Thursday, October 23, 2008

We think GP2.8 is about reviewing and discussing the process. Do you agree?

We've had a disagreement with our Lead Appraiser on GP2.8.  She says every instance of GP2.8 needs to have a metric.  We think "monitor and control the x process" means day-to-day review and discussion of the process in general.  What say you?

I don’t think I agree with you.  That said, I don't think I agree with your LA either.  I started my CMMI journey about the way you’ve described . . . that GP2.8 is about discussing and reviewing the process.  My thinking on GP2.8 has evolved over the last several years to believe that GP2.8 represents potential “process levers” that can be tuned to improve performance.  I have inquired about this several times with folks at the SEI and the clear and consistent message I have received is YES, measures are appropriate here (but not the only thing that might be used). 
As a proponent and advocate of agile methods I’m not  implying that I favor anything “heavy” but I am saying the a healthy dose of process measures is very useful for any organization. That said, asking for a measure for every one is unreasonable, and it's not required by the CMMI.
I’m not clear on how I would “monitor AND control” something as complex as an engineering process by only  having “day to day” discussions about it.  This can be appropriate for some things, but across the 18 process areas in ML3, there are many opportunities to measure process performance related to productivity and quality (among other things) in these PAs. 
Furthermore, if you delve into OPP (or any of the HM PAs) you realize quickly that it is these very measures that give you the most valuable information about process performance – enabling you to make course-corrections to your process to improve performance.  Lacking that, there is way to understand what needs to be improved!
M&A is the PA that you would use to manage and execute those GP2.8 measures.  M&A is simply an infrastructure PA, which is why it is described in the model as a “support” PA.  It does not speak at all to “what” to measure, only how to build and execute a measurement infrastructure.  M&A must be “fed” by measures that are the result of process execution, so the other process areas are M&As “customer.”
 So, IMHO, I stand by my original assertion – GP2.8 exists to help us understand process performance, and measurement is an effective way to do this.  The trick, and I fully advocate this, is to keep it light and useful.

No comments: