Monday, September 20, 2010

We use Scrum and our Consultant says it not compatible with CMMI! Help!

Dear Appraiser,

Our consultant tells us that using Scrum is not compatible with CMMI because CMMI is all about paper and Scrum is about getting things done. We need to be ML2 this year! Can you help us?

Wow! Here is my advice:

Step 1: Fire Consultant.

Step 2: Embrace Scrum with integrity

Step 3: Dump (most of) the paper

As both a Lead Appraiser and a Scrum Master (not just a SM but a "certified" one at that ;)) I can tell you with complete surety that CMMI and Scrum are VERY compatible. The secret is to ignore the examples in the book, open your mind, and use your imagination.

Why is a product backlog and a sprint plan not a WBS? It is.
Why is a Product Backlog not scoping your project? It is.
Why is Planning Poker not estimating tasks? It is.

Scrum is VERY process focused (the job of a Scrum Master is more Process Coach than anything else) and if you use it with integrity it's as processes focused as any waterfall project - just different.

The CMMI has a reputation of being paper-based not because the model requires it, but because the original users treated it that way. Follow that up any number of US and Indian "consulting" firms that try to re-engineer the model by starting with the artifact examples in the book, and you get a convoluted mess that helps no one. Except the consultants.

What's wrong with pictures? Hand drawings? Story Cards? All are good "evidence" for an appraisal. And, most importantly, they're USEFUL!

Good luck!

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