Wednesday, June 13, 2012

After adopting the CMMI, did you experience a decrease in defects?

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories.

As you are probably aware by now (especially if you read my post, “What do companies THINK about using the CMMI?”), the SEI’s announcement about the CMMI created tremendous demand for more information about the experiences CMMI users are having. In response, we are sharing our brand new study of what CMMI users from 50 companies really think about the CMMI.

Here’s the second question we asked CMMI users about their experiences with the CMMI:

Did you experience a decrease in defects?

Why this question? Because sometimes problems occur again and again and that leads software engineering organizations to CMMI (or other process model) adoption. For example, when we first start working with companies, we see that they struggle with late projects, over budget projects, unhappy customers and unhappy employees. These problems are usually coupled with excessive defects in the software they are developing.

The CMMI provides guidelines for deploying processes that improve product quality and reduce defects. We wanted to understand whether organizations actually experienced these benefits through their adoption of the CMMI.

Fully half of respondents said that defects had decreased, sometimes dramatically. Fewer than half said, no, defects had not decreased. 12% had no idea (no idea?  Don't get me started on THAT one!),

What can we take away from this response?  In our conversations with those who said, “No, we did not experience a decrease in defects,” we were surprised - but perhaps they were ALREADY doing the very things that the CMMI guides us to do (a common occurrence).  It makes sense though - great companies often do great things without adopting a process model - that's why they're great companies, and that's kind of the point!

Be sure to check back soon here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser for more insight from our CMMI User Stories.

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, including the narratives from each interview, 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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