Sunday, September 4, 2011

Our Appraisal expires in December. Can we get an extension?

Dear Appraiser,

Our CMMI Maturity Level Three appraisal expires on December 21st, 2011.  We're not going to be ready to conduct our re-appraisal by that date.  Can we request an 'extension' on the appraisal expiration date from the SEI? ~ Bill.

Bill, first of all, who the heck was your appraisal sponsor, the GRINCH?  A December 21st appraisal?  What's he going to do next, steal your laptops and make you all use slide rules?  Bah Hambug!

Your holiday-ruining boss aside, there is unfortunately no way you can "extend" your appraisal.  If you don't complete it by December 21st, it will be over - kaput, nada, it never happened! (well, not really that bad . . . ).  But it will disappear from the SEI's PARS system on that day.

If you were my client I would start by asking you why you are conducting the appraisal to begin with.  If you're using CMMI to make your company a great company, then conducting a CMMI appraisal when you're not ready is just counter-productive.  Focus on being great, and the maturity level will come.

If you "need the rating" to bid on work for your company, then you'll have a short period where you will not be able to do that - good incentive to get your act together!

If you need to keep the rating to keep business you already have - well, I would advise to get moving and bring in some industrial strength help from someone like Broadsword.

Amazing as it sounds, I've had good luck just "talking" to customers about the delay.  "Talking" is something we used to do in my youth, where it was more difficult for people to avoid accountability and make ridiculous demands because they had to interact with the person who knows they're full of it - instead of an impersonal email.    Call them and tell them what's going on - you'll probably be surprised with their willingness to work with you.

But if not - it's time to get moving!  Good luck!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified 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 the Introduction to CMMI class to thousands of students and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

If you need an appraiser, you can contact Jeff at

Learn more about CMMI maturity levels at

No comments: