Thursday, July 18, 2013

What’s the difference between SCAMPI A, SCAMPI B, SCAMPI C?

Dear CMMI Appraiser:

What is the difference between a CMMI SCAMPI A, SCAMPI B and SCAMPI C appraisal? Do they correspond to the CMMI Maturity Level ratings? For example, do we slot to the SCAMPI C, since we want to be a CMMI Level 3 organization? ~ Lisa A.

Hi, Lisa. No, there is no correspondence between the two. An organization can be appraised at Maturity Level 2, Maturity Level 3, ML4 or ML5. But the only class of appraisal that results in a “maturity” rating is a SCAMPI A appraisal.

However, You can think of the three classes of SCAMPI in software terms, as follows:

  • SCAMPI C is like a Sprint Demo
  • SCAMPI B is like a Systems Test
  • SCAMPI A is like a User Acceptance Test

Below are more distinctions between SCAMPI A, SCAMPI B and SCAMPI C ... just in time for lunch!

SCAMPI A , as I said above, is the only class of the method that results in a "maturity" or "capability" rating (such as CMMI Maturity Level 2 or CMMI Capability Level 3 in Project Planning). What’s more, a SCAMPI A is a team-based event which is led by an external "SCAMPI Lead Appraiser" who has been certified by the CMMI Institute and Software Engineering Institute (SEI) to perform SCAMPI Appraisals.

SCAMPI B is also a formal appraisal – albeit less so. This CMMI appraisal serves as a tool to give you the information you need to completely understand your current state in relation to the CMMI. In particular, you’ll have enough information to decide whether you are likely to succeed in the formal SCAMPI A. To be clear, SCAMPI B is an important and highly useful appraisal; it just doesn't result in a rating.

SCAMPI C doesn’t result in a rating either. But it is tremendously useful too. The SCAMPI C is first and foremost a way for your company to find out about itself and how you stack up against the CMMI model. It’s also an opportunity for your CMMI Appraiser to learn as much about your company as he can, and for your company to learn about the CMMI Appraiser. This is important because you will be spending a lot of time together, generally a year or two, making decisions that will have an serious impact on the behaviors of your people. And so, helping both sides feel more comfortable with each other is one of the most beneficial aspects of the SCAMPI C.
As a SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, it's my job to lead a team that evaluates process performance across your organization against the required components of the Model (the Goals) and the expected components (the Practices).

Either way, you should start working with a certified Lead Appraiser early - long before you desire to conduct and appraisal.  That way, you’ll have a track record together when you are ready to begin your SCAMPI A journey. Because that’s what this is, a journey. CMMI isn't a paper-chase. It’s not about getting a so-called “CMMI certification.” It's about making your company great.

Being CMMI Maturity Level 2 or CMMI Maturity Level 3 doesn’t in itself make you a great company. But it does mean that you are sufficiently equipped with the infrastructure and tools you need to become the great company you want to be.

The rest is up to you.

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 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.

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