Thursday, February 23, 2012

Is there a tool I can use to determine what we need for CMMI?

Dear Jeff:

I have a question.  Is there a matrix which lists the what are the criteria for meeting each CMMI level?  I’m on the SEI website and looking at a lot of their resources.  There’s one presentation that touts being ready for level 2 in 30 minutes or less and then cranks out a fluff schedule which is 468 lines!  I’d really like something direct and concise – and I’m having a difficult time wading through all the resources.

I think my organization has a LOT of what CMMI looks for already in place.  Either through good engineering practices and/or a little dumb luck.   I need a resource which will allow me to quickly evaluate what I have and what I need for compliance.  Does such a thing exist? ~Chris


30 minutes or less?  Wow!  No wonder I have trouble telling clients it takes weeks!  I should call that CMMI Consultant that wrote that presentation.  Think of all the time I will save!  Actually, it DOES take weeks, but that's another story.....

The CMMI is open to interpretation based on the context of your organization, so there is no real "tool" for determining exactly what you need.  The best tool is the one between your ears.

The CMMI book is the best reference for such information, as each practice has "example work products" that give you a clue as to what the authors intended.  Also, the "tips" on the side of each page are very handy for this type of information.  Just remember that these are very generic - and often suggested by people who are in a different business than you are.

There really is no such thing as "being ready for CMMI in 30 minutes" or "CMMI in 60 days or less."  Anyone telling you that is full of something, and it isn't CMMI knowledge!

You may be able to find some examples on the web of a "PIIDs" (Process Implementation Indicator Document) that someone used as a checklist for their CMMI appraisal, but it's highly unlikely that it will map to your engineering organization's practices.

Your best bet is to engage with a certified lead appraiser to do a lightweight and quick "mini appraisal" or SCAMPI "C" that will give you the information you seek in a couple of days.  Then go get yourself some CMMI Training.

Good luck!

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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.

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