Thursday, February 16, 2012

Can Issue Management be it's own Process Area?

Dear Appraiser, I am  currently working in Chrysler LLC as process engineer with 5+  years of experience in Project Management and as a CMMI Consultant.  I've met you in your capacity as a CMMI Appraiser and CMMI Instructor.  It will be great if you can answer the following.

In the CMMI model, why is issue management part of PMC, whereas Risk Management (RSKM) is it's own separate process area?  Can issue management be made it's own separate process area to help it be better managed? ~Sri


It COULD be.  Maybe I should add an issue to the issue log on this.  It might read:

Issue #101: People still think process areas are processes.  Resolutions: write a post about how Process Areas are not Processes!

Seriously though, if you're going to create Process Areas for your own organization (good idea), they don't have to be the same as the CMMI Process Areas.  For instance, practices from PP, PMC, RSKM, and IPM can all be part of a  home-grown Process Area called "Project Management," or in your example, you could have your own PA named "issue management" if you'd like.  That's the beauty of process - you can make it your own (and you should).

But if you think of this in CMMI terms, risk management exist in BOTH PP/PMC and RSKM.  For companies who have not yet considered ML3, PP and PMC provide an entree' to Risk - with a little less structure.

On the issue of issues (now I'm sounding like the CMMI with it's circular references), practices exist in both ML2 and ML3.  For ML2 we see it in PP/PMC, and in ML3 we see it in Integrated Project Management (IPM) SG2 "Coordinate and Collaborate with Relevant Stakeholders," albeit indirectly.

But after it's all said and done, you need to make the process your own.  If you think having a better focus on issue management will help you, create your own - and use PMC SG2, IPM SG2, and a little dash of PP to create it and *poof!* instance process area!

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

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead AppraiserCertified 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 for more information about running a successful CMMI program.

1 comment:

Shawn Rapjack said...


My project did a similar thing to what Jeff suggested – we created our own process area – “Operations”. This nuts-and-bolts process area governs how we establish, maintain, and report the status of our website servers – a very vital part of our daily activities. It also documents (user) account management solutions. Several CMMI practices touch on this, like ‘Product Integration – SP 1.2 – Establish the Product Integration Environment’, but we had so many very important processes revolving about the successful operation of our environment that we needed a ‘place’ to store them.

Some of the activities we perform:
• We wrote formal, peer-reviewed, documents governing our Operations process.
• We include Operations Managers in our stakeholder matrices and org charts.
• We include Operations Managers in roles / responsibilities document sections.
• As the Quality Assurance Manager, I audit this ‘Operations Process Area’ according to a documented schedule. I ensure that the engineers and CM manager follow the processes we outlined.
• We document a lot of metrics here! It is fundamentally important to us to know how many users we support and how much server space we have!
• Risks associated with our ‘Operations Process Area’ are closely monitored.

When we did our CMMI ML 3 Appraisal, our appraisal team was pleased we accommodated these important business / engineering solutions. It showed that we used the CMMI model as our basis, but tailored it logically to how we did business.

Shawn Rapjack
Process Improvement Advocate