMI.

What is this CMMI Training all about?

Helping you learn about the way you work, so that you can get better -- that's what the CMMI is all about.  By participating in "Introduction to CMMI" will help you understand how to set the right goals and objectives, and keep asking the right question, such as:
  • How do you know you are good at what you do?
  • How do you know if you are improving?
  • How do you know if the process you use is working well?
  • How do you know if your requirements change process is useful?
  • How do you know if your products are as good as they can be?
So sign up for "Introduction to CMMI", and tell a friend. Our CMMI training class is hands-on, interactive, practical, and a lot of fun.

Hope to 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 and performance improvement program.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

CMMI-TV: Can we really run the whole company using Scrum?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, can we really run the whole company using Scrum? Not just software projects? ~ NY-SPIN Attendee

Dear Readers,

I had an opportunity at a recent NY-SPIN event to present on “Agile Resiliency,” our strategy for making agile strong enough to survive, thrive and even scale. Today’s episode of CMMI-TV was filmed ON LOCATION in New York City, where I was asked if it were really possible to run the whole company, not just software projects, using Scrum. Below is a video clip of my answer, followed by a synopsis of my response. Enjoy!


OVERVIEW

If companies are going to decide to adopt agile principles, they can choose not to stop with software engineering. An agile company can be agile in every way.

OTHER AREAS OF THE COMPANY WHERE AGILITY IS REQUIRED

Agile companies can be agile in the way they run other departments, not just software engineering, including:
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Sales
  • Accounting
  • Operations
  • Human resources 
… everything!

AGILE VALUES

The secret to having a successful company is understanding that it is not about the methods you use -- Scrum or XP, etc -- it’s about the values you embrace. When you run your company with agile values, you are constantly asking, ‘Are we operating a collaborative, iterative, transparent and high trust environment?’ Focus on values, and the techniques trickle down.

If you’d like to know more about embracing agile values in your organization, and running your entire company with Scrum, you are invited to participate in one of the most popular webinars in our “Everything You NEED to Know” series: “Agile Resiliency!”

Sign up for “Agile Resiliency” on August 25th at noon EST

It's free, it's useful, and it's a whole lot of fun.  Join us, won't you?

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 and performance improvement program.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

CMMI-TV: Be Agile by Tuesday? Huh?!?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, my manager is frustrated that we aren’t already agile. How do we deal with expectations that are out of alignment with agile values? ~ NY-SPIN Attendee

Dear Readers,

At an NY-SPIN event in New York City, where today’s episode of CMMI-TV was filmed, I presented on “Agile Resiliency.” A participant asked what it means when managers set unrealistic expectations around how long it takes to “go agile.” Below is a video clip with my answer, followed by a synopsis of my response. Enjoy!


OVERVIEW

In every industry, agile teams are facing the serious challenge of misaligned values within the organization. Management doesn’t seem to understand what agile is all about, and Scrum teams don’t seem to know how to communicate what they are doing. As a result, unreasonable demands are made on Scrum teams, demands that end up taking the agile out of agile, and driving the wrong behaviors.

EXAMPLE DEMANDS

“Let’s be more agile, but let’s have a weekly standup, not a daily standup.”
“Let’s transition all of our projects over to agile by November.”
“Let’s be agile by Tuesday.”
“Sure, go ahead and be agile; just don’t bother the customer.”
“Let’s start doing agile.”

HOW BAD IS THE PROBLEM?

These misinformed statements come from senior management – the people controlling our budgets. And there’s the rub. All over North America, lack of understanding from upper management limits organizations' ability to embrace and scale agile methods.

WHERE DO AGILE VALUES FIT IN?

Choosing to be agile means embracing agile values, such as having an environment that is high trust, transparent, flexible, iterative and collaborative. Managers need to understand that Scrum teams operate very differently from the rest of the company. This is not a transition that can be successful without having everyone on the same page.

So how does the company go agile without destroying the value of the approach, and without disrupting the business?

SOLUTIONS IN TWO WEBINARS

To learn how to transform your company to agile, and strengthen agile within your company, we invite you to sign up for our two upcoming webinars:

Sign up for “Everything You Need to Know: Agile Transformation” on August 18th at noon EST.

Sign up for “Everything You Need to Know: Agile Resiliency” on August 25th at noon EST.

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 and performance improvement program.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What’s wrong with a little CMMI training?

[Dear Readers, for the past several months, our good friend Pat O’Toole, CMMI expert and seasoned consultant, has been collaborating with us on a monthly series of CMMI-related posts, "Just the FAQs." Our goal with these posts is to provide answers to the most frequently asked questions about the CMMI, SCAMPI, engineering strategy and software process improvement. This month, Jeff reveals why it is critical to develop an infrastructure for CMMI training. Take it away, Jeff! ~ the CMMI Appraiser]

Hey, Jeff, what does the CMMI mean by “Training Capability?” We did a PowerPoint lunch session and we think that’s good enough to be Level Three.

JEFF: Good enough? While I often say that you should have “just enough, not too much” process, this seems more like “not enough, way too little” to me. The Organizational Training practice you're asking about (SP1.4) packs a lot more punch than its diminutive size might indicate.


Let me give you an example. When I conduct a CMMI or Agile gap analysis, I like to schedule it so I can see the organization in action. Artifacts and affirmations are useful indicators for determining whether a behavior may have occurred, but nothing informs us more than seeing it for ourselves. I always try to attend standups, sprint demos, and sprint planning sessions. I like to tour team rooms to see the information radiators. And I like to attend any training sessions that are scheduled.

Last month I attended such a session, and left with the impression that they didn’t quite get the Organizational Training practice “SP1.4 Establish a Training Capability.”

The group of eager students filed in and took their seats at an oval conference room table, most toting some kind of brown-bag lunch. While we waited in uncomfortable silence, I scanned the room for indicators of a training infrastructure.

After a few more minutes, just short of the ten-minute rule we invented in college, the company’s top engineer, a kindly bearded fellow who had been with the team for many years, took his place at the front of the room. In his right hand was a Scrum reference book and in the other a folder of process documents. He gazed across the gaggle of students and said, “So, I’m here…I guess. What do you want to know?” The “training” went downhill from there, and devolved into a spirited debate between agile puristas and pragmatists about whether they were practicing Scrum or Scrum-but. (“We’re using Scrum, but …”) There was no agenda, no learning objectives, and no learning outcomes – in fact, no learning at all!

At the end of “class” I asked the instructor about it. He turned OT SP1.4 back at me by saying “SP1.4 says our training capability only needs to address organizational training needs. And this class meets our needs, so we’re good.”

Hmmmm. I understand it a little differently.

When I think of OT SP1.4, I envision a “training infrastructure” that includes:

- Facilities
- Materials
- Systems
- Qualified instructors, if the class is instructor led.

So, what does it take to create a training capability?

Facilities

The right facility can make or break a training class. Planning and clear requirements will help make the training successful and enjoyable. As part of our class kit we supply a checklist and seating chart that describes the physical requirements for putting on a successful class. These include:

- Tables of four set up in pods with comfortable chairs
- At least four flip charts or some large white boards with dry-erase pens and erasers
- 20 x 20 space behind the tables for hands-on exercises
- Walls suitable for sticky notes and blue tape
- High quality projector with HDMI or VGA interface that is compatible with our laptops
- Projector mounted on the ceiling or an AV cart
- Screen or large white wall suitable for projection

I‘ve improved my checklist over the years as I teach more classes and encounter new road-blocks. For instance, last month I was greeted with a projector that would ONLY work with a Windows computer, and not with my Macbook. This was due to the network interface they used to attach wirelessly to the projector. Since my host may not have even known about this, I now include contact with the IT support team in my class preparation.

When I arrive onsite to teach each class I use the same checklist to QA the facility as soon as I arrive. Just like any other process or tool, using the checklist doesn’t mean the room is always appointed as I expect (no, the CMMI doesn’t make your customers do what you want), but it works more often than not. At the very least it triggers someone to let us know in advance if they’re NOT going to be able to meet the requirements. Once we have the facility covered, we’re ready to produce materials….

Materials

Well designed and professionally produced training materials will enhance learning and ground the class in a comfortable framework that allows both instructor and attendee to focus on the learning objectives and desired outcomes. Materials should mirror both, and need to be carefully thought out to ensure attendees depart with the necessary knowledge to be effective in their roles. A thoughtful combination of “follow-along,” hands-on, job-aids, and reference materials will help ensure that attendees who have different learning styles will complete the class with the information they need to be successful in their role.

Our “Introduction to CMMI” checklist includes the production of these four types of materials, some of which are given to each attendee, and others shared by the class as a whole. They include:

- Follow-along: bound PowerPoint slides and exercise book
- Job aids: agile guideline handouts, checklists, quick reference materials, practice exams
- Hands on: game sheets, planning poker decks, sticky notes, Legos, tennis balls, balloons, and dice
- Reference: CMMI-DEV text book, Scrum textbook

Since I often travel to teach each class, textbooks are drop-shipped to the facility, and everything else is produced at the local Fedex Office for delivery. So that leads us to Systems…

Systems

A training capability also includes the use of systems to describe the course, house the materials, facilitate production, register attendees, track completion, and gather feedback. This system could include the use of technology, but could also be manual depending on size and complexity.

For our CMMI and Scrum classes we leverage the following systems:

- A WIKI catalogue to house the master descriptions of all of our courses
- Eventbrite for each course description, registration and payment
- Fedex Office cloud to house all materials and facilitate production
- Amazon Prime for ordering, purchasing, and shipping textbooks
- Excel template (CMMI classes), corporate portal database (all classes) tracking completion
- Paper surveys, and Survey Monkey (all classes) for capturing and analyzing feedback

We have most of it in place now, so if we just had some instructors….

Qualified Instructors

Now, let’s get back to our bearded friend. He was a nice enough fellow, and he certainly had the technical knowledge to understand the material, but a teacher? Not so much.

Organizations I work with sometimes want to put their best engineers or project managers in the instructor’s chair, but that is often not the best choice. Having the prerequisite knowledge and certifications, if required, is only the first gate for instructor selection. A qualified instructor should also be able to:

- successfully convey information from multiple perspectives
- guide a class towards completing the learning objectives and desired outcomes
- deal with disruptions professionally and effectively
- provide relevant context, stories, and examples
- think quickly and improvise as needed
- use humor to make relevant points (and counter hecklers!)
- be an entertaining, interesting, and credible presenter

Being a great instructor is challenging work, and it’s not for everybody. Instructors need to know more about the subject than anyone else in the room, be prepared for any question, no matter how nuanced, as well as possess the aforementioned personal characteristics. Some of this can be taught, but many of the best teachers naturally possess these skills.

So, looking back at my gap analysis, our friends in the brown-bag lunch session weren’t getting what they deserved, but they were getting what the company paid and prepared for. Smart organizations develop a training infrastructure to help ensure that their team members know what behaviors are expected, and commit to training as if they are developing a valuable corporate asset.

Just like anything else with the CMMI, it’s easier to do all of this if you focus on improving performance, rather than achieving a CMMI rating. The extra-special double bonus for your effort is increased performance without working harder.

Our bearded instructor was asking the right question when he asked, “what do you want to know?” He was just asking it a few months too late.

For those who are interested in a different kind of CMMI training, you are invited to register for one of my upcoming CMMI training courses:

“Introduction to CMMI-DEV” Training – Southeast Michigan – September 15th - 17th/18th, 2015

“Introduction to CMMI-DEV” Training – Fairfax, Virginia – September 29th - October 1st /2nd, 2015

Note: both courses include a 1-day supplemental CMMI-SVC class (optional).

© Copyright 2015: Process Assessment, Consulting & Training and Broadsword Solutions

“Just the FAQs” is written/edited by Jeff Dalton and Pat O’Toole. Please contact the authors at jeff@broadswordsolutions.com and pact.otoole@att.net to suggest enhancements to their answers, or to provide an alternative response to the question posed. Your questions are always welcomed!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Is CMMI Training like auditor training?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, the Lead Appraiser that the company hired has informed me that I will be monitored for producing work product evidence for all of the sub-practices in CMMI. He said I need CMMI training, but I’m scared. Is CMMI training like auditor training? ~ Bali

Hey, Bali,

No need to fear. CMMI training is NOTHING LIKE auditor training, because a SCAMPI appraisal is NOTHING LIKE an audit! If your Lead Appraiser is treating the SCAMPI appraisal like an audit, he is driving all the wrong behaviors. I can’t image a more insidious waste of time and money – not to mention the drain on emotional capital. He is making you (and others in your company, most likely) fear the CMMI for no good reason.

Did he really say he’ll be monitoring you? Um, like this?



No wonder you're scared!  But it doesn't have to be this way.

What your Lead Appraiser needs to understand is that CMMI is just not an audit. Nothing about the CMMI is like an audit; CMMI is a model for continuous improvement. As Lead Appraiser, your consultant is tasked with not only ensuring that you’re using the model properly, but that you are getting value out of it, and that your company is using it to become a great company. That’s the bottom line of CMMI. 

If your Lead Appraiser is insisting on seeing “work product evidence,” or what are now called “artifacts” for every single sub-practice in the model, he’s acting like an auditor. The CMMI does NOT call for an audit of sub-practices! Sub-practices simply give us a glimpse into the mind of the authors to help us understand what they were thinking.

The practices in the CMMI are meant to provide valuable guidance for you. They are not things to comply with, as written. They are not hoops to jump through or penalties to be incurred if you miss a step. They are suggestions of what to do to make your company incrementally and iteratively better. 

There are few quick-fixes in the CMMI. I do have one suggestion, though. You can make your company instantly better by getting rid of that Lead Appraiser and replacing him with a good Lead Appraiser.

A good Lead Appraiser wants to know how he can help you get better. He doesn’t want to see you saddled you with “process debt,” busy-work and taxes. Rather, a good Lead Appraiser wants you to understand that CMMI is not scary when you learn to use the Model to set the right goals and objectives, and keep asking the right questions. For example:
  • How do you know you are good at what you do?
  • How do you know if you are improving?
  • How do you know if the process you use is working well?
  • How do you know if your requirements change process is useful?
  • How do you know if your products are as good as they can be?

Helping you learn about the way you work, so that you can get better, is what the CMMI is all about. With learning as your goal, you’ll stay on the path to greatness, and achieving a Maturity Level of the CMMI will be just one byproduct of your journey.

There are many CMMI training courses available in the marketplace. Look for a class that offers real life examples, lessons and proven techniques, so that your team can take away – and retain – valuable information to be used on the job, immediately. 

If you are interested in learning about registering for one of our upcoming CMMI training courses, click the links below:



Note: both courses include a 1-day supplemental CMMI-SVC class (optional).

Hope to 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.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Why is agile in danger?


Why do you say agile is in danger? I saw your Tweet ~ @Cecil66


Hey, @Cecil66,

What I mean is that the market for agile services is changing. No longer will we be able to focus on small projects. All of a sudden these HUGE organizations with thousands and thousands of IT professionals are going to be attempting to transition over to agile methods very quickly. And some of these organizations, like General Motors, have declared that they’re going to do this almost instantaneously. You’re darn right agile is in danger!


Those of you who are at least my age remember the old TV series, “Lost in Space,” with the robot that walked around yelling, “Danger, danger, danger, Will Robinson.”

We have the same need to raise the alarm today. Agile is going to change. As a matter of fact, in Detroit where I live, I do a great deal of work with the Big 3 auto suppliers. We have an expression that suppliers don’t change GM, GM changes suppliers. You can be guaranteed that when these big players start to get into the market, they’re going to start trade groups that are going to populate boards and academia and they’re going to start coming out with all kinds of definition around what agile should be and how you should do it.

Think about what this means for the industry. Large scale adopters like General Motors, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have historically have drawn the standard. In other words, where most of the money comes from – that’s who gets to control the standard. And agile, being an organically grown, small-team focused, collaborative software development set of methods, is now going to be completely dominated by these really large organizations.

What can we do to stop the threat?  The answer is simple -- but not easy.  Build a resilient model that will withstand influence and keep agile the way it is today.

CMMI is a great tool for that. When adopted properly, CMMI is the perfect tool for making agile scale across the enterprise. CMMI gives you the ability to make immediate improvements that strengthen agile in your company, which shores it up for wider adoption. We call this "Agile Resiliency," a proven strategy for scaling agile by strengthening and reinforcing agile values, methods, and techniques.

Learn more by registering for one of our FREE webinar presentations of "Everything You Need to Know: Agile Resiliency!"

Whichever presentation date you choose, you’ll come away from the Webinar with actionable tips for using the “Agile Resilience Architecture" to help drive quality and performance improvement across the board, including how to bring greater clarity and strength to Scrum ceremonies, and how to strengthen the understanding, adoption, and continuous improvement of the agile values and behaviors in your organization.  We’ll show you how integrating the architectural strengths of the CMMI with your agile approach can help you make agile resilient enough to scale and thrive.

Hope to see you on an "Agile Resiliency" webinar!

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

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He 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.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Can we get a CMMI tune-up in time for SPARC?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, we need to schedule our CMMI appraisal so we can achieve a Maturity Level 3 in time to bid on the SPARC RFP. But I’m concerned about the repercussions if we are unprepared for the adventure and fail the SCAMPI A. Do we have time to get a tune-up, so we can pass the appraisal and win that bid? ~ Bradley S.

Hey, Bradley,

Whoa! Hold up a second … pass the appraisal? Win the bid? I know you are eager to take advantage of this opportunity to work with a big client like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but you are getting a little ahead of yourself. First you need to discover the value of the CMMI. Otherwise you won’t behave any differently today than you did yesterday. You’ll just go storming after the next goal and the next goal, without any thought to what this adventure is REALLY about, and why you’re undertaking it.  And believe me, if you take a minute to read this, your goal will be easier to achieve!



Let me point you in the right direction.

You are correct about the SPARC RFP. It states that “contractors who do not possess independently prepared SCAMPI appraisal results assessed at the appropriate CMMI level for a given task will be restricted from performing the work.” As a result, a lot of companies are looking for information on SCAMPI appraisals.

There are three types of CMMI appraisals, but whether you choose a SCAMPI A, B or C, it’s essential to understand that an Appraisal is not about passing or failing. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about learning about your company.

You also need to know that, while SCAMPI A is the only appraisal that results in a "rating," it is not a "tune-up." Tuning up your existing processes is something you do continuously before and after you go through the SCAMPI B or SCAMPI A process. Like giving your car a tune-up at the 3,000 mile mark, tuning up your processes prepares your company to keep its quality and performance improvements rolling in the right direction. But on its own it doesn’t assure that your journey will be successful.

So, before you even get started, there are some key questions to ask yourself:

1. What could we learn about ourselves from a SCAMPI C (Gap Analysis)?

The SCAMPI C is one way to find out how well your company learns about itself. How aligned (or misaligned) are behaviors with the CMMI framework? It may be a long road ahead, but it's well worth the journey - and you want to understand the baseline before you start.

2. How could we benefit from training?

Multiple training courses are available to assist you in your journey to becoming a great company. Since this is apparently your first experience with the CMMI, start with the introduction to CMMI training course, followed by training on how to become expert process engineers. Broadsword offers courses and workshops that teach you how to execute our AgileCMMI methodology, and how to design and develop the processes you will need to become a great company. While you're at it, consider some methodology training like Scrum, Measurement, and Process Quality.

3. What is really involved in the "tune-up?"

After the SCAMPI C, and often concurrently with the training, you'll need to develop a plan that identifies all the opportunities to improve that you will need to execute with company. This plan could be months, or even years, in duration and includes everything you need to do in the context of the methods and working teams you will be using, as well as all of the releases and iterations that must take place between now and when you reach your desired state - perhaps as tested by your SCAMPI B Appraisal.

The SCAMPI B is a semi-formal appraisal that serves as a tool to give you the information you need to completely understand your current state in relation to the CMMI. It gives you the information you need to help you determine whether you should move forward with a formal SCAMPI A.

Some companies consider skipping the SCAMPI B in order to save money or, in your case, time. This may seem prudent, given that it is not specifically required, but keep in mind that this discussion is not about time and money, but about Risk Management. You are right to be concerned about the repercussions if you fail to manage this risk. It would be expensive and demoralizing for your team to have an unsuccessful SCAMPI A.

As far as doing this “in time” to bid on SPARC, it depends. My personal rule-of-thumb is, if the SCAMPI B is better than 75% "in the green," that's a pretty good indicator to start thinking about when you want to conduct your SCAMPI A appraisal. How quickly you get there depends upon how far away you are today.

And if you are successful with your SCAMPI A … WOO-HOO! You’re golden, right?

Wellllll … not so fast. Achieving a CMMI Rating gives you an awesome start! It doesn’t make you a great company. It just means you are sufficiently equipped with the infrastructure and tools you need to become a great company.

As a builder of experimental aircraft and a licensed pilot, I am fond of a saying that we have in the aviation world . . . you'll have a "license to learn." This ain’t no paper chase. It ain’t no gold rush either. Making structural changes in your company – and making the commitment to long-term improvement as an organization – that’s your real adventure.

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

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He 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.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Does the CMMI Appraiser Make CMMI Training Fun?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser – We are big believers that training our people doesn’t have to be drudgery.  I heard from some colleagues that your presentation at CMMI Global Congress 2015 was both educational and entertaining.  When is your next CMMI training in Virginia, and can we all attend? ~ Lina R.

Hey, Lina – I’m glad to hear that my keynote presentation “12 Questions Wildly Successful Companies Answer Every Day” left a favorable impression on your colleagues!  As to your questions ...
Yes, we try to make our Virginia CMMI training classes as interesting and entertaining as possible, and yes, everyone's invited!  Most people tell me afterward that they had a blast – but you can find out for yourself on September 23-25, 2015 in Fairfax, Virginia.

Register for INTRODUCTION TO CMMI TRAINING: Fairfax, Virginia -September 23-25, 2015.

I love that you plan to get others to sign up for CMMI training, Lina.  I’d encourage everyone in your company who touches the process to join us.  Also, if you hear one of the following comments, it's a sure sign that person needs CMMI training:

  • “We don’t have a consistent way to estimate a project’s effort and cost.”
  • “We are too busy to do retrospectives or to review lessons learned with the team.”
  • “No one here is responsible for capturing or reviewing metrics related to projects, technology and organizational performance.”
  • “We have repositories for process descriptions, templates, and tools, but no one uses them.”
  • “We have a process for building, installing and delivering our products, but it is not widely understood.”

These are just a few of the complaints made by folks who end up getting the most out of CMMI training.  “Introduction to CMMI-DEV v1.3” is designed to help people at CMMI-focused companies that are looking for guidance on being lighter and more flexible, as well as agile teams that are still seeking the kind of results they’ve been hoping for.

That's the big difference between this Lead Appraiser's approach to the CMMI, and the other guy's. Our focus is on using our agileCMMI methodology to help you learn that the CMMI is about the transformation of the culture of your company.  You’ll see the CMMI as a tool for improving and changing the way your company behaves, so that you can get better at what you are ALREADY doing.  And you’ll take away valuable skills to use immediately, including how to play Planning Poker, do agile program planning and perform retrospectives.

So sign up, and get your company signed up for a 3-day CMMI training class that’s hands-on, interactive, agile, practical, and – yes, yes! -- a whole lot of fun.

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, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He 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.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We need CMMI for SPARC, but will our Scrum teams have to follow one standard process?

Dear CMMI Appraiser, we’re an agile shop, delivering enterprise information technology solutions to the federal government. We just found out from a CMMI consultant about the requirement in SPARC for a CMMI SCAMPI appraisal. If we get a CMMI level for SPARC, does that mean our Scrum teams will have to follow one standard process? ~ Ray F.

Dear Ray,

A lot of companies are asking questions about the CMMI and the SCAMPI-A appraisal since SPARC came out. The SPARC RFP simply states that “contractors who do not possess independently prepared SCAMPI appraisal results assessed at the appropriate CMMI level for a given task will be restricted from performing the work.” It doesn’t say why that helps you. Understandably, people get confused when self-proclaimed CMMI-experts talk about the CMMI as being all about everybody doing the same thing every time. According to them, the CMMI is repeatable and predictable, and that means that everybody has to have the same behavior.

It sounds right. But is it?


Unfortunately, the CMMI says nothing of the kind. What needs to be repeatable are the OUTCOMES. Many projects are unique and require their own "way of doing things" (otherwise known as the PROCESS) - even though they will have repeatable outcomes (high quality software, efficient production, happy customers).

This is not to downplay the CMMI’s ability to help you bring more discipline to your agile methods. It is a terrific tool for that purpose. As a matter of fact, it is THE TOOL for that. However, it does not say you need a single standard process. The CMMI says you should have a SET of standard processes from which each project can derive their unique process. A “set” means more than one. And “more than one” means you need some flexibility and agility to decide how you are going to do something.

So, to be successful in adopting the CMMI in your agile environment, you’ll need to understand what the CMMI says and doesn’t say. You also need to know that, in the CMMI, flexibility and agility outweigh rigid compliance. See my Agile Process Manifesto....

For example, let’s say your development team has a new project. Do they want to use Planning Poker to estimate? Do they want to use Wideband Delphi or Cocomo? Or do they want to use something else? The answer depends on what they are building and the constraints they are dealing with.

The ability to provide flexibility is the most important thing you can do when it comes to improvement and deploying process. Rigid compliance hurts you, it doesn’t help you.

The great thing about the CMMI is that it is extremely agile. It gives you the ability to have choices and agility. It's right in the book ("Integrated Project Management").

I’ll say it again. A set means more than one, and more than one means there is room for flexibility and agility.

Anyone can claim to be a CMMI consultant. But only a small amount of people in the world have the requisite skills, training, experience and certifications that qualify them for the task. And an even smaller group of them have a proven track record. Think about it - it's not just "CMMI." It's organizational change, communications, successfully giving (and getting) advice. It's complicated!

Good CMMI consultants have a deep holistic understanding of the entire model, how it works, and useful ideas on how to use it to improve your company. They will recommend an approach that bridges agility and discipline, in a manner that fits the way your organization is already doing things.

Watch out for CMMI consultants who talk about the SPARC RFP and tell you one size fits all. Next time, just say, "NO!"


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

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He 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.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What Can We Expect from CMMI Training?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser – a couple people from our Appraisal Team will need to register for CMMI training this fall.  What can we expect from your CMMI training class? ~ Harris S.

Hey, Harris – thanks for your interest in our CMMI training classes!  Our next two courses on Introduction to CMMI-DEV are being held in September, and I can't wait!  It’s another exciting opportunity for me to do what I love best – helping people get on the path to being a great company.

What defines greatness in a company?  We think greatness in an individual and in a company is the ability to transform from where you are now to where you want to be.  For software and engineering executives who dream of having all the benefits of being agile, combined with the resiliency and rigor of a scalable operational model, you need a path to get there.
It should be no surprise to hear that success doesn't just happen.  Being a great company takes training and preparation. It takes being tested with assessments on your readiness to adopt philosophy or methodology you are adopting. And it takes professional consulting to guide the agileCMMI adoption, or whatever performance improvement model you are pursuing.

The first step is CMMI-DEV training.

WHAT IS CMMI-DEV TRAINING?

The Introduction to CMMI for Development training course is a 3-day class that we teach in cities like San Diego, Chicago, Detroit, Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New York City. The class is recommended for software engineers, software developers, project managers, business analysts and line managers. It is an opportunity to learn how software process improvement works, and how to improve the performance of your software or engineering organization.

WHY ARE OUR CMMI TRAINING CLASSES DIFFERENT?

Our classes are quite a bit different from some of the other CMMI training classes, because we infuse agile concepts into our classes. For example, instead of some of the standard training exercises, we include:

  • How to play Planning Poker
  • How to use Fibonacci sequencing for your estimates
  • How to do agile program planning
  • How to perform retrospective

… And many other hands-on things that you’ll want to learn to participate in today’s programs using Scrum, Kanban or other methods.

WHERE TO TAKE A CLASS?

Our next two courses being presented on the following dates and locations:

Register for INTRODUCTION TO CMMI TRAINING: Southeastern, MI - September 9-11

Register for INTRODUCTION TO CMMI TRAINING: Fairfax, VA -September 23-25

We hope to 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, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He 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.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Is there still room to attend a CMMI webinar this month?

Hello, CMMI appraiser, We are interested in changing and improving performance, and our engineers would like to attend one of your CMMI webinars this month. Is there still room? Thanks ~ Kevin M.

Hello, Kevin,

There’s always room for people who are passionate about changing and improving the way they do their work!


After all, that’s what the CMMI is all about. The Model provides a framework for changing culture that can establish an environment for allowing you to operate like a great company – for the long term. And it does so by allowing you to focus on improving and changing the way your company behaves, so that you can improve performance, build stronger products and have happier customers.

But it’s not only about CMMI. More engineering and software professionals are learning to adopt and align several of today’s most popular frameworks and methodologies, including CMMI, A-SPICE, ISO and Scrum, and combining them for greater results. Helping you with this challenge is the reason behind our "Everything You Need to Know" webinar series.

So please tell your engineers to come on in! Check out the FREE webinars below and sign up for one (or four, or five) that best match your needs. Note that all presentations are at noon, Eastern Time.

June 16 – Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!

This webinar will provide systems engineers, software developers, project managers and process professionals with a basic understanding of how to use the CMMI, a model that is the defacto standard and leading framework for software process improvement. Sign up here.


June 18 – Everything You Need to Know: CMMI for Extra-Small Companies!

If you are an "extra-small" or emerging IT and engineering shop (under 25 people) that has been trying unsuccessfully to bid on government contracts that require or recommend a CMMI Rating, "Everything you NEED to know: CMMI for Extra-Small Companies!" helps you learn about a flexible and affordable solution. Sign up here.

June 23 –Everything You Need to Know: Agile Transformation!

The webinar helps you learn to become the company you want to be by transforming the values and behaviors in your organization to take advantage of Agile methods for a lighter, leaner approach to solving business problems incrementally and iteratively. Sign up here.

June 24 – "Everything You Need to Know: Agile Resiliency!

On this webinar, you will learn about applying the concept of “Agile Resiliency,” Broadsword’s proven strategy for scaling agile by strengthening and reinforcing agile values, methods and techniques. The Webinar shows you how integrating the architectural strengths of the CMMI with your agile approach can help you make agile resilient enough to resist the pressure to change – and even scale and thrive.  Sign up here.

June 25 –Everything You Need to Know: Multi-Model Improvement!

Designed specifically for organizations that have a CMMI Maturity Level 2 or Level 3 rating and want the benefits of aligning CMMI, ISO/TS and Auto SPICE, “Multi-Model Improvement” gives you everything you NEED to get started! Sign up here.

I hope you and your team will be able to join us, Kevin! Looking forward to seeing you on the webinar(s).

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!
Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He 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 26, 2015

How does CMMI help us improve product delivery?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, our top initiative is to improve product delivery. With all of its requirements for documentation, etc., etc., etc., how does CMMI help us get products out the door faster? ~ Frank L.

Hey, Frank – The CMMI is not about documents. The CMMI is about learning to be a great company, and KNOWING whether you are on the path to greatness. So the best way to approach the problem of “how do we improve product delivery” in the context of CMMI is not to say, “We need faster delivery,” but to ask, “How do we become a great company?” That’s what the CMMI is about. 

We are going into greater depth tomorrow on the webinar: “Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!” on May 27th at noon EDT / 9AM PDT.  I hope you'll join us!

On the webinar, you'll see why, in its essence, CMMI is nothing more than a model for "how work gets done" in the best way possible, in the way that makes the most sense for your organization. That’s right. The CMMI helps you do work with the frameworks and methodologies you are ALREADY using … only better.

Starting to see why this can make a big difference for you, Frank? The focus is on changing and improving behaviors so you can be the best company you can be. This makes the CMMI incredibly useful in solving all business problems. For example, in addition to improving product delivery, CMMI helps you address late projects, over-budget projects, unhappy customers, etc., etc., etc.

To learn more, join us on the webinar: “Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!

May 27th at noon EDT / 9AM PDT

http://bit.ly/CMMIsignup

See 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 about engineering strategy, performance innovation , software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Is your company going for greatness? Sign up for "Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!"

Dear Readers,

Have you been tasked with transforming your organization into a high-performing, lean and productive team? Are you interested in making your company as great as you know it can be? Wouldn’t you love to have a more collaborative work environment, better predictability and happier customers?

Check it out! This webinar is for you. Engineering and software professionals and executives who are passionate about engineering performance improvement are invited to sign up for “Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!” Registration is now open.

Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!
May 27, 2015 @ 12PM EDT / 9AM PDT

Making the decision to learn everything about CMMI is an excellent choice for anyone who needs to get a grasp on improving, changing and elevating performance. At the deepest level, the CMMI provides you with an understanding of the way your company behaves, so that you can build better products, win new business and retain the customers you have.

That’s the promise of CMMI. The Model is all about the transformation of the culture of your company. It’s about improving and changing the way your company behaves, so that you create an environment in which the organization can manage its uniqueness in a structured way

So, whether you have been told you need to get a so-called “CMMI Certification,” are interested in the benefits of achieving a CMMI Maturity Level 2 or Maturity Level 3, or have been working with CMMI for years, you’ll want to check out the webinar. You are sure to pick up some new ideas to help you get better at what you are ALREADY doing.

Sign up for “Everything You NEED to Know: 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 about engineering strategy,performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just starting out with CMMI and engineering performance Improvement?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, I have a new job with a large supplier to the automotive industry (hint, you’ve heard of us), and I'm just getting started with CMMI and engineering performance improvement. Can you share some good online resources for beginners? ~ Faye R.

Hey, Faye! Welcome to the rapidly expanding world of engineering performance improvement and the CMMI! It's always a pleasure to meet new professionals to our industry who are adopting CMMI, the industry's leading behavioral model for engineering performance improvement.

If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll find the CMMI to be highly engaging and rewarding, both personally and professionally. That’s why I spend so much time creating content – including books, articles, videos, keynote presentations, webinars, CMMI training courses and more.  My goal is to help new engineering and software professionals like you learn about using the CMMI as one of the tools that can help improve performance, and put you on the path to greatness.

Here are our 5 most popular online resources - so take your pick and get started today!

#1 CMMI Webinar Series – Need to know EVERYTHING about Agile, CMMI and engineering performance innovation?  Check out our “Everything You Need to Know” webinar series, starting with “CMMI!”  Register here.



#2 CMMI-TV – Looking for short, informative video clips about Agile, CMMI and performance innovation, we invite you to subscribe to our CMMI-TV channel.


#3 CMMI eBooks – Like to get your CMMI info on screen? Check out the highly useful and always entertaining eBooks we’ve written about CMMI.


#4 @CMMIAppraiser on Twitter – Could you use a daily tip on CMMI, engineering performance and software process improvement? Follow us on Twitter.


#5 Broadsword Client User Group on LinkedIn – Interested in joining a community of like-minded engineering and software professionals for discussion and CMMI info? Join our group on LinkedIn.

BONUS SITE: www.broadswordsolutions.com – For your all-around information source about CMMI, performance innovation and process improvement planning, join us on the Broadsword website.
You can find us elsewhere online (such as Facebook, Google-Plus and Tumblr), offline (such as in the Cutter IT Journal) and in person at seminars, conferences and CMMI Training classes all around the world – but this should give you a good start.
Enjoy!

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 engineering strategy,performance innovation , software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Announcing NEW Webinar: Multi-Model Improvement!

Dear Readers,

In the auto industry, a lot of friction exists between the “ISO/TS side of the business” (management) and the “CMMI and Auto SPICE side of the business” (engineering).  The good news is, it doesn't need to be that way.  For organizations that are CMMI Maturity Level 2 or Level 3, this conflicted environment is almost always the direct result of poor integration of CMMI, ISO/TS and Auto SPICE - something within your power to address.

It's time to do something about it.  Check out “Multi-Model Improvement!” the fourth webinar in our popular “Everything You Need to Know” series.



“Everything You Need to Know: Multi-Model Improvement!”
Tuesday, May 19 at noon EDT
Register here

“Multi-Model Improvement!” is hosted by Broadsword and delivered by Senior Consultant, Ross Timmerman.  Having spent two decades in the automotive industry as an electronics engineering design and management professional, Ross will help you learn new ways to do some very useful things with Multi-Model Improvement:
  • Streamline and Strengthen the Way You Do Business
  • Get Visibility into Every Aspect of the Business
  • Eliminate Duplication and Overlap in Reporting
  • Attract and Retain Top Employees
  • Prevent Losing Business and Intellectual Capital to Competitors
Take the first step to aligning ISO/TS, CMMI and Auto SPICE and having better quality products and greater customer satisfaction. Sign up for “Multi-Model Improvement” today!

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.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Why Attend CMMI Institute’s Global Congress 2015? Reason #1

Dear Readers,

Global Congress 2015 starts tomorrow in Seattle!  I’ve been counting down my Top 10 reasons to be there, and today we’ve arrived at the final reason.  The #1 Reason I’m Attending Global Congress 2015 is:

It’s all about you!


As you know if you’ve joined us in the past, Global Congress (f/k/a SEPGNA, f/k/a The CMMI Conference) is the premier software process improvement conference.  Hundreds of professionals come from around the world to learn, network and explore solutions to their performance problems.  These are the folks who have been driving the event’s reputation as the Greatest Show on Earth.

This year, the Show is even greater.  Our annual Global Congress is a gathering of capability and improvement experts, and the theme for 2015 is Connect, Learn and Communicate Why Capability Counts.

What this means is that you can expect to come away with real life, practical and implementable solutions that will help you take your business to that next level.  The Program Committee selected over 30 speakers from around the world, and four customizable breakout tracks.

Attendees can choose to attend every session in one track or move between tracks to build a personalized experience that best fits your needs and interests. Check out the full program agenda.

Whether your interest is multi-model, practical process improvement, high maturity, agile and CMMI, or any number of other disciplines, each breakout track and presentation is designed to dive into the principles and practices that can help your organization better understand how to harness the power of process improvement.

The variety of learning opportunities alone is incredible.  New to the profession?  Great!  A seasoned practitioner of the organizational excellence within the CMMI?  Wonderful!  Where ever you are in your career journey, you will find an experience at Global Congress just for you.

Need one more reason to go?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  Just GO!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He 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.