Tuesday, March 27, 2007

We'd like to go to Level 5 and want to set up a metrics office. Where should we start?

Dear Appraiser,
We are a small CMMI Level 3 organization located in Cairo, Egypt. We are currently looking into going for Level 5 and would like to set up a metrics office.
Could you please provide me with info on the typical number of people in a metrics office for a 16-person organization, in addition to recommended training/certification, and primary responsibilities, and where I can look for more info?

A metrics "office" is not a bad idea, although I would have to say that a:) for 16 people it may not be necessary and b:) you may be a little late.

It all comes down to this: how well-oiled is your metrics collection process? If you're ML Level Three you must have demonstrated at least some level of metrics performance. Do you collect "process metrics" as opposed to "project metrics?" The sub-process metrics are what the focus of Levels 4 and 5 should be. Remember, your goal is to create a set of process "levers" that can be turned based on metrics information to solve specific problems.

your processes generates the appropriate metrics just as a consequence of performing the process, collection may not be an issue for you. As far as analysis and decision making based on the results of those metrics goes, do you really want to entrust this to a "metrics office?" The kind of data you'll be collecting will be strategic, and should be driving you to implement "innovative" solutions (OID) based on granular metrics (OPP/QPM) using CAR to determine the real problems you're trying to solve.

The SEI is on a mission to clarify the practices in ML4/5 and has recently put out a series of articles and messages about this subject. You can find these on their website. Reading the informative material in the book helps also.

Bottom line? I sense by the question you're asking that perhaps you should step back for a minute and try to really understand what ML4/5 is about. A "metrics office' is something I see often in Level Two and Three companies. It's not about a lot of metrics - it's about real information that you never had before and using that information to drive your business.