Monday, June 25, 2012

Adopting the CMMI - how hard is it?

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories.
If you are just joining us, we are in the middle of sharing our new study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI. (Here’s the post that launched this discussion: “What do companies THINK about using the CMMI?”) Our decision to release this information was prompted by the SEI’s recent announcement about the CMMI, which raised a call for more detailed information about how people are experiencing the tool.

On with our analysis. Here’s the fifth question we asked CMMI users:

Was your experience with the CMMI harder than you expected? 

Why ask this question? Despite the fact that a plurality of respondents said that they had received an ROI after adopting the CMMI (see the CMMI Appraiser's most recent post), many also reported that adoption of the CMMI can be quite complex and difficult. We wanted to understand if that difficulty exceeded the expectations of the organizations that adopt the CMMI.

It was interesting to find that 39% of respondents said the experience was harder than expected, while almost two-thirds said they were prepared for the challenge, and did not find adopting the CMMI harder than expected.

What conclusions can we draw? It appears that the SEI and its Partners have done a good job setting expectations, for the most part. The greater percentage of respondents felt that the adoption was difficult, but no more difficult than anticipated.

By the end of the year, the CMMI constellations (as well as other "mature technologies" that are no longer considered "research" projects) will be moved to the new business unit within Carnegie Mellon University (yet to be named). One of the challenges facing this new business unit will be to continue setting expectations among CMMI Users that it is not easy to adopt the Model, but well worth the effort.

For more CMMI User Story analysis, check back soon right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories all at once, simply subscribe at the top of this page to receive eBooks. Provided that you are using a valid company email address (not a Yahoo, AOL or Gmail account), we will be happy to add you to the distribution list, and send you the eBook, along with others, in coming weeks.

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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