Monday, February 27, 2012

How does the CMMI help us stand on the shoulders of giants?

Dear CMMI Appraiser,

I saw an interesting tweet from you just now. What do you mean that “CMMI helps establish an environment for greatness by standing on the shoulders of giants?” ~ Sylvia B.

Sylvia, thank you for following the CMMI Appraiser on Twitter. With that quote, I am paraphrasing Sir Isaac Newton, who once famously said: "If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."

The same is true about the CMMI -- from CMMI appraisals to CMMI training to CMMI consulting -- and organizations that have adopted it. The CMMI helps us see farther. The CMMI provides a framework for changing behaviors and changing culture that can establish an environment for allowing us to operate like a great company – for the long term. And it does so by allowing us to stand on the shoulders of giants.

Who are these giants? Other great companies! See, the idea is that if you adopt CMMI, you are standing on the shoulders of those who came before you. That means you don’t have to figure out what to do. You don’t have to come up with all things you need to worry about. Others before you have figured out the practices that will help improve the speed of software delivery, reduce defects, eliminate rework and make your projects more predictable and manageable. You receive all of the benefits of their lessons learned. That’s what the CMMI is: a large collection of lessons learned and best practices.

So, by adopting the CMMI and modeling your company’s behavior according to its principles, you are standing on the shoulders of others who have become great companies before you. Those “giants” have handed you the infrastructure and tools you need to be a great company.

And you didn’t even have to climb a beanstalk!

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 for more information about running a successful CMMI program.

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