An executive recently sent us his Christmas wish list (see last Ask the CMMI Appraiser post), with just one item on it. The only thing he really wants for Christmas is a successful CMMI program.
He didn't say so, but I sensed that that fellow had visions of CMMI certification dancing in his head. What he needs to understand, like all good little boys and girls around the world who want a successful CMMI program, is that the most important part of the CMMI are the Generic Practices, or "GPs".
Because there are 12 GPs, and because I am in such a holly-jolly mood, I figure, why not to adopt one GP for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas?
So here we go again with ... the Twelve Days of CMMI, part duex.
Sing along with me now: "On the second day of Christmas, my boss she gave to me, two process work-plans and a box with a shiny policy ..."
Generic Practice 2.2 - Plan the Process
The second GP guides us to establish and maintain the plan for performing the process.
This is another very pivotal GP in the model. And it's the gift that keeps on giving!
We've already said that GP2.1 is about setting expectations. With GP2.2, we develop an infrastructure where all processes we expect people to use are planned for. The idea is that we can expect people to do things all we want, but unless it's also planned for, it ain't gonna happen.
It's kind of like getting a gift in one box and the batteries in the other!
Let's unwrap this. For example, suppose you've got a plan for performing the measurement and analysis process. With GP2.2, you might include milestones and tasks for "M and A" (or "Manda" as I like to call her) in your project plan.
Here's another example. Let's say you have a process that includes gathering requirements from your customer. Part of your process includes writing those process requirements down, and part of your process includes getting a sign-off on them from your customer, and part of your process includes validating them. Each project ensures that all of the appropriate steps are in the plan, and that they get scheduled and sequenced.
This may be news to a lot of executives. Maybe the so-called CMMI consultant they have been working with has a heart that's two sizes too small. They see no value in providing resources and assuring that actions are planned for. They insist it's "process debt." Instead, they are like the Grinch who can't find a reindeer for his fake Santa Claus act, and decides to improvise. He takes his dog Max, and he takes some black thread, and he ties a big crooked antler on the top of his head.
... and poor Max does a face-plant in the snow.
A better approach to adopting the CMMI is to remember the "reason for the season" - that is, why are we doing this in the first place? The CMMI is not about getting a CMMI certificate or achieving a CMMI Maturity Level. That would be the equivalent of stealing Christmas. No, the CMMI is more like an ongoing celebration, a model for being joyful in the quest for becoming a great company.
So start establishing and maintaining the plan today. And check back soon for the 3rd day of CMMI!
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 around the country and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.
Learn more about CMMI Adoption at www.broadswordsolutions.com.