Monday, May 14, 2007

Dear Jeff

I’d like to ask what CANNOT be tailored out from a CMMI perspective. For example, if a tailoring request will result in not meeting an SG or GG in one of the projects, should the request be approved?
I understand that we should determine which parts of our processes must be done, but, from an appraisal viewpoint, what would be considered improper tailoring?

Great question. I think you’ve answered part of it already.
If the tailoring results in not meeting and SG or a GG then it shouldn’t be approved (assuming CMMI compliance is one of your goals of course). But the story doesn’t end there. Remember that the Goals are required, but the practices (SPs and GPs) OR AN ALTERNATIVE are expected. By expected the CMMI means that they need to be satisfied in order to satisfy the goals. I’d be hard pressed to come up with an example of a goal that didn’t require the SPs to actually be satisfied (although there are alternatives – especially in the Agile world).
For instance, it would be pretty tough to “Manage Requirements” (REQM.SG1) without understanding them, obtaining commitment, managing traceability, etc… You get the picture.

One way to handle this is to identify all of the “must have” work products and processes, and then the “should have” work products and processes. Like the practices, the “should” really are “must” unless the project has a good reason for tailoring it out – and has some alternative for it.


Vineedh said...

Process areas like DAR etc... may not be used everytime very formally in all project circumstances, although informally it could happen. Does it mean we use the standard documentation DAR template to formalise these exercises ?

Anonymous said...

Don't do CMMI just to check off a box. You and your company can choose when and when not to apply the model or your standard processes. You should define what your tailoring will be for different project instances and following that process.

Jeff Dalton said...

This is excellent advice and I'm glad to see others posting comments like this. Thanks!