Thursday, February 4, 2016

Is the trend of CMMI Appraisals slowing down? Guess again!

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, are a lot of organizations still choosing to adopt CMMI, or is the trend slowing? ~ Jose J.

Hey, Jose –

The CMMI Institute’s data on the adoption of CMMI tells us that the trajectory continues its upward climb.  This year, the CMMI Institute reports another RECORD YEAR, with the most appraisals delivered.


As you see in the chart, fueled by the demand to improve organizational capabilities and drive business results, 1,913 organizations earned a CMMI maturity and capability rating in 2015. That’s a 15% increase over the previous year, and a cause for celebration!

Why get so excited?  Well, you hardly need a reason to cheer when you see the CMMI as we see it - as an ongoing celebration, a model for changing and improving behavior in the quest for becoming a great company.  As more organizations embrace the Model, and put themselves on the path to greatness, it raises the standard for everyone, and our entire industry improves.

Here's hoping the trend continues!

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, January 22, 2016

Announcing "Managing Project Risk" - New Webinar in the "Everything You Need to Know" Series

Dear Readers,

All projects have risks.  But the risks that cause executives the most worry are the risks that no one is thinking about – the unknown factor around your projects and programs.

The worry seems justified.  Being unable (or unwilling) to identify or anticipate risks can cause enormous problems.  Organizations are failing to realize the value of their projects due to unforeseen risks.  Projects are failing, over-budget and behind schedule.  Executives, project managers and program managers can lose their budgets and ultimately, their jobs.  For thousands of people in corporate and government organizations throughout America, the fear of the unknown is real.

It doesn’t have to be that way.


The new “Managing Project Risk” webinar from Broadsword shows project managers, program managers and executives how to mitigate the risk and eliminate the worry by transforming their fear of the unknown into a successful risk plan.

NEW Webinar: “Everything You Need to Know: Managing Project Risk!”
Date: Friday, January 29, 2016 @ noon EST
Registration: Sign up here

On “Managing Project Risk,” the 8th webinar in our “Everything You Need to Know” Series, you'll discover a better strategy for Managing Project Risk.  You’ll understand that the goal is not to eliminate risks entirely, but to minimize the negative impact of risks on the project or program. You’ll learn the secret to integrating the architectural strengths of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) with your organization’s Risk Management approach for better, more predictable result.

Help yourself and your teams improve and change the way you behave, leading to improved performance, stronger products and happier customers.  Register for “Managing Project Risk" today.

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.

Monday, January 18, 2016

How will we stay agile?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser - How do we stay agile as we expand into bigger markets?  Already our auto manufacturing customers are making demands that are inconsistent with our agile values ~ Devon P

Hey, Devon,

It’s an important question because so many new adopters, such as the federal government and big defense contractors, are demanding that their vendors “go agile.”  As we say in the automotive industry, where I’ve been working for 30 years: “Suppliers don’t change General Motors, General Motors changes suppliers.”


The same problem happens when working with the Department of Defense. A supplier can have all the best intentions and the right way of going about things, but they will eventually get changed.

The simple truth is this. If we want to remain agile, we need to agree on a resilient model that can withstand the attempts of these new players to change our values.

You can learn more on our “Everything You Need to Know” webinar series this week.  We’ll show you how integrating the architectural strengths of the CMMI can help you go agile, and remain agile by making agile resilient enough to thrive and scale throughout your organization.

Sign up: Everything You Need to Know: Agile Transformation!
Wednesday, Jan 20 @ noon EST

Sign up: Everything You Need to Know: Agile Resiliency!
Friday, Jan 22 @ noon EST

Join us if you can, and good luck!

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.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Should we add a CMMI Maturity Level 2 or 3?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, Our team is exhausted. We’ve got too many forms, meetings, reviews, and sign-offs. Our quality audits are heavy-handed, and there is far too much oversight. To reduce some of the chaos, should we add a CMMI Maturity Level 2 or 3? ~ Jim J.

Hey, Jim,

The CMMI is a performance improvement framework that you can use as a set of guidelines to reduce chaos and put your company on the path to greatness. But I would caution against using the word “add.” Going for a CMMI Maturity Rating, without understanding and applying the value of the Model, will only introduce more risk and chaos into the organization.



So how do you clear away the clutter and make your way onto the path of greatness?

A proper approach to the CMMI can do exactly that. A proper approach to adopting the Model helps you supercharge engineering performance, increase productivity, reduce risk, and do what you do, better. But you have to be willing to re-think the forms, meetings, reviews, sign-offs, and all the things that are bogging you down.

I talked about this recently during an interview on Blog Talk Radio with my friend Murali, who shared the perfect anecdote for this problem. He told the story of the sculptor who says, “It is easy to sculpt a lion out of a block of marble. I simply chip off all the marble I don’t want.”

We laughed, and I said the marble is analogous to what I call “Process Debt.”

Process Debt is the unintentional consequence of trying to “add a CMMI Maturity Level 2 or 3” without reaching for greatness. Examples of Process Debt include late projects, over budget projects, unhappy customers, unhappy employees, etc.  All bogged down and trapped in a block of marble.

The analogy applies to many different industries and disciplines. For example, one of my hobbies is recording music, and when I’m in the recording studio in my home, I think of the great recording artists, who say: “The secret to great music is not what you add, but what you take away.”

So many times, the secret to excellence is to NOT do things, instead of do things. Miss that, and you’ll cause all kinds of chaos to the business. And the nightmare doesn't end there. Process Debt crushes morale, damages creativity, and destroys any productivity gains you were hoping for. Some organizations carry so much weight that engineers can barely deliver a product.

That’s usually when my phone rings.

“Hey, CMMI Appraiser, we need a solution,” they say. “What should we add? What should we create?”

My advice is: Don’t create anything! Don’t add anything! STOP doing all these things that you’re doing. You are only piling up more Process Debt.

To fix this problem, I tell them, try taking the proper approach to the CMMI. Understand that CMMI is not about certificates, plaques, or achieving a Maturity Level 2 or 3 Rating. It’s not a test you need to pass. It’s not a rule book you need to follow. The CMMI doesn’t “make” you do anything – and if you are creating documents and processes to satisfy some CMMI appraiser – he or she is adding to your Process Debt. Fire that person immediately.

To find out how to have a successful CMMI adoption, and put your company on the path to greatness, check out our January 2016 schedule of CMMI and performance improvement webinars.

Click here for webinar calendar.

Good luck!

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.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Data tells, but stories sell! Announcing the Capability Challenge – Round 2

Dear Readers,

Hurry, hurry, step right up! Round 2 of the Capability Challenge is about to start!


If you’ve been reading this blog, or following your friendly neighborhood CMMI Appraiser on Twitter, you know all about the Capability Challenge webinar series, hosted by the CMMI Institute. You know that participating in the Capability Challenge gives you a unique opportunity to hear real-life examples of performance improvement in our industry, which can help your business and your career. And you know that you get to vote for the story you think is the best, and watch the winner advance.

Well, it's time to apply your knowledge.  Sign up for Round 2!

What: 2016 Capability Challenge Webinar Series: Round 2

When: January 12th at 1pm EST

Sign up: click here

In Round 2 of the Capability Challenge, we’ll hear the stories of building capability from our next four Challengers:
  • Michael Callihan, President at AEGIS.net
  • Will Pohlman, Manager, IT Applications at Nationwide Application Development Center
  • Winfried Russwurm, Principal Key Expert at Siemens AG
  • Mary Anne Herndon, Director of Process Improvement at Transdyne Corporation
We need your vote! Help us crown the 2016 Capability Challenge Champion. The webinar series is designed to help software and engineering professionals learn be successful by doing the things great companies do.

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

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Where's the best CMMI info on Twitter?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser - Where's the best CMMI info on Twitter? ~ conference attendee

Dear Readers,

Did you know that Ask the CMMI Appraiser is on Twitter?



If you're one of over 800 hundred of our followers, you're already getting our daily tweets packed with CMMI knowledge.  We're different because we help you focus on the fact that Process Improvement, Agile, and CMMI are all about the transformation of the culture of your company.

Join the movement! Follow us today at "CMMIAppraiser".

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, December 30, 2015

Have a Happy CMMI New Year!

Dear Readers,

We want to take this time to wish each and every one of you a happy and prosperous 2016!

Thank you for being one of the 350,000 readers of "Ask the CMMI Appraiser.  And thank you for your passion for learning new ways to get better.  Whether that means better software, better finance, better product development, better marketing or HR, you’re always ready to learn how taking a lighter, leaner approach to performance improvement can help you make immediate, lasting improvements in your company. You've worked hard to prepare your organization to be wildly successful, and it's time to celebrate!


Our pledge for 2016 is to continue to bring you strategies, tips and techniques for CMMI, Agile and performance improvement to help you be even more successful.

After all, life is a journey.  Make it a great one for your organization by setting the right goals and objectives, and by continually asking the right questions. With learning as your goal, you’ll stay on the path to greatness and increase your capability to become wildly successful in 2016 and beyond.

And THAT'S a New Year's resolution worth keeping!

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.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Wishing You a Happy CMMI!

Dear Readers,

In this time of joy and reflection, this CMMI Appraiser is grateful for those who see our blog as a source of ideas for practical, agile, incremental ways to make their companies better, using the CMMI as one of the tools that can help. We welcomed our 300,000th visitor to the blog this year, and feel privileged to be traveling the “path to greatness” with you.

To show our appreciation, we have something for you.


Please accept as a token of our appreciation a FREE copy of our holiday classic, “CMMI for Executives: The 12 Days of CMMI”. This eBook takes you, as the leader of your organization, on a twelve-day celebration designed to show you the good times of CMMI, so you can help your organization be a great organization by adopting one Generic Practice (GP) per day.

Click here and enter our "Premium Content" section to download your FREE copy of “CMMI for Executives: The 12 Days of CMMI”.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year for parties and exchanging gifts. But every day is a holiday when you see the CMMI as we see it - as an ongoing celebration, a model for being joyful in the quest for becoming a great company.

So click and download the FREE eBook for yourself, or send it along to that special engineering or software professional on your list.

Have a happy 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.

Monday, December 14, 2015

What is the Capability Challenge?

Dear Readers, below is an excerpt from my recent interview with celebrating podcaster Tom Cagley of SPaMCAST, to let folks know about the CMMI Institute’s Capability Counts 2016 ongoing webinar series. Enjoy! ~ the CMMI Appraiser

Jeff, what is the Capability Challenge and how did it come about?

Well, Tom, it’s great to talk to you again. I was thinking that you and I have done online interviews many times, and have only met in person once. It’s nice to see you again in this virtual way.

The Capability Challenge was an idea that came up when we were doing some work at the CMMI Institute, planning for the Capability Counts 2016 conference, which takes place in Annapolis, MD on May 10-12, 2016.


Register for Capability Counts 2016 by March 11, 2016 and save $200.

The way it came about was, we started with a question: How could we give everyone in the industry access to the some of the many, many great stories out there, so that they can learn from them, and grow?

We thought, you know something, this really would be useful for the industry. So how we could give some of these people a platform to tell their stories? Webinars were a viable option, and so was the stage at Capability Counts 2016. And then we took it to the next level and said, wouldn’t it be fun to have a competition that takes place online AND in person, and is judged by a live audience? That’s how we came up with this idea of the Capability Challenge.

Tom: So how does the Capability Challenge work?

Jeff: On a series of webinars, and finally on stage, in person, people will tell their stories about what they did that was great, what kind of great results they got using the CMMI and other techniques. At the end of each presentation, the audience will vote for the winner. The story that gets the largest percentage of votes on each webinar, wins. So, each of the four webinars will have one victor, and the four of them will have the opportunity to speak in front of the entire capability conference in a plenary presentation. They’ll get to tell their story in front of an audience of government employees, purchasing agents and people that are professions in the process improvement and software and engineering worlds. The audience will vote using their cell phones. And the winner will be announced at the end of the conference as the 2016 Capability Challenge champion.

Tom: What you don't see me doing is rubbing my hands together! Do you see this becoming a little bit of blood sport?

Jeff: (Laughing) Well, you know I haven’t considered that, but would be something if people would get that excited about it.

We really think people will be excited to participate as audience members. The kind of stories being told here are stories of companies that have great cultures and companies that do great things. And, I’ve noticed, companies that do great things want to learn from one another. They don’t want to compete at that level. They want to learn from one another. That’s another great benefit of being a presenter. Some of the winners are going to find out that the other presentations that they were competing against are just as interesting and just as exciting and just as results-oriented as the stories they told. It’s a good opportunity for everybody to learn from everybody else in our community.

Tom: So, if you’ve gotten to this level, you’ve actually done something fantastic within your own company to begin with. When they go head-to-head, that’s when the most different, the most interesting, the best emerges?

Jeff: Yes. Each of the contestants –

Tom: Gladiators. Let’s just call them gladiators. Kidding.

Jeff: Well, we’ll have the world-famous Tom Cagley moderating, and maybe acting as a referee, getting in between all of these people that are competing. Tom, you’re sort of like in the boxing match. You’re keeping people safe as possible, and you’ll be doing it in interview style! That’s the reason we asked you to come. We know you can evoke the best stories from of our contestants. With all of the SPaMCAST interviews you’ve done now, you’re an expert at pulling out information from people.

Tom: Well, I’m going to have fun doing that and I hope everyone else does too!

Jeff: Here's how to join the fun:
 
What:     2016 Capability Challenge Webinar Series: Round 1
When:    December 15th at 11 a.m. EST 
Sign up: Click here

[Check back soon for the next interview excerpt about Capability Counts 2016!]

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, December 11, 2015

What’s the best approach to process improvement?

Hey, CMMI appraiser, we’re considering adopting CMMI for process improvement, and my boss suggested that we need a CMMI consultant to tell us what to do.  Can you tell us, in your experience as a Lead Appraiser, what’s the best approach to process improvement?  We’re a mid-sized IT company using agile methods. Thanks ~ Tooley C.

Hey, Tooley,

Please tell your boss that it really won’t help for your CMMI consultant to tell you what you should do—that’s not even part of what we do.  We also don’t write a process for you.  It’s not even our responsibility to get you to write a process and propose one and deploy it, although that is useful. No the lasting value any CMMI consultant brings is teaching you to clear your biggest hurdle.

So what’s your biggest hurdle in a successful process improvement program?


For most companies, the biggest hurdle is how you deploy process improvement to the community. In other words, how you get people to embrace it and use it.

The approach my company Broadsword uses has been very successful.  It is an iterative and incremental approach we call agileCMMI, our branded approach.  Here’s how it works:
agileCMMI uses agile methods such as incremental delivery, continuous build, collaboration, etc. It applies the same techniques we use when writing software to deploy process and get people to embrace process.

The purpose of agileCMMI is to help organizations embrace processes successfully.  agileCMMI is an incremental method where we deploy small components of the process in releases over time. For example, we might release two or three sub-processes and test it out, and then once the company has embraced those small, easy to digest, useful things, we’ll give them another set of small, digestible, useful things.

We plan it all out in advance.  You are getting appropriate pieces at the appropriate times. And the reason it works is that’s how we learn. We learn as human beings by digesting things in very small pieces. So when you look at so many process implementations that have failed, you see some commonalities.  Typically the company tried to throw a big binder or a big website at all their employees and said, “This is going to be your new process.”  They were trying to get them to eat an elephant in one bite.

agileCMMI goes about this differently.  We're not going to force you to do anything.  We’re giving people very small components to start working with.  We'll keep feeding them those small bites over time until they have their complete process suite and their process improvement architecture and their methodology and everything they need will be implemented.  Sometimes this will take months.

During that time, you get these things in small, right-sized pieces, so that you can understand them, can put them in context.  Then you can start to embrace them and use them successfully.
Embracing the process is key to overall success.  After all, the best process in the world is useless if you can’t get people to actually embrace it and adopt it.  And until they embrace it and adopt it, you don’t even know if the process you developed is even useful.

That's what agileCMMI is all about, and that's why I would say it is the best approach to process improvement we've used.  It's how we learn.  It’s how we clear our biggest hurdles.

To learn more about combining agile and CMMI, check out our upcoming FREE webinars:

Monday, 12/14: “All About CMMI” -- This is a great place to start. Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about CMMI by signing up for the introductory webinar.

Tuesday, 12/15: “Agile Transformation” – Learn to take advantage of Agile for a lighter, leaner approach to solving business problems incrementally and iteratively.  Check it out!

Wednesday, 12/16: “Scaling and Strengthening Agile" -- By participating in this webinar, you'll come away with an understanding of the work that needs to be done to strengthen Agile in a way that makes sense for your organization, while staying true to Agile methods.

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.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Announcing the Capability Challenge – Round 1!

Ladies and gentlemen,

Hurry, hurry, hurry! Step right up for the main event! The contestants are entering the ring, and the 2016 Capability Challenge is about to get underway on Tuesday, December 15th at 11 a.m. EST. Register now for the webinar so you can watch the bout, learn from some real-life business success stories, and help choose the winner!


Here’s the scoop on the Capability Challenge. Hosted by the CMMI Institute, and moderated by celebrity podcaster Tom Cagley of SPaMCAST, it’s a contest strictly for successful engineering and software organizations who have agreed to square off against other successful companies to demonstrate how improving capability has brought them business value and superior results. The purpose of the competition is to extend the impact of Capability Counts 2016 conference beyond the physical gathering that takes place in Annapolis, MD on May 10-11, 2016.

What:     2016 Capability Challenge Webinar Series: Round 1
When:    December 15th at 11 a.m. EST
Sign up: Click here


Help us crown the 2016 Capability Challenge Champion. The webinar is informative. It’s free. It’s a whole lot of fun, and it all starts on Tuesday. Be 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 about running a successful CMMI and performance improvement program.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What is CMMI and how does it work with Scrum?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, so that I can assess whether there is a fit with our growing, Virginia-based health care technology company, I need to know exactly what the CMMI is. Please tell me what it helps companies do, and how it works with Scrum, if at all. Thank you. ~ Betsy F.

Hey, Betsy, welcome to the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)! As a certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser who has worked in the industry for many years – including with several health care technology clients – I’m always thrilled when someone new asks about the Model and whether it works with Scrum. There are so many great ways to use CMMI and Scrum together to put your company (and your career) on the path to greatness!


First, practically speaking, there are three things to know about the CMMI. Here’s what CMMI is:

  • The CMMI is a tool to help solve business problems 
  • The CMMI is a framework and set of guidelines for changing behaviors and changing culture
  • The CMMI is a time-tested, industry-proven model for positive outcomes

And here are just six of many things the CMMI helps you do:

  • The CMMI helps you change and improve requirements churn and volatility, so that you can spend less time and money on requirements
  • The CMMI helps you be on-time and on-budget 
  • The CMMI helps you motivate your staff, and make them better at what they do
  • The CMMI helps you understand and deal with risk, before it hurts you 
  • The CMMI helps you avoid having too many meetings, unhappy customers and unpredictable projects 
  • The CMMI allows you to do what you are already doing, better

As to your question about how the CMMI and Scrum work together, the secret of CMMI and Scrum is that they are more alike than they are different. A lot of folks see CMMI and Scrum as polar opposites. But CMMI and Scrum both exist to solve problems. This makes CMMI and Scrum allies, not adversaries.

To learn how to make CMMI and Scrum work for you, check out our upcoming FREE webinars:

Monday, 12/14: “All About CMMI” -- This is a great place to start. Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about CMMI by signing up for the introductory webinar.

Tuesday, 12/15: “Agile Transformation” – Learn to take advantage of Agile for a lighter, leaner approach to solving business problems incrementally and iteratively.  Check it out!

Wednesday, 12/16: “Scaling and Strengthening Agile" -- By participating in this webinar, you'll come away with an understanding of the work that needs to be done to strengthen Agile in a way that makes sense for your organization, while staying true to Agile methods.

We hope to see you on one, two, or all three webinars ... and good luck!

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.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Don’t miss the December 11th Webinar: “Integrating CMMI, ISO9001 AND A-SPICE”

Dear Readers,

Good news for those who need to know EVERYTHING about integrating CMMI, ISO9001 and A-SPICE! Broadsword is hosting another FREE Webinar on Friday, December 11, 2015 at noon EST, specifically to address your challenges. Click here to join us for “Integrating CMMI, ISO9001 AND A-SPICE.”


From the "Everything You Need to Know" Webinar Series
Integrating CMMI, ISO9001 AND A-SPICE


What would it look like if your company were effectively able to integrate CMMI, ISO9001, A-SPICE and other process models into a single program for performance innovation? Here are some of the benefits:

  • Improve communication between management and engineering
  • Streamline and strengthen the way you do business
  • Have better quality products 

Who should sign up for the webinar? Are you an executive, engineer and/or business professional who is trying to create an environment in which your organization can manage its uniqueness in a structured way, by integrating the frameworks and methodologies you use to do your work? This fast-paced, in-depth webinar shows how to reach these outcomes, and more. Typically those who receive the most value are dealing with the following challenges:

  • You are frustrated by the lack of communication between management and engineering, who use process models that aren’t aligned
  • You are concerned about the widening gap between the “ISO/TS side of the business” and the “CMMI and Auto SPICE side of the business”
  • You are tired of wasting effort by doubling your work – i.e., doing your work in one tool and reporting in another

The great take-away of this webinar is that it helps you learn to see the CMMI as one of the tools that can help drive the transformation of the culture of your company. By aligning the frameworks, models and methodologies you are using, you’ll be improving and changing the way your company behaves, so that you build better products, win new business and retain the customers you have.

So spread the news! And we’ll 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 running a successful CMMI program.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving, CMMI-style!

Dear Readers,

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving, as Mrs. CMMI Appraiser and I sit down at the holiday table with our Little Appraisers, friends, and extended family, we are humbled and grateful for all that we have received.


We’re thankful for …

Engineering and software professionals who have taken on the challenge of using CMMI to improve performance in their organizations.

We’re thankful for …

SEPGs that are open to learning how to deploy processes.

We’re thankful for …

CMMI program managers who embrace the CMMI as set of guidelines for performance improvement.

We’re thankful for …

CMMI sponsors who accept help in guiding their program.

We’re thankful for …

CEOs who accept help in facilitating strategic decisions.

And most of all, we’re thankful for YOU, our Reader. Without your effort to learn as much as you can about being a great company, those of us who are passionate about performance improvement and engineering strategies wouldn’t have the chance to help organizations like yours use the CMMI to get even better at what you are ALREADY doing.

May you enjoy a plentiful feast and share gratitude with family and friends this holiday season. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

Call 9-1-1! Our CMMI Appraiser is killing us on Friday the 13th!

Dear CMMI Appraiser,

Our CMMI Appraiser is killing us! He’s demanding work product evidence for every single sub-practice in the model … and there seems to be no end of them! We are spending incredible hours in soul-crushing meetings. Is the CMMI supposed to be so over-engineered, heavy-handed and burdensome? Honestly, I think I’d prefer a tax audit. ~ Charles D.


Charles,

How frightening that your question comes on Friday the 13th! Your CMMI Appraiser reminds me of the evil Freddy Krueger in the horror film by the same name.  Better call 9-1-1!


Of course it’s no laughing matter when you’re in the middle of it – except for the fact that, if you don't laugh, you'll cry. Clearly, some of my fellow Lead Appraisers are so far off the deep end that they are making the CMMI feel like an attack on your life – and that’s scary.

The intent of a CMMI Appraisal is not to lock you in a meeting room and torture you. It’s supposed to be an event that brings you together to have fun, learn new skills, establish new traditions and come away the better for it.

Where, oh where did your sick and twisted CMMI appraiser go wrong?

Let’s set the record straight.

First, as you are experiencing, too many meetings are a productivity KILLER. It’s a pretty good rule of thumb that the more meetings you have, the less you can accomplish. I’ve heard Lead Appraisers say things like, “We need to have a lot of meetings because they need everything clarified face-to-face, or else how can they understand the projects, resolve issues or risks or assumptions or any of those things?” AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!  Shoot me now!

Somebody call the process police! That explanation is just criminal.

Second, a SCAMPI appraisal is NOT an audit! A good Lead Appraiser is the OPPOSITE of an auditor. The CMMI is a model for continuous improvement, and a Lead Appraiser 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 better or – as I call it – a great company. That’s the bottom line of CMMI.

If your Lead Appraiser is insisting on seeing “work product evidence,” or what they now call “artifacts” for every single sub practice in the model, he’s acting like an auditor. The CMMI does NOT call for an audit of subpractices! Talk about shattering the stillness of the night with blood-curdling screams!

A Lead Appraiser who behaves like an auditor is driving wrong behaviors, wasting money, and making people hate CMMI. He might as well come at you with a machete and a mask!

No wonder you feel that your Lead Appraiser is over-engineering what his task is. He probably thinks the way to win business is to force you down a path where you are terrified of him and think you need to memorize everything that’s in the book. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no reason for anyone in your company to do that.

Charles, this may be difficult, but I want you to remain calm. Stay on the line, and know that the practices in the CMMI are valuable guidance for you. They are not things to comply with, as written. They are guidance for you. Their job is to help you make yourself incrementally and iteratively better.

A good Lead Appraiser won’t care if you know what the GPs are, by their numbers. All a good Lead Appraiser will care about is: Are you training people? Do you have a process for doing work? Do you have policies? Are you improving as an organization? Are you learning about yourselves?

You need a good Lead Appraiser, Charles. Otherwise the torture will continue. You may indeed end up with a CMMI Maturity Level 2 or Maturity Level 3, but you will not have realized any of the benefits of the CMMI. We’ve seen that movie. What a horror show!

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.