Sunday, December 11, 2011

Yule Love Your CMMI Training

This holiday party is really roaring down the track!

What started as an innocent request at Santa’s knee (“All I want for Christmas is a successful CMMI program”) has evolved into a full blown celebration of adopting one of the CMMI’s 12 Generic Practices (GPs) each day.

As you know, the GPs are foundational to the success of any or all of the process you deploy. So we figured, what better gift than to help you make these GPs your own?

So let’s stand back and take in the scene.

The previous CMMI Consultant is napping in the bathtub. The Project Manager is dancing on the couch with a process work-plan in each hand. The Quality Assurance Manager and the CFO have teamed up to eat their way through an entire plate of Christmas cookies, while a bunch of engineers are huddled in the corner challenging each other as to who can bench-press the most Dungeons and Dragons books.  Ah, tradition!

And then there’s us, the undaunted carolers. We’re putting on our coats, bracing ourselves with another shot of Mrs. Appraiser’s egg-nog, and stepping back out into the cold because …

It’s the 12 Days of CMMI, installment #5. Full voices now!

“On the fifth day of Christmas, my boss she gave to me:

four new assignments,
three new compliers,
two process plans,
and a box with a shiny policy.” 

Generic Practice 2.5 – Train People

The fifth GP guides us to train the people performing or supporting the process.

In other words, if Santa expects (there's that pesky GP2.1 again!) his Project Manager-elves to be efficient at estimating and planning, he needs to train them on estimating and planning.  If not, those proud elves, who are loath to admit they don't know how to do something will ACTUALLY TRY TO DO SOMETHING!  Oh no!

If he’s going to plan for (GP2.2 - ding!) his QA-elves to run process and product quality assurance, he needs to train them on running process and product quality assurance.

If he’s going to provide resources (GP2.3 - bada bing!) for his BA-elves to trace requirements and run JAD workshops, he needs to train them on performing requirement traceability and running JAD workshops.

And if he’s going to assign responsibility (GP2.4---VoilĂ ) to his elf-engineers to perform peer reviews, he needs to train them to perform peer reviews.

Then he needs to mentor them and give them encouragement and support.

This might be what you’d expect from the North Pole. But not here in North America, oh no. Here, the idea of needing training is considered a weakness by too many Scrooge-like bosses. Engineers are trained by being thrown into the fire and learning on the job. They're trained like MEN!  They get put on a project and they learn as they go - if they're brave enough to ask.

Oh no Tiny Tim, you need to pull yourself by your bootstraps.  Thats right.  Bah-humbug!

GP2.5 requires different behaviors from executives. And most executives see the value, once they see the numbers. Training increases productivity early in the tenure of someone’s employment. Where it takes an average engineer about a year to get up to speed in terms of productivity with peers, this GP helps them get up to speed in a matter of weeks.

Santa has 15 different CMMI training courses that he provides to his elves, that are related to CMMI, Scrum, or general process improvement.  With real life examples, lessons and proven techniques, class participants take away – and retain – valuable information to be used on the job, immediately.

Then instead of worrying about what they're supposed to do, our happy elves just have fun DOING IT!  As one old elf put it - can't we just make some toys now?

Be like Santa. Apply agile methods to continuous improvement, and be rapid, flexible, and able to meet the needs of he good little boys and girls of the world quicker than your competition might be.  And believe me, if Santa doesn't come through, someones Mom and Dad will!

And while you're at it, have another Christmas cookie.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest software or engineering exec! 

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.

Learn more about CMMI Adoption at


Think Aloud said...

I just love your posts :)

Jeff Dalton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Dalton said...

I try to make CMMI interesting. Most of the attendees in my CMMI Training courses feel both "entertained" and "educated." Some people have an "EE" after their name, mine stands for "entertaining educator.

How many CMMI Consultants do you know that can say that?!