Friday, December 9, 2011

For the CMMI Program Team That Has Everything

Day Three!

If you’ve been following this blog for the past few days, you know about the engineering firm executive named Vincent who only wants one thing for Christmas: a successful CMMI program. (Here is the original Ask the CMMI Appraiser post.)

You also know that, as a Certified CMMI Lead Appraiser, I know enough to insist that the most important part of the CMMI are the Generic Practices, or "GPs".  I don't care if your going for CMMI Level 2 or CMMI Level 3 - the GPs will find you!

And you probably know that there are 12 GPs, which inspired me to draw a festive connection to the Twelve Days of Christmas, which caused us to drink a bunch of egg-nog, go outside, knock on our neighbors’ doors and make gigantic fools of ourselves yelling "ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A SUCCESSFUL CMMI PROGRAM!"

We’re having so much fun, we’re going out caroling again. So come on … it’s the Twelve Days of CMMI, installment #3.

Sing along with me now: "On the third day of Christmas, my boss she gave to me, three new compilers, two process work-plans, and a box with a shiny policy ..."

Generic Practice 2.3 – Provide Resources

The third GP guides us to provide adequate resources for performing the process, developing the work products, and providing the services of the process.

In other words, give your team the presents – the tools and environmental resources – for the processes to be useful, so your team can be successful.  What a gift!

Here’s a timely example. Up here in the North Pole, elf-engineers may be employed full-time or part-time (do I need to pay for health insurance?).  They busy themselves building toys for the good little boys and girls.  A measurement group may even exist to support measurement activities across multiple gift-building projects in Santa's workshop.  

How many wooden cars will no kids want?  How many cheap flat-screens will all the dads want?  You know, that kind of stuff.

A warm and fuzzy picture for sure, but let’s consider the flip side. What if we don’t provide adequate resources?

That would be like Santa saying to his elves, “My policy is that you build toys out of wood, not plastic,” then not giving them access to wood.  Meanie.  I had a boss like that once.  He didn't have a beard though.

If Santa did that, he wouldn’t be performing this Generic Practice very well (and he would be a mean, nasty Santa), because, if he doesn’t give his elves the wood, he can’t expect them to adhere to the policy of building toys out of wood.  What a jerk!

Bring on the lumber, Santa!

This is important because, in software engineering, tools can be quite expensive. For example, let’s say you tell your team, “It’s my policy as a manager that you use these software tools, and that you assemble your team in a co-located fashion in a single room.” And then you don’t clear a single room for them to go work in.   arrggggg!

Not only have they failed to perform this practice, but you have wasted money on the tools.  I'm sure that has NEVER happened to you!

No white Christmas for you!  It's just cold, dark, and snowy.

Notice, this GP has nothing to do with how well the process is performed. There are measures around how well the process is being executed.  I talk about it in my CMMI Training class - GP 2.8 (you'll have to wait until the EIGHT day of Christmas for that one!).  This GP is concerned only with having management provide the resources so that the processes can be performed …

… so that all those deserving kids can have toys on Christmas.

Stay tuned!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

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