Tuesday, February 6, 2007

We are SW-CMM Level Three. How do we go to CMMI?

Dear Appraiser:

We were CMM L3 before we were acquired by another company. I came to know that our certificate no longer holds good and we have to go for CMMI certification. Where do we start from?

If your organization (“we”) has already achieved CMM Level Three I assume you still have at least some established processes and some type of QA activity to help keep you focused on sustaining it. If your management has changed, due to the acquisition, you may need to start with asking for, and receiving, their commitment and sponsorship. Then you will need to become educated on the differences between CMM and CMMI. This information is readily available on the SEI’s website. Transitioning from CMM to CMMI will take some work but your team should be familiar with the Process Area’s as they are different but similar enough that they should be able to understand them pretty quickly.

You probably should consider having some key people attend the training (at the SEI, or through a partner) so they have an appreciation for the scope of the model. Then you might want to engage, on strictly an advisory basis, someone who has deep knowledge of not only the CMMI model itself, but also someone who can guide you in the deployment of “reasonable and useful” processes that will not overburden your organization. Remember, this is something best done by you and your team – not an external agency – but some advice from the right outside source can really save you some time and money.

When you think you’re team is performing at a satisfactory level, you may want to consider having a Lead Appraiser conduct a SCAMPI C or SCAMPI B appraisal to determine your level of performance vis-à-vis the CMMI model. This will reveal any gaps you may need to address. Finally, if a SCAMPI A is your goal (you mentioned “certification” – the SEI doesn’t use that term, but I assume a SCAMPI A is what you are referring to) then a Lead Appraiser could conduct that for you at a time that is in alignment with your team’s performance and your business goals.


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