Friday, December 12, 2008

Can a project perform PPQA on themselves?

Is it possible to use the project team to achieve PPQA SG1?
We have an idea to use the project team to assure the process using checklists and peer reviews, so the QA just audits work products AND assure that the project team do the checklists or peer reviews.
Is it enough for PPQA SG1?
If you've been following my posts you'll know that I'm not one to say that anything is absolute within the CMMI - local tailoring to accommodate culture and local norms is very important. So, I never say never . . . but . . . .
The PPQA PA specifically calls out the need to "objectively" evaluate processes AND the use of those processes.  It doesn't say "independent" though, but it would be uncommon for an organization to be mature and open enough when first implementing PPQA to perform this objectively on themselves.  Many Lead Appraisers insist on "Independence" to prove objectivity.  This isn't always correct though.
The other problem is that PPQA is the "eyes and ears" of the process deployment effort.  It's job is NOT to be the "process police," it's to uncover problems with the use of the process and make sure that information gets into the hands of the right people and is used appropriately.
One idea I advocate is a "rotating" PPQA responsibility.  PMs and Engineers from other projects serve for a period of time in a PPQA role (say 25% of their time for six months).  This has the hidden benefit of gaining "buy-in" from people who may not be fully engaged, and creates process evangelists. 

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