Saturday, October 27, 2012

5 Minutes with the CMMI Appraiser, Fourth Question: What makes the light come on?

[Over the next several days, the CMMI Appraiser has been sharing snippets from a conversation with Bill Fox on 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success™. Bill interviewed CMMI Appraiser about how the CMMI can be used to create resiliency in the agile method. Here’s “An Iterative and Incremental Approach to Process Improvement with Jeff Dalton.”]

Hey, Jeff, when I have been involved with a successful implementation, I can see that idea take hold in people as they observe things happening and results happening and things changing. What makes it so that, all of a sudden, a light switches on with regards to agileCMMI? ~ Bill Fox, 5 Minutes to PI Success

Hey, Bill, I think the term "consultant" is used rather loosely with a lot of people. I believe that to be a total consultant means helping them understand culture, helping them communicate vision, helping them learn. These things are all above and beyond the CMMI certification discussion, right?

Anyone can claim to be a CMMI consultant. But only a small amount of people in the world have the requisite skills, training, experience, and certifications that qualify them for the task - and an even smaller group of them have a proven track record.
CMMI, CMMI Appraiser, CMMI Consultant, CMMI Certification, CMMI Training, CMMI and Agile

To make the light bulb come on, here are some things this CMMI Appraiser tries to make engineering and software professionals be aware of:

CMMI is about CHANGE. And change is hard. If your CMMI consultant doesn't demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of culture change, and have the consulting skills to help your organization set goals, communicate, solve problems, and help you transform in a positive way, then they don't have the skills to do the job.

CMMI is about leadership. If your CMMI consultant isn't experienced at bringing leadership into the process, isn't skilled with executive interaction, and doesn't know how to speak with and motivate your management in a professional and substantive way, then they don't have the skills to help you.

CMMI is about improvement. And improvement succeeds by applying incremental and iterative techniques to steadily improve performance over time. If your CMMI consultant doesn't come with a structured methodology that leads you through this process, they probably don't have what it takes to do the job.

CMMI is about behavior. It's not about forms, documents, and templates. If your CMMI consultant focuses on making you fill out forms and templates for everything, and wants you to produce hundreds of the deliverables, you should be asking yourself why this is useful - and decide if your consultant's approach makes sense for you.

CMMI is about choice. It's not about making everyone do the same thing. Every consultant comes with biases and past experience, but the good ones are open minded and focus on leading you to the right conclusions - not telling you what you should do. Trust me, they don't KNOW what you should do, because it depends on what you ARE doing. They don't work at your company and can't know what works until they spend some time with you. A lot of time.

These things are above and beyond the actual CMMI knowledge, which is routinely and astoundingly inadequate among many people who claim to be “CMMI consultants.”

So our methodology has all that built into it. It sort of came about over the years as just a reaction to all these problems that so-called CMMI consultants were causing our clients, before our clients came to us.  It's been great to see that light bulb come on.

Today's five minutes with the CMMI Appraiser is up.

Please check back soon for Question #5: What is the CMMI Appraiser’s mission?

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.

No comments: