We are currently CMMI Level 2 for our deliverable products to customers. However, we tend to work on many very small internal projects (1 person, less than one month delivery) to support testing of products. As we gear up for Level 3, the thought of having a gazillion artifacts to cover 18 process areas seems like overkill for these projects. Is there some point where an organization can say a project is too small for CMMI compliance, as long as there is some minimal process in place for this micro project (requirements, test, estimated schedule, ...)?
This is an excellent (and common!) question.
Let’s start with the concept of “tailoring.” Tailoring is introduced in ML3 within the OPD and IPM process areas. The net on tailoring is that each project should adapt the process (or “tailor it”) for their own specific situation.
As CMMI is an “organizational” model, leaving projects out of scope can be problematic. At the same time, regardless of the model you use, do you really want individual engineers working in an ad-hoc way? What if they come up with something that is really cool and can be used by the rest of the company? What if their one-person project has a high risk profile?
So, the answer is not in having them create a “gazillion” artifacts (technical term) but having them tailor the process so it makes sense for their project. How about 1/2 a gazillion?
A couple of other points:
There is nothing in the model that requires us to use a gazillion documents, and I hope you were not guided in that direction by an LA or other CMMI consultant. You owe it to your practitioners to evaluate the impact on them and reduce, consolidate, and lighten the documentation to a reasonable amount of weight. Have you considered alternatives such as digital cameras, white board cameras, cards, databases, et al to reduce the load? Sometimes a single work product can (and should) satisfy multiple practices in the model.
Just to clarify, there are 18 PA’s in ML3, but not all of them require projects to create work products. OPD and OPF, for instance, are organizational, not project focused. So are parts of IPM. Is SAM applicable? That may be another that does not require much documentation. Same applies for parts of MA, VAL, and VER (SG1 in each one).
And of course, many of the GP’s don’t require project artifacts either.
Best of luck to you!