Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Are sub-practices required for a CMMI Appraisal?

Are sub-practices located under specific practices expected during CMMI Appraisals (e.g. SAM SP2.4 there are seven sub-practices.  Are Appraisers expecting seven artifacts or artifacts that prove all seven?
The CMMI defines Goals as required, Practices as expected, and everything else as information. So no, you do not need to produce evidence at the sub-practice level - only at the Specific Practice level.
However, as "informative material," sub-practices embody the intention of the authors of the CMMI and further describes and clarifies the meaning of the practice.
It's good to read them and understand what the authors meant by each practice - but it doesn't mean you need to produce evidence for every one.

2 comments:

David Arteaga said...

Jeff, hi! I agree with that, however I think the MDD v1.3 does not clarify this when in 1st. paragraph of page 21 says "Appraisal teams COMPARE the objective evidence collected against the corresponding practices in the appraisal reference model. In making inferences about the extent to which practices are or are not implemented, appraisal teams draw on the entire model document to understand the intent of the model, and use it as the basis for their decisions. THIS COMPARISON INCLUDES the required and expected model components (i.e., goals and practices) AS WELL AS INFORMATIVE MATERIAL, such as
model front matter, introductory text, glossary definitions, and SUBPRACTICES.". (see uppercase) I have a recently discussion about if in a SCAMPI A we have to compare each subpractice with artifacts and the way an organization implements CMMI. The way this paragrah is worded seems to say we have to compare with each subpractice, but this is not the intention of the model, am I right? Maybe that paragraph should be reworded.

Jeff Dalton said...

Thanks David, and great to hear from you!

I would agree....to a point. The sub-practices DO indeed help appraisal teams make those comparisons. The problem with them is that they are so incomplete, so missing in vital information, so short of needed sub-practices that completely explain the practice, that it is misleading to believe that they are a good way to determine practice performance. I think of the sub-practices as a good way to help us understand what the authors were thinking, and they should be CONSIDERED, but I'm afraid the authors missed an awful lot here, and upon reading them one might wonder why. And upon wondering that, one wonders "if so much is missing, how important could these be?" It's not that I don't think some of them are important, but it's clear to me that they are just thought-starters, not requirements. Thats what I think anyway! Thanks for your comment.