Saturday, November 27, 2010

The new CMMI v1.3 class has finally been released!

New CMMI v1.3 Classes are scheduled!

The new v1.3 CMMI is class has been released by the SEI!

To all of those who have called and asked about when the CMMI v1.3 class will be ready, we have two on the schedule!

January 19-21, 2011 in Troy, MI

To register click here

February 16-18 in Austin, TX

To register click here

To see a list of all of our classes for 2011 click here

This 3-day SEI Authorized course provides attendees with a detailed overview of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI).  It provides systems engineers, software developers, project managers, and process professionals with an understanding of how to use the CMMI, a model that is the defacto standard and leading framework for software process improvement.
Your instructor is Jeff Dalton, an Certified SCAMPI Lead AppraiserCertified CMMI Instructor, Candidate SCAMPI Appraiser Observer, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.  Jeff has taught this class to well over 1000 students and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.
Completion of this course is recommended for anyone with an interest in improving software and engineering product development processes, and is required for those who wish to participate in a CMM SCAMPI Appraisal, those who wish to enroll in Intermediate Concepts of CMMI, and those who wish to undergo CMMI SCAMPI Lead Appraiser training or CMMI Instructor training.      

Why come to THIS class instead of that other guy's?
- Your instructor, Jeff Dalton, is also a Certified Lead Appraiser and will be revealing his Appraisal secrets gathered from conducting appraisals at dozens of clients!
- Jeff was voted #1 Speaker at several international conferences - including the SEI's SEPG conference
- Two Broadsword exclusive modules are included - one on Agile implementation - that no one else offers!
- You may win the FREE iPod!  Register today!

Register today and save 30% on this important new class!

Friday, November 26, 2010

How do we determine the applicability of Supplier Agreement Management (SAM)?

We were wondering how to determine if SAM was applicable to our organization?  Can you give us any advice?

Sure!  Back when I was a novice Lead Appraiser my SEI observer, the very knowledgeable and all-around nice guy Steve Masters, told me that "SAM is your friend."  That has always stayed with me as I've worked with many clients and tried to reach a deeper understanding of the meaning and value of the CMMI model. 

I think what he meant was that Supplier Agreement Management (SAM) could be used in many situations that might not technically be "required" for an appraisal, but can help you nevertheless.

So this brings us to the amazing realization that the CMMI is really for improvement, and not meant to achieve a "level."  

Oh, I know it's hard to believe my friends, but it's true!

As you probably know, SAM is the only Process Area that a Lead Appraiser and Sponsor can agree is "Not Applicable" to an Organizational Unit (the group being appraised).  The unfortunate outcome of the way this is described and implemented by the SEI is that virtually all organizations that seek a Maturity Level spend (too much) time trying to figure out how to frame the "N/A" argument so that it's credible.  I think this is a mistake as SAM can be extremely useful.

SAM is useful for many internal relationships - and perhaps this is where it is most valuable.  If IT's development organization needs services from it's operations/infrastructure group, SAM can be very useful.  If the sales organization needs services from the Call Center, SAM can be very useful..... and so one.

The same is true for external suppliers where a bona-fide contract must be put in place.

So, whether or not your conducting an appraisal, SAM might be of use.  But for those of you focused on an appraisal here are some of my rules for making the determination (keeping in mind that every situation requires discussion and context):

- do you procure any services or products from an external firm that builds a component or part of a component that gets integrated into your product?  Yes, SAM should be applicable.

- do you depend on any external service or product that is required for you to complete your work?  If so, SAM is probably applicable.

- do you use contract labor where the people are de-facto members of your team using your process?  If yes, then SAM is probably not applicable.

- does an internal call center take calls for the sales department?  If yes, SAM might be applicable.

You get the picture.  The bottom line is, if you have risk and you expect performance, SAM is your friend.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We're a Scrum shop and we need some suggestions for CMMI, specifically GP2.8 - Monitor and Control the Process

Dear Appraiser,

We're a Scrum shop and our consultant says CMMI requires us to have a measurement book for every project and every process area that proves we are performing GP2.8.  This is too much overhead and doesn't seem useful.  Can you help?

Danger Will Robinson!  Danger!  Fire your consultant immediately!  Any time you hear the phrase "The CMMI requires ....." you should be wary.  The CMMI requires only a few things, the vast majority of it are guidelines to be interpreted within your organizational context.

Don't forget to embrace self-organization and collaboration on this subject.

I agree with you that a process metrics "book" for each project makes no sense in your context.  It directly conflicts with the essence of Scrum (or any other agile approach) and probably would add little value, if any.

One of the things that is interesting about agile organizations is that when it comes to "process" they typically have a "waterfall" mentality.  This brute-force method to satisfying the CMMI doesn't help us get any better . . . kinda the point of the whole thing.

I would advise you to embrace agility, team collaboration, and self-organization to solve this problem, in other words, be agile!

It helps me to ask the question "why is this practice in the CMMI model?"  GP2.8 is there to help us understand if the process is working for us, and to use that data as a basis for improvement.  One method you might consider is to survey the team on each of the relevant processes at different points in the project and get THEIR feedback on how well they think things like managing the backlog, prioritizing, using story points, refactoring, etc worked and how they might improve those things.  Doing this during the retrospective, and focusing on a comprehensive list of processes (as opposed to just talking), would give you some good data about what is working, what isn't, and how to make it better.

Better yet, if your record the results of the team survey so that management and scrum masters can look at aggregate trends, then you would really have some good data for continuous improvement.

This type of self-organization provides more value than a metrics book can.

CMMI, agility, Scrum, process monitoring . . . Bam!  Not as hard as it sounds.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Have you ever seen a successful project run by someone who was not a PMI Certified PMP?

Dear Appraiser,

My boss says only PMI Certified PMPs are capable of running a project.  I say it depends on skills other than test taking.  Have you ever seen a successful project run by someone who was not a PMP?

The real questions is, have you ever seen a project run by a PMP that WAS successful? :)

I'm not a big fan of this (or just about any other) certification.  It's a complex question, but people who focus on certifications demonstrate that they are focused, that they study well, and that they take tests well.  None of these things contribute to successfully running a project!

This calls into question the TYPE of person who focuses on getting certified . . . and perhaps they are not the SAME type of person that knows how to run successful projects.  I'm no psychiatrist, but I'm sure there is a study somewhere about this (maybe it's the same study that examines QA practitioners....).

People who mostly care about certifications are like companies that are searching for a CMMI "Level."  They are focusing on the wrong things.  Companies that do this struggle with the same problems after they get their "level" as before the did.  They get no value from it.

Here's some of the reasons I'm not a fan of the PMP (or the CSM for that matter):

- anyone who is good at multiple choice test taking can get it
- they have their own language and processes they prescribe and are very inflexible
- so many of the attributes required to be a successful project manager are not even evaluated by PMI - leadership, communications skills, ethics, etc.

That said, there are many people who ALREADY were good leaders and became PMP certified, and it probably didn't hurt them.  But there are way too many with the certification that don't know how to lead a project. 

If I were a CIO I would train everyone in process, communications, facilitation, writing, and leadership - and skip the PMP.

Good luck!