Hey, CMMI Appraiser,
I work with Leslie (from the last post) and, come on, where do you get off telling us to “be real”? Our Scrum team is made up of true agile evangelists. We have no use for process models or BPUF or any of that old school garbage from stuffed suits like you. The CMMI certification is a necessary evil in our company, so we put up with it. Now it looks like we’ll have to put up with you at SEPG NA. ~ Arthur X.
Thanks for your sweet message! It’s not often the CMMI Appraiser gets a love letter. With Valentine’s Day coming up next month, I guess you were overcome with the urge to whisper sweet nothings in my ear. I love it!
But seriously, Arthur, what I would really love is for us to get on the same page about CMMI+Scrum. Yes, they really can and do coexist. When you get to my class at the conference, you’ll see exactly how. In the meantime, if you are willing to suspend your disbelief in my sincerity, I’d like to point out a few things about CMMI and Scrum that you may not be aware of:
- This CMMI Appraiser doesn’t wear suits. The closest thing I came to wearing a suit was last month, when I put on a red Santa suit, and sang the "Twelve Days of CMMI." The neighbors are still recovering from THAT adventure.
- You say, “We have no use for process models,” but did you realize that Scrum is a process model also? When you look at all of the different techniques of a Scrum team, all the "Scrum Elements," every one of them is a process. They are not the same processes that maybe you think people want to make you use, but they are still a process. And they're pretty darn good ones too! And every one of them is in the CMMI! For example, Planning Poker is represented in the CMMI's Project Planning Specific Goal One. Refactoring is in Requirement Management, Pair Programming is part of Verification, Velocity is part of Measurement and Analysis, and Test-Driven Development is part of Requirements Development. And so on.
- “We have no use for BPUF (Big Plan Up Front).” That’s OK! I don’t either. To be clear, the CMMI is not a methodology. It does not have to be BPUF. That’s a perception based on implementation, not a perception based on fact. Are you saying that because the CMMI is most often used in BPUF types of organizations, therefore the CMMI is a BPUF process model? Correlation is not causation Arty. The real meaning behind CMMI is that it looks to make anything that you are doing better. So why not use CMMI to make a Scrum better?
- You’re too cool for “old school”? Guess what - me too (and it kind of creeps my kid's friends out)! The beauty of Scrum teams is that they tend to be fiercely independent. Unfortunately, that perception is one reason why most companies are using Scrum for only a small subset of their projects. As I was explaining to your teammate, Leslie, part of the challenge with using Scrum is sometimes upper management doesn’t understand it. It’s well suited for bottom-up implementation, but not so much for "top-down." But because everything in Scrum is on-time and on-budget by definition, Scrum teams can boast to their management, “things worked really well. We are on time and on budget with every release.” But you don't hear so much is whether they met the full number of features they committed to delivering. Their velocity may be lower than they expected. If that happens to you, CMMI can help.
- The CMMI is a “necessary evil”? Does that mean agile project are full of rainbows, unicorns, goodness and light? Well, I don’t dispute that the agile community has got great ideas, but Purism is dangerous and damaging in any form. Whether you are a Tea Partier or an anarchist, Puritanism is dangerous because it chokes off the flowering of new thought. It eliminates the possibility that new, better ideas are out there. Isn't that kind of an agile "anti-pattern" in itself?
Although whether or not they wear Santa suits, I can’t venture to say.
That’s the history and philosophy, Arthur. Embrace CMMI+Scrum as a tool to make your organization a great company. Every framework, including Scrum, has weaknesses, and you can use CMMI to make it even stronger.
Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software 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.
Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.