Monday, November 18, 2019

Five Quick Things You Need To Know about the new CMMI V2.0 - Right Now.

The ALL-NEW CMMI V2.0 is out, and can now be used to improve performance even more (and to receive a Maturity Level).  Here's five things that you need to know now.

1. It's smaller, sort of.

Version 1.3 of the CMMI has 356 Practices in Maturity Level Three.  These included all of the Generic and Specific practices across eighteen Process Areas.

Version 2.0 eliminates the Generic Practices altogether (whoo hooo?), combines Requirements Management (REQM) and Requirements Development (RD) into one Practice Area, and mashes up Validation and Verification.  Great!  But wait....there is a NEW Practice Area called "Implementation Infrastructure" (II) that takes the place of the Generic Practices.  II must be applied to all Processes in your process set, effectively ,multiplying the, across many Practice Areas.  They've also added Causal Analysis and Resolution (CAR) and Governance (GOV) to ML3.  So...smaller?  Yes, but not as much as you might think.

2. Practices are no longer very Specific....or Generic

After spending a lot of time learning about "Specific," "Generic," and "sub-practices," for v1.3, we all thought we had the language mastered.  But Noooo!  Now there are just "practices" inside of the newly-introduced "Practice Groups."   The "sub practices" are completely gone, with just some implementation advice at the bottom of the page.

3. It's not your father's architecture

The CMMI v1.3 architecture was, roughly: Process Category------>Process Are------>Specific/Generic Goal------->Specific/Generic Practice------->Informative Material.

The CMMI V2.0 architecture is Category------>Capability Area------>Practice Area------->Practice Group-------->Practice--------->Explanatory Materials

Think of categories as "SuperProcess Categories," and think of Capability areas as "Process Categories" but better,


4. You won't have SCAMPI to kick around anymore

SCAMPI A, B, and C are gone!

New we have an "Evaluation Appraisal" (like a B or C). and a Benchmark Appraisal (like a SCAMPI A).  We still have the After Action Re-Appraisal, and there is a new "Sustainment" appraisal, which can give you an extension for two extra years if your organization hasn't change significantly.

5. They're picking the sample

In v1.3, the project sample for an appraisal is negotiated between the sponsor and the Lead Appraiser.  In V2.0, the CMMI Institute will randomly generate your sample NO MORE than 60 days prior to your Benchmark appraisal.  This means that ALL projects need to be performing at MLx - not just a pre-selected few that get polished up for when the appraiser comes onsite!


BONUS: You'll be speaking a new language!

Specific Practice, Generic Practices, and Sub-Practices are now "Practices."
Process Areas are now "Practice Areas."
SCAMPI is now "Benchmark."
Categories is now "Capability Areas."
SCAMPI B/C is now "Evaluation."

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

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

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













Which version of the new CMMI V2.0 model should we adopt. Development? Services?

Dear Appraiser.

Our customer is telling us we need to be CMMI Level 3.  The way I understand it, there are multiple versions - Development, Services, and Acquisition.  Which one should we adopt? ~Bill F.

Dear Bill,

GREAT QUESTION!

You are correct - there are several "versions" of CMMI to choose from. In the soon-to-be-retired version of CMMI, v1.3, we call these "Constellations."  Each of these reflected a different "version" of CMMI, and companies chose one of them depending on what their mission, goals, and context was.  The constellations are "CMMI for Development" (CMMI-DEV), "CMMI for Services" (CMMI-SVC) and "CMMI for Acquisition" (CMMI-ACQ).

Now, with CMMI V2.0, there is simply one version of the model - it's called "CMMI."  But it has LOTS of Practice areas to choose from.  Companies like yours select a "view" in the new CMM V2.0 viewer (there is no book!), and it displays the appropriate Practice Areas for the view you have selected.



As of this writing, there are three available Views: Development, Services, and Supplier Management (sound familiar?).  There are future "views" planned for People Management (P-CMM), and Security and Safety, but the release date for these has not been announced.

If you're still confused about what a "view" is, think of it as a filter in excel, or SQL statement in a database that says "If Field = 'Development' then show me the records" and you'll get the idea.    There is a drop-down at the top of the viewer that lets you select a pre-defined view like Development or Services, and clicking on that will display the appropriate Practice Areas and all of their detail.  EZ-PZ.



Now - which one to choose?

CMMI is often thought of as something software organizations use.  This is a myth.  In the early days (80s and 90s) we had the SW-CMM, which WAS for software organizations, but since 2001 we've had CMMI, and that expanded the scope to include all of engineering.  In 2010, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) decided that there was an opportunity to expand CMMI to service organizations (like IT infrastructure, data centers, and call centers), and to organizations that simply purchased all of their components - and that's when CMMI for Services and CMMI for Acquisition were born.  Legacy CMMI was renamed CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV).

By the way, CMMI for Services has, IMHO, created a lot of confusion in the market.  Before 2010, we were perfectly happy to be using CMMI for "IT Services" appraisals.  Sure - not all the language was the same, but they were doing projects, and they were technical, so it made sense.   With the introduction of CMMI for Services,  a lot of "IT Services" companies request CMMI Services, when they really should be using CMMI Development.  I'll explain below.

Here's a way to differentiate the three Views:

- CMMI Development addresses the needs of a "project" (mostly), and includes many practices for planning, building, monitoring, and following a project plan.  It also has a lot of technical practices focused on design, build, test, and validation of a product or other deliverables.  If your organization runs projects, and controls the process on those projects then you should be using CMMI Development, even if you don't build systems or software.

- CMMI Services addresses the needs of an operation - a call center, data center, recruiting, or staff-augmentation service come to mind.  They don't have traditional plans, start and end dates, or fixed resources.  CMMI Services is not as strong on pure project management, and doesn't include many of the PM (and none of the technical) practices that you see in CMMI Development.  If you DON'T run projects, and don't deliver to a project plan, but you still provide a service, then you should be using CMMI Services.

- CMMI Supplier Management addresses the needs of companies that purchase most of their products or services externally.  There may be some engineering involved, and some planning (of course), but its primary focus in on the selection, award, monitoring, and transitioning with externally acquired products from suppliers.

At this time, the VAST majority of companies should be using CMMI Development (3000+ appraisals last year were in Development, less than 200 were in Services).  Here's a simple one-line test (not perfect, but helpful):

- If your work is typically aligned to a project plan and you control the process, use Development.

- If you provide a service that is not tied to a project plan, or if your customer controls the plans and processes, use Services.

- If all you do is spec out and purchase products (maybe for resale), use Supplier Management.

The 51% Test

What about companies that do SOME work that is aligned with a plan, and some work that isn't?  This is where I apply the 51% test.  In this test, I ask my clients two questions:

1. What type of work represents more than 1/2 of your overall workload
2.  What are the goals of the organization as they pertain to the type of work being done (are you trying to build up your project work, or make it smaller?).

Most of you will end up with CMMI Development, but make sure to contact your friendly neighborhood Lead Appraiser for advice before you start!

www.broadswordsolutions.com

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

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










Sunday, July 7, 2019

CMMI Level 3 Renewal – Where to Start?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser,

Our new CEO says she wants to maintain the company’s investment in version CMMI v1.3, then transition to the new Upgrade CMMI V2.0 and Agile over time. But here’s the problem: She describes CMMI as a framework for helping us take action to improve engineering, and says that, once we truly start the process of embracing the CMMI with a proper CMMI appraisal, we’ll be on the path to becoming a great company. That’s nothing like our experience. When I was the CMMI sponsor last time, we went with a low-cost Lead Appraiser, and all we did was chase paper. Where do companies like ours start the renewal process? ~ Justin W.

Hey, Justin, one place to start would be to thank your new CEO for pushing you to be a great company. It sounds like she is trying to get you to do the things you’ve known you should do anyway. That’s human nature. I notice the same dynamic with my personal fitness trainer – except your boss is paying you!



In many ways, the journey to adopting the CMMI is similar to the journey to becoming physically fit. Companies that work with Broadsword go through a predefined, fully detailed progression in their quest to achieve CMMI Maturity Level 3, for instance, and put themselves on the path to becoming a great company.

Another way to state your CEO’s goals would be this way:

1) Get on the path to becoming the great company you aspire to be
2) Preserve your investment in CMMI v1.3
3) Transition seamlessly over time to CMMI V2.0

Here are the recommended steps for a company like yours:

Step 1: SCAMPI C – The SCAMPI C (Gap Analysis) is first and foremost a way for your company to find out about itself and how you stack up against the CMMI model. It’s also an opportunity for your CMMI Appraiser to learn as much about your company as he can, and for your company to learn about the CMMI Appraiser. If you worked with a cut-rate Lead Appraiser last time, you may have missed out on this critical piece. Taking time to learn about one another is important because you will be spending a lot of time together (especially as you transition to CMMI 2.0) making decisions that will have an serious impact on the behaviors of your people. And so, helping both sides feel more comfortable with each other is one of the most beneficial aspects of the SCAMPI C.

As a result, you will understand that your boss was right: The CMMI is not about pointlessly chasing paper. It’s about making your company great!

Step 2: Training – There are a number of training courses that need to take place in your journey to becoming a great company. First is the introduction to CMMI training course, followed by training on how to become expert process engineers. We teach you how to execute our AgileCMMI methodology, and how to design and develop processes. Your entire appraisal team goes through the training, plus anyone who plays a key leadership role in the company in terms of how they want the work performed, such as project managers, program leaders and line managers.

Step 3: Tune-up – After the SCAMPI C, and often concurrently with the training, we will provide you with a plan that identifies all the tuning up or development of processes that must occur in your company. The plan includes everything you need to do in the context of AgileCMMI, the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to be created, as well as all of the releases and iterations that must take place between now and your SCAMPI B Appraisal.

Step 4: SCAMPI B – After you’ve done the training and the tune up, you are ready for the SCAMPI B Appraisal. The SCAMPI B is an 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 determine whether you will succeed in the formal SCAMPI A, as planned.

Step 5: SCAMPI A –After you’ve satisfactorily completed your SCAMPI B, you are ready for a formal SCAMPI A appraisal, and you’ll want do all you can to assure a positive result. If your SCAMPI A is successful, congratulations!

But don’t celebrate so much you forget everything you’ve learned. Once I’ve achieved my health and fitness goals, I don’t want to celebrate by eating a gooey chunk of chocolate cake. Getting in shape and renewing your standing as a CMMI Maturity Level 3 company 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. Whether or not you make the changes in your company – and make the commitment to long-term health as an organization – is up to you.

If that’s the path you take, your ultimate transition to CMMI v2.0 will be seamless. And your CMMI Appraiser will be right there, cheering you on, every step of the way.

If you would like gain a deeper understanding of CMMI, our next "Intro to CMMI-DEV" class is February 19-21, 2019. Join us in the DC area for a practical, fun, fast-paced and interactive classroom experience!

And if you’re interested in learning about a new solution Broadsword provides for companies that are focused on protecting their investment with CMMI v1.3 while seamlessly transitioning to CMMI V2.0, please visit NeXTSTEP CMMI.

Good luck on your journey!

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

CMMI User Story #7: Does your maturity level rating help you win new business?

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories! We’ve been sharing excerpts from our recent study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI.

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?

Question #3: “Did you experience a decrease in defects?

Question #4: “With the CMMI, are customers happier with your performance?”

Question #5: “Did you experience an ROI?”

Question #6: “Does your maturity level rating differentiate you from competitors?”

Today we're highlighting Question #7:

Does your maturity level rating help you win new business?


There is much debate in our industry about the motivations behind adopting the CMMI. Some adopt the Model strictly for marketing reasons. Some are responding to mandates from their customers. And some focus on achieving process improvement and increasing performance. We wanted to understand the experience versus expectation of those who adopted the CMMI.

This question was asked for the first time in the current survey. More than eighty percent of respondents indicated that having a maturity level rating helped win new business.

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

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

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

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






Monday, July 1, 2019

CMMI User Story #5: Did you experience an ROI?

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories, where we've been sharing excerpts from our recent study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI.

If you've missed the previous posts, here's a roundup:

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?” 

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?”

Question #3: “Did you experience a decrease in defects?”

Question #4: “With the CMMI, are customers happier with your performance?”

Today we're highlighting Question #5:

Did you experience an ROI?


Adoption of a process infrastructure can be quite costly, yet it is difficult to ascertain an aggregate return on the investment due to the wide degree of variability in products and services produced by the adopters of the CMMI. We wanted to understand the market’s perception of the CMMI and its ROI, and whether users thought it was worth the investment.

Similar to the previous survey, about two-thirds said yes, they had seen an ROI; twenty-six percent had no idea; under ten percent said no. Some who said “neither agree nor disagree” may have been articulating a fear in revealing what they really believed.

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

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

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

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

Monday, June 24, 2019

CMMI User Story #6: Does your maturity level rating differentiate you from competitors?

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories! We’ve been sharing excerpts from our recent study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI. If you're just joining us, or would appreciate a recap, below are the first five questions we explored, followed by today's question.

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?

Question #3: “Did you experience a decrease in defects?”

Question #4: “With the CMMI, are customers happier with your performance?”

Question #5: “Did you experience an ROI?”

Today we're highlighting Question #6:

Does your CMMI maturity level rating differentiate you from competitors?




74% of respondents felt that the CMMI differentiated them from the competition.

Likewise, there are many who adopt the CMMI for the marketing value of standing apart from the competition. We sought to understand the experience versus expectation of those who adopted the CMMI, relative to its ability to help them differentiate.

This question was asked for the first time in the current survey. Close to three-quarters of the respondents said yes, they felt having a maturity level differentiated them from their competitors.

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

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

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

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

Friday, June 14, 2019

CMMI User Story #4: With the CMMI, are customers happier with your performance?

Dear Readers,

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories! We’ve been sharing excerpts from our recent study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI.

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?”

Question #3: “Did you experience a decrease in defects?

Today we're highlighting Question #4:

With the CMMI, are customers happier with your performance?


In a strong indicator that the CMMI is delivering on a core promise, sixty-one percent said yes, customers are happier with performance with CMMI, while only ten percent answered in the negative. We wonder whether those who “neither agree nor disagree” have taken any steps to gauge customer satisfaction.

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!
Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

CMMI User Story #8: Was your SCAMPI Lead Appraiser easy to work with?

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories! We’ve been sharing excerpts from our recent study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI.

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?

Question #3: “Did you experience a decrease in defects?

Question #4: “With the CMMI, are customers happier with your performance?”

Question #5: “Did you experience an ROI?”

Question #6: “Does your maturity level rating differentiate you from competitors?”

Question #7: “Does your maturity level rating help you win new business?”

Today we're highlighting Question #8:

Was your SCAMPI Lead Appraiser easy to work with?



Organizations often report different experiences with different lead appraisers. We wanted to understand the level of satisfaction with the lead appraiser experience.

As in the previous survey, very few responded that their Lead Appraiser was not easy to work with, or did not know.

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

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

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

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

CMMI User Story #9: Was your experience with the CMMI harder than you expected?

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories! We’ve been sharing excerpts from our recent study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI.

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?

Question #3: “Did you experience a decrease in defects?

Question #4: “With the CMMI, are customers happier with your performance?”

Question #5: “Did you experience an ROI?”

Question #6: “Does your maturity level rating differentiate you from competitors?”

Question #7: “Does your maturity level rating help you win new business?”

Question #8: “Was your SCAMPI Lead Appraiser easy to work with?”

Today we're highlighting Question #9:

Was your experience with the CMMI harder than you expected?

Many organizations report that adoption of the CMMI can be quite complex and difficult. We wanted to understand if that difficulty exceeded the expectations of the organizations that adopt the CMMI.

This year there was a dramatic increase in respondents reporting that the experience of adopting CMMI was harder than expected – 74% (up from thirty-nine percent in 2012).

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

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

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

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

How CMMI can Rock your Career

Most of you know that I'm passionate about CMMI, but did you know it can have an astounding effect on your career?

Think about it. If a young PM or Engineer, right out of college, walks into a company on his first day, what does she know about the most important things? Nothing.  And a veteran of a few years may be an expert in his or her own area, but what about the others?  Probably not.

I'm not talking about coding  or creating a workplan.  Those are easy. The hard part is dealing with requirements, validation, code reviews, design, training, and, most of all, culture.  Those make a professional.  And the CMMI has all that.

The CMMI is a great reference for all of those.  And it provides a solid framework, with examples and samples, for the TOTAL set of skills required to deliver a product or service.

Estimating, planning, risks, issues, requirements elicitation and management, validation, design, coding, testing, code reviews, code control, integration, and managing all of that process - whew!  That's a lot.

In fact, you might say he'd end up being a "CMMI Badass" if he gets enough CMMI Training and becomes an expert.  Check out the video here:


For more on becoming a CMMI Badass, check out www.cmmibadass.com

Jeff Dalton is the author of The Guide to Scrum and CMMI and Great Big Agile: an OS for Agile Leaders.  He is also a CMMI SCAMPI Lead Appraiser and CMMI Instructor.





Monday, May 20, 2019

What are the continuous assurance auditing activities that the organization will need to implement to help achieve CMMI Level 3

What are the continuous assurance auditing activities that the organization will need to implement to help achieve CMMI Level 3



The word "auditing" doesn't appear in the model, other than "configuration audits."

The CMMI’s Process Area “Process and Product Quality Assurance” in v1.3, and “Process Quality Assurance” in V2.0, provide the primary guidance in the CMMI for continuous quality evaluations.

PPQA/PQA calls for “Objective Evaluation” of Processes and Work Products
(SP1.1 and SP1.2), and then management of the remediation, data collection, and corrections (SP2.1 and SP2.2).

In addition, the CMMI calls for a clear policy, resources, training, metrics, improvement, tailoring, and evaluation of the process/performance itself.

In this context, “Process” is behavior, and “Work Products” are artifacts/systems. You can’t perform these activities by just looking at documents - you’ll need to observe, interview, or talk with people.

As to scope, frequency, and duration, it depends on the context. Complex, high-risk projects should have broad, frequent evaluations, whereas long-term static programs probably can do something lighter.

The key to success on this is to focus on “how” people are doing their work. This is the most likely thing to help you success (or fail).

Good luck!

Jeff Dalton is author of Great Big Agile: An OS for Agile Leaders, and is a CMMI SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, AgileCxO Assessor, and Leadership Coach.

What are the most important interpersonal skills needed for working on an Agile team?


[Dear Readers, I've been having fun on Quora lately participating in community discussions, and reposting responses to my blog.  Enjoy!]

What are the most important interpersonal skills needed for working on an Agile team?


One of the reasons “Agile” has grown so quickly is because companies, especially in IT, were heaping processes and oversight onto knowledge workers so heavily that it caused a backlash. People were anxious to throw off that oppression, and the popularity of agile represented an opportunity to really change - for the first time.

Managers have been preaching about “empowerment” and “pushing decision making down” for decades, but the processes they have been mandating had the opposite affect.

When Agile started to become popular in the early 2000s, it was because people were hungry for an environment that focuses on people over processes, and part of that was an acknowledgment that certain behavioral characteristic were critical towards achieving a vision of empowerment, autonomy, and self-organization.

Some of those characteristics are:
  • Trust people’s good intentions
  • Every interaction is about learning
  • Do what you have to do to please the customer
  • Support your other team members and help them be successful
  • Don’t manage people, collaborate with them
  • Succeed in small increments
  • Be willing to change everything you thought you knew when you learn

So, the interpersonal skills should align with the list above - be a trusting, supportive, and learning team members that doesn’t dig in and insist they know everything. You’ll be fine if you do that!

Jeff Dalton is author of Great Big Agile: An OS for Agile Leaders, and is a CMMI SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, AgileCxO Assessor, and Leadership Coach.

What is SSOT in Agile Software Development?

[Dear Readers, I've been having fun on Quora lately participating in community discussions, and reposting responses to my blog.  Enjoy!]

What is SSOT in Agile Software Development?

SSOT = Single Source of Truth. 
It’s not an Agile thing, it’s a data warehousing/DBMS concept that has been around for decades, although lately we’ve been seeing Agile practitioners referring to it as “agile.”  While the creation, maintenance, and operations of the SSOT could be performed in an agile way (and should be), SSOT was not borne Agile movement.
It’s simply the “trusted data source,” or the source data for an organization’s various databases that is subject to a sufficient level of scrutiny, process, and testing to ensure reliability.  In the SSOT, each data element can only be stored one time, eliminating redundancy and chance for errors.
Like good leadership, team cohesion, good customer relationships, and experimentation, it’s been around a lot longer than the Agile manifesto has been around.

Jeff Dalton is author of Great Big Agile: An OS for Agile Leaders, and is a CMMI SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, AgileCxO Assessor, and Leadership Coach.

Friday, April 19, 2019

CMMI User Story #3: Did you experience a decrease in defects?

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories!

If you missed the previous posts about the new CMMI User Stories Report, we took a different approach to measuring the success of CMMI adoption. We asked: What do potential adopters and end-users really want to know? What perceptions do adopters, stakeholders, sponsors, shareholders, and customers have? What was their experience with the CMMI?

In the end, over 70 CMMI Users told us what they really think about the CMMI. Their stories are below.

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?

Today we're highlighting Question #3:

Did you experience a decrease in defects?


The CMMI provides guidelines for deploying processes and improvements that lead to improving product quality and reducing defects. We wanted to understand whether organizations actually experienced these benefits through their adoption of the CMMI.

Over two-thirds of the respondents said yes, defects had decreased. Fewer than ten percent said, no, defects had not decreased. Twenty-two percent neither agreed nor disagreed. Surprisingly, the ambivalent response was selected three times more this year than in 2012.

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

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

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

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

Friday, March 29, 2019

Did you experience an increase in quality and performance?

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories!

If you missed the previous posts, we’ve responded to the demand for information in the industry ("What does the market think about the CMMI today?") by sharing our study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI. The first question was: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Today we're highlighting Question #2:

Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?


The great strength of the CMMI is that it provides organizations with guidelines for increasing performance and improving the quality of product and services. With a market that often focuses on achieving a “level,” we sought to understand whether organizations actually achieved improvements in performance and quality.

A healthy eighty-four percent of respondents said they improved in these areas (up from eighty percent in 2012).

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.


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

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

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

Monday, March 25, 2019

How do we get teams to embrace CMMI and Agile?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, we are looking at ways to use the CMMI and Agile to make software and engineering performance even better. This will be a big change for us. What’s the best way to get our folks to buy in? ~ Don V.

Hey, Don,

Great question! Most companies don’t realize that the biggest hurdle to success is how you deploy improvements to the community. It's critical to think about what you're going to do to get people to embrace it and actually use it.


In my experience, the place to start is with training. Upgrade yourself to the latest version of CMMI and Agile, while learning about the intersections between Agile and CMMI, so you can understand how to combine the two and get the best results.

Then let them run with it. Buy-in comes from overcoming obstacles together, having success, and developing a team identity. When people apply what they've learned, and help free the organization from burdensome process debt, unhappy customers, overhead, and compliance ... we call that "being a CMMI Badass."

There are many training options in the marketplace offering to help you. But software and engineering executives and professionals regularly tell us there's something different and unique about our CMMI and Agile training classes. Instead of some of the standard exercises, they participate in things like playing Planning Poker, using Fibonacci sequencing for their estimates, doing Agile program planning, conducting performance retrospectives, and practicing many of the hands-on Agile ceremonies and activities.

For some, the experience can be transformative.

So I'd suggest starting where you'll see the biggest immediate impact on performance, Don. Get your team registered for the latest training in CMMI V2.0 and Agile. They’ll come away knowing how to use CMMI and Agile together, freeing your organization to be great as you know you can be.

Join the CMMI Gang!

April 1-3, 2019: CMMI V2.0 Training

April 4-5, 2019: Agile/CMMI Integration Workshop

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

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

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