Friday, November 2, 2012

The Art of CMMI: Waging War

[Our good friend Shawn Rapjack, CMMI expert and seasoned consultant, is back with a another installation on CMMI based on Sun Tzu's "The Art of War: Waging War” We're excited that Shawn has agreed to share segments of his article with you here on "Ask the CMMI Appraiser"]

CMMI, CMMI Appraiser, CMMI Consultant, CMMI Certification, CMMI Training, CMMI and Agile
Jeff's army waging war on Process Debt

Waging War

Continuing our Sun Tzu and CMMI discussion, let’s move onto the Art of War’s second chapter, ‘Waging War’.  This chapter dovetails with the first, ‘Laying Plans’, in that it has a strong focus on estimation and budgets.  Morale and timeliness are also goals.

Now would be an opportune time to discuss ‘the enemy’.  Sun Tzu faced daunting adversaries on the battlefield. Our ‘enemy’ however is different but just as pernicious – process debt and poor engineering solutions!  In our discussions of Sun Tzu and CMMI, these foes should be identified and dealt with, just as Sun Tzu would have – with thought and forthright conviction. For process professionals like us, ‘fighting’ is the deployment and success of organizational processes. 
This excerpt nicely sums up thorough estimation:

In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.
And thoughtful scheduling:

Though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

Managers must ensure that project and process schedules are being followed, monitored, and updated.  If this is not done, available resources may not be sufficient. 

Resources must be planned for and incorporated into plans.  Small details must be considered – how long will it take to peer review requirements documents?  How long will it take to incorporate these changes?  Wiggle-room should be made in the schedule if the customer has a history of not being responsive with requirements validation.  These details (like Sun Tzu’s glue and paint) need to be considered!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

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 and performance improvement program.

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