Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Should we make everyone follow the same process?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, should we force our project teams to accept either agile or Waterfall methods, and not allow any deviation? ~ DC SPIN Attendee

Today’s episode of CMMI-TV was filmed ON LOCATION at a recent DC Software Process Improvement Network (DC SPIN) gathering in Fairfax, Virginia, where I presented on “Agile Resiliency.” An attendee asked if it was important to make everyone on their project teams follow the same process. Below is a video clip with my answer, followed by a synopsis of my response. Enjoy!


Consultants love talking about the CMMI as being all about everybody doing the same thing every time. According to them, the CMMI is repeatable and predictable, and that means that everybody has to have the same behavior. One size fits all.

But one size -- whether Waterfall, agile, CMMI or any other method, tool or technique -- does not fit all.  It's unrealistic and counterproductive to expect everyone to demonstrate the same repeatable behavior. What needs to be repeatable are the OUTCOMES.

What kind of outcomes should be repeatable?  How about high quality software, efficient production and happy customers?  These outcomes are possible even when many projects are unique and require their own "way of doing things" (otherwise known as the PROCESS).

To allow for companies' uniqueness, this CMMI Appraiser recommends that organizations have a SET of software process improvement models and methodologies from which projects can choose. That might include using both Scrum and Waterfall, for example. From that set, projects assemble the processes they want to use.

Keep in mind, a “set” means more than one. And “more than one” means you need some flexibility and agility to decide how you are going to do something.

For example, a team leader might say, “We’re going to adopt Scrum, but we’re going to use Wide Band Delphi for estimating.”

Those are from two different "communities." Is that OK?

Why not? You are trying to meet the needs of the project, right? So go for it. Have a SET of standard processes from which each project can derive their unique process, and then assemble process patterns to use depending on the needs, goals and objectives of the project.

For more insight into using the CMMI as one of the tools that can help you establish the type of environment that can make you a great company, check out our upcoming learning opportunities:

April 26, 2013, in Detroit, Michigan @ PMI Great Lakes 2013 Symposium – “Agile Resiliency” and "Process Innovation at the Speed of Life"

May 8, 2013, in Fairfax, Virginia, in partnership with CC Pace – "Agile CMMI Learning Day"

May 28, 2013, in San Diego, CA, in partnership with Epsilon Solutions. Learn about CMMI, process models, and how to use them to be a great company! http://cmmi-training-san-diego.eventbrite.com

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 www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation , software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

To download eBooks about CMMI, visit Jeff’s Author Page on Amazon.

No comments: