Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What do I need to do to for our company to become CMMI Maturity Level Three

What does our company need to do to become CMMI ML3?
The CMMI is an integrated process model with +-350 distinct practices that define what a “great company” does, at least within it's engineering, product, software, or services organization.  Consider them a list of requirements for your process.  So, your first step is to become smart about the model.
The CMMI model specification can be downloaded from the SEI’s site at www.sei.cmu.edu/CMMI in PDF format, or a better choice is the CMMI book by Mary Beth Chrissis, Mike Konrad, and Sandy Schrum available on Amazon for about $50.00.  It has case studies as well as background information.
A better choice might be for you and your key project leaders and technical leads to take the “Introduction to CMMI” course either at the SEI or from an SEI Partner in your area.  As an alternative, you might consider a ½ day CMMI Executive Briefing.  I give these often with various clients around the country.  You can also download "Agile CMMI" from our website at www.broadswordsolutions.com/resources.php.
There are also numerous presentations, white papers, and documents on the SEI’s web site for free download.  One I would suggest is “CMMI or Agile: Why not Embrace Both!” co-authored by me and a few other folks in the CMMI / Agile world including Hillel Glazer, David Anderson,  Mike Konrad, and Sandy Schrum.
The next step would be to engage a certified CMMI Lead Appraiser to conduct an informal gap analysis (known as a “SCAMPI C”) and perhaps meet with you and your sponsor to develop an appraisal strategy and plan. 
You would then need a period of time (either on your own or with a qualified CMMI consultant) designing, deploying, and using processes based on the CMMI specification.  Along the way you might conduct some informal appraisals, perhaps a SCAMPI “B,” and then, when you are ready, a SCAMPI “A” appraisal.
A SCAMPI “A” is a rigorous, time consuming, intensive event that takes weeks (or months) to prepare for, and then requires a 1-2 week on-site appraisal conducted by a certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser with a trained appraisal team.  The Lead Appraiser will lead you and team through the SCAMPI appraisal which will result in you achieving (or not achieving!) maturity level two.
Whew!  There’s a lot in here.  It’s a major project, but well worth doing because it will put you in an excellent position for competing and winning in a difficult economy.

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