Friday, December 21, 2012

How do we convince management to buy into CMMI?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, how do you get management to buy into adopting the CMMI? ~ 5PI Attendee

Today’s episode of CMMI-TV was filmed at a recent "5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success" (5PI) Meet-up in Virginia, where this CMMI Appraiser presented on “Agile Resiliency.” An attendee asked how to get management to buy into adopting the CMMI. Below is a video clip with my answer, followed by a synopsis of my response. Enjoy!


Adopting the CMMI is about behavioral modeling for solving business problems and having a company “Way”. To encourage management to consider adopting the Model, think of the CMMI as a tool to help improve the techniques and practices, as opposed to an end in itself.


To start, don’t worry about CMMI specifically. Instead, ask what kind of business problems management is having, such as:

  • Do you have late projects?
  • Do you have over-budget projects?
  • Do you have unhappy customers?
  • Do you have unhappy employees?
  • Do you have too many meetings?
  • Do you lose your best people to competitors?
  • Do you have difficulty with sustainability or scalabilty?
  • Are you losing market-share?

New behaviors can be learned. That’s why this CMMI Appraiser is passionate about helping engineering and software executives and professionals learn to use the CMMI as one of the tools that can help them transform the culture of their companies. It’s a modeling tool that a lot of companies have successfully used to solve their most pressing business problems.


Help management understand that the CMMI is about behavioral modeling, not engineering modeling. It’s really about how management wants people to behave and the “Way” the company does business. Having a Way that the work gets done allows management to establish the type of environment in which great goals are attainable and great outcomes are repeatable. Having a well defined Way helps improve all areas of the business, including:

  • Being profitable
  • Winning new business
  • Keeping customers
  • Improving quality
  • Avoiding risk

It’s a powerful concept when you grasp that nothing is more important than the way your work gets done. Adopting the CMMI is one way to create predictable, repeatable and consistent outcomes ­– your Way.

ABOUT CMMI-TV: CMMI-TV is a place where we can add value to the engineering and software development community by offering advice on engineering strategy, performance innovation and software process improvement. If you find this useful, please 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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