Wednesday, July 7, 2010

If a supplier has achieved ML3 will they do ML3 work if we hire them?

Dear Appraiser,

I read this article written from a Navy expert and wanted to clarify the statement with you.

In the article, the author wrote "A supplier claiming to be Level 3 is no guarantee that the project within the supplier's organization is following the organization's processes. The only way an acquirer has to determine that the people actually doing the work are following mature process is to do a SCAMPI "B" or "C" assessment of the supplier. From the acquirer's perspective, SCAMPIs are used as a risk identification and mitigation tool, so they must be performed on the groups doing the acquirer's work."

So does this mean that just because an organization has a CMMI Level 3 certification does NOT necessarily mean they are doing CMMI Level 3 work. The SCAMPI process is to be an additional safeguard to ensure that they are?

Excellent question!

The answer is maybe….

I'll stick to the mechanics and ASSUME that any supplier is acting in good faith and embracing the processes they have demonstrated in their appraisal (with tongue firmly planted in my cheek.....).

When an appraisal is performed an “organizational unit,” or “OU” is defined. The OU is usually defined as a department, a location, a program, or some other logical (and credible) segmentation of the organization. The CMMI appraisal is conducted ONLY on the projects within the OU.

So, for example, if a company, in collaboration with the Lead Appraiser, defines their OU as the “Federal Government Business Unit” and they achieve ML3, it means that ONLY the projects who work in that business unit have achieved it, and any other projects outside of that OU have not.

In your scenario, if the supplier is claiming to be ML3, it’s only relevant to you if you are doing business with the same “OU” that was appraised, and only if that appraisal was conducted within the valid time period of three years.

There is often a lot of marketing hype around CMMI, with many offshore companies touting their ML5 credentials. Not that I would every question their credibility..... All I can say is “buyer beware.”

If you want CMMI ML3 performance, then you are entitled to insist that a current appraisal be performed against the actual team doing the work, especially if their OU differs from the one that achieved ML3.

A SCAMPI “B” would do nicely.

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