Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How do I confirm someone is an SEI Certified Lead Appraiser like they say they are?

Dear Appraiser:

I've been talking to a consultant about helping us to understand the CMMI. He claims to be a "Certified Lead Appraiser." How can I confirm this?

LOL! Being "certifiable" is one of the pre-reqs for becoming a Lead Appraiser, so maybe he's on the level!

But seriously folks....

All SCAMPI Lead Appraisers (and CMMI Instructors) must be certified by the SEI and certification is a matter of public record.

To become certified all LA's need to have the pre-requisite experience and education, take the required training, successfully complete multiple exams, and be observed by the SEI conducting their first SCAMPI Appraisal. It's a rigorous process (as it should be) and can be costly.

To confirm an LA's certification you can go the the SEI's Partner site and search for them at: www.sei.cmu.edu/partners/directory/individuals.

In addition, a Lead Appraiser must be sponsored by a licensed SEI Partner.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Why did you change the name of this blog?

Dear Appraiser,

I see you've changed your blog name to add "(The Original and Authentic") to your name. I've always thought you were the ONLY person doing something like this - are there others?

Well, now that you bring it up.....

I was doing some Internet SEO research the other day and one of the searches I ran brought up a blog called "AskCMMIAppraiser." I thought this was curious, since I had not ever seen this before. I anxiously anticipated opening the page, always hoping to find new and interesting information about the CMMI.

But that's not what I found folks.....not at all.

I found a complete COPY of this website - not only in it's look and feel, but it's format, but with another authors name and photo. And the BIO of the "blogger" looked like mine with his name in it. WOW!

I won't publish his name here, but it's the lowest form of behavior I can imagine.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Can an individual person be CMMI Certified?

Dear Appraiser,

Can an individual person be CMMI level 1 and 2 certified?

Though it defies most logic, there really is no "Level 1" as it essentially means "has not been appraised." Other than sometimes being used as a way to describe a very immature organization (as in "their software is so bad they must be level 1") it's not really part of the vernacular. We usually start at Maturity Level Two.

CMMI is something that is applied to an organization - for instance a company, or part of a company. Individuals people per se are never the subject of an appraisal and therefore cannot be, themselves, a "level" of CMMI. However, if a single person makes up an entire company, such as an independent contractor that writes software, and they need/want to achieve a Maturity Level, they could potentially achieve a level of CMMI as an organization (albeit a one-person organization) - but it's extremely rare.


Friday, July 9, 2010

New "Introduction to CMMI" Training Class in St. Louis, MO!

Hey Readers,

A new CMMI Training opportunity!

I'll be teaching a brand new "Introduction to CMMI" Training Class in St. Louis, MO September 15th-17th. If you're in the St. Louis, Chicago, or Indianapolis areas and need a CMMI class go to http://www.broadswordsolutions.com/ and sign up!


Jeff heading to Peru as Keynote Speaker at CMMI Peru!

Dear Readers,

I'll be heading to Lima, Peru next week to be the keynote speaker at the CMMI International Conference Peru Conference on July 23rd. If you're in Lima stop on by!

I'll blog a complete report when it's done!


I have some general questions about the SCAMPI Appraisal "Final Review."

I frequently browse your blog and always get some real good insights. Thumbs up to you and your team! Further, I am an ATM team member in my company. My question is regarding the final review by the LA. I want to ask that...

1. What part do an ATM team member has to play in the final review?
By final review, I assume you mean the "onsite" portion of the appraisal (also known as "Phase 2" in the SCAMPI Method).
Every participant on an appraisal team plays an important role and will have responsibilities. Your role and responsibilities will be defined and explained to you during training and included in an Appraisal Plan. In general, you review the evidence, debate it's merit with the other ATMs, and agree upon a characterization (or "grade").

2. They say that our final review would be of 8 days. The first 3 days is some kind of training. is it right?
Well that depends. You haven’t mentioned whether you have had any training up to this point. There are 2 types of training that are required before you can participate in an appraisal, the Introduction to CMMI v1.2 (typically a 3 day course) and SCAMPI Team Training V1.2 (typically 1 day). These training courses will answer your questions regarding CMMI and how the appraisal will be run. However, you should have taken these BEFORE the appraisal started. The appraisal team team training should last about two days.

3. if yes then What kind of training it is?

The Introduction to CMMI v1.2 is intended to expose you to the key components of CMMI. This class is required for anyone planning to participate on a SCAMPI Appraisal team.

The SCAMPI Team Training prepares you to be team members on an appraisal team. The course objectives include preparing students to effectively participate as team members, understanding how to support the appraisal plan goals and objectives, objective evidence data collection, data consolidation and ratings. This course includes portions of a guided case study to simulate activities in actual appraisal. The interactive lectures and exercises use a simulated appraisal and Appraisal Wizard® to further facilitate the learning experience.

4. For the rest of the 5 days, LA will interview and check the documents or the ATM will do this?
The entire appraisal team is involved with interviews and checking documents. There are several different ways this could work depending on the size of the appraisal team. Typically the appraisal team is broken down into mini-teams that will address sets of project data during the appraisal either at the project level or by process area. Mini-teams are tasked with collection and verification of objective evidence, participating in interviews, and providing initial characterizations. As for interviews, as an ATM you will most likely participate in several but possibly not all interviews.

5. Do the LA interview the ATM team members? If yes then could you please give an idea that what areas we would be asked?

No, the LA will not interview the ATM’s. During an appraisal, interviews are conducted with the projects involved as well as Functional Area Representatives (FAR). Project interviews are for project managers (and any other team members if necessary) and specific questions are asked that focus on the project and all process areas under the appraisal. The specific responses are to verify process adaptation at the project level. FAR interviews are designed for a specific role, such as Project Manager, Line Manager, Sponsor, etc… These interviews include broad questions focused on roles and associated responsibilities. The general responses are not project specific, but are meant to verify process adaptation at the organizational level.

Good luck and have fun!


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.